Why I will always STAND during the National Anthem:
1. I STAND, not in support of the many times American citizens have embraced faulty logic and questionable ethics whilst waving the Star Spangled Banner, but out of respect for the freedom for EVERY MAN the Founding Fathers advocated.
2. I STAND, not in support of the hatred and division which many advocate under the Stars and Stripes, but in support of the hope for a better life that many still see in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
3. I STAND, not because I wish to continue racial strife or ethnic division, but in support of the strength we may all find by embracing our differences in background. Just as the Founding Fathers intended.
4. I STAND, not to memorialize or immortalize the many who used this flag to further their own selfish and small-minded ends, but out of respect for the thousands of every ethnic background who sacrificed their lives so that I may enjoy peace and safety.
5. I STAND, so that all may know, that I believe this country is the greatest in the world, despite her faults, and to inform all that I wish to advance America in every way, so that she may be the greatest in the world for years to come.
6. I STAND, not because I am a white nationalist who seeks to eliminate all those who do not look like me, but because I understand that all who have contributed to this country’s success did so because they embraced the unique proposition of freedom that America represented, not because they lobbied to pass laws favoring them and their agenda. They understood that strength of character refuses to discriminate on the basis of race or skin color.
7. Lastly, I STAND, in pure defiance to those who seek to spread the toxic notion that, in order to be the best, America must fit in with the rest of the world.
SHARE if you, too, STAND during the National Anthem.
I’m convinced, as I grow older, that the way of life I saw as normal during my formative years is an increasingly unpopular lifestyle. The idea of being driven to do something profitable with your time, all of the time, is something of which most people have no concept. Logical, reasoned thought is a luxury many take no time to afford; in fact, it seems that most seek to live their entire life without entertaining a serious thought about anything.
Is such a life really a bane upon mankind? To answer this question, one must dig a little deeper into the meaning of that word, bane. Simply put, a bane is “a cause of great distress or annoyance.” It seems, therefore, that the answer to this question lies within one’s view of how life is supposed to be. If, as some posit, life is a Sunday stroll, to be enjoyed while sauntering along, then yes, one could assume that work is a burden, a cause of great distress, or an annoyance.
However, if life is hard, and yet good, then work is a necessary part of a good life. Far from being a repressive stricture, then, hard work is the required structure upon which an extraordinary life must be built.
This is a watershed concept, and a proper grasp of the place of work in a man’s life is a must if he would see his hopes and dreams realized and solidified into accomplishments.
Think of the titans of industry from yesteryear. Andrew Carnegie. Thomas Edison. J. P. Morgan. Cornelius Vanderbilt. John D. Rockefeller. Each of these men created massive companies and holdings–sometimes cutting entirely new industries from whole cloth–in pursuit of greatness. Though they were flawed human beings, much can be garnered from their struggles with (and subsequent triumphs over) difficulties that would have forever broken men of lesser fortitude.
Guts. Intuition. Innovative solutions. These men had all these things in common. But they had one more thing in common, the one thing often overlooked; or, worse yet, vilified in today’s passivistic, neutrality-obsessed, mediocrity-crazed world. That one thing may be summed in one word:
The turning point of any man’s life is when he sees for the first time, for himself, the fundamental truth that all extraordinary people understand: in this world, you either drive, or you are driven.
The Externally Driven Man, a person who is driven (by external forces) constantly sees the world as against him, complains about the way his life is turning out, and accepts the status quo, believing it to be enough. He schleps into the mediocrity continuum, unaware that his burden of bitterness has him sliding relentlessly toward oblivion, namelessness, and a forgettable style of living.
External Combustion, the fire without, is useful in some regards, namely for destruction, and–in some cases–light. However, its uses are extremely limited because this type of power is much harder to control. Think of a forest fire rampaging through a stand of trees. Man must stand in awe of its power! This power, though, is of little use because of its unconstrained nature. So man, left to the external drive of his circumstances, is of little use to himself or anyone else.
By contrast, The Internally Driven Man, one who is driven (by an internal fire) to see the world as a proving ground, a puzzle to be solved, and a problem to be logically worked, is one who leaps into the mediocrity continuum, dropping the bombshell that things do not have to continue as they have in times past. He sees and experiences the same difficulties as the EDM, but through an entirely different set of lenses. Much like donning a new set of prescription glasses, he sees the benefits to be had from the struggle, and rather than running from it, leaps to meet it head-on, seeking to overcome and learn from it.
This is not to say that the IDM is “spoiling for a fight,” as the colloquial phrase runs. Rather, he embraces the challenge of life, taking all comers, that he may understand and learn some concept to help him succeed in tomorrow’s battle.
Internal Combustion, the fire within; ah, therein lies the secret to true power. Think of the vehicle that carries you to work. A car, a bus, an airplane, a train; chances are, it is powered by some sort of internal combustion engine. Wherein does the secret of this powerful engine lie? Within. The force that powers the engine is, in fact, a controlled explosion, the more useful because its destructive nature is controlled, caged, harnessed, and channelled into a useful form. The piston exploding downward forces the connecting rod downward, which drives the crankshaft around, which turns the flywheel, which spins the driveshaft; and, at last, the power is mated to the wheels which drive the vehicle forward.
Now, take a moment to ask yourself: Am I an EDM, or an IDM? Do I let life drive me? Or am I driven from within to make a life I want to live?
There are ethical and moral constraints which must govern the Internally Driven Man, to be sure, but we will visit those in future posts. For now, a good, hard look at how one responds to difficulties, and nailing down whether one is internally or externally driven, is sufficient.
Until next time, stay strong, stay thoughtful, and stay driven.
Since the inception of this blog, I have asserted that independent thinking and action is one of the most important facets of our humanity, and one of the defining functions of personality. This is because I understand a very old (and yet very true) adage that states that “….the best ideas are common property.” Stated another way, the best principles/maxims/rules of living are understood by a great number of people, and not by a select few (those in today’s society who consider themselves the “elite,” or the so-called “intelligentsia”). Of course, in today’s America, the exact opposite is the prevailing vision, and teaching in modern schools and universities reflects this to a great extent.
It is thus refreshing to see a real-life experience–a direct antithesis to the prevailing vision–documented that proves (yet again) the truth of this ancient maxim.
The best ideas truly are common property–common property of strong-minded individuals who understand the power of independent thinking and action.
As the oldest of nine children, I am well-acquainted with the different tones in which parents address their children.
“Son, why did you do that?” A mournful question, laden with unshed tears, brought on by the foolish choice of a young one.
“Perhaps if you tried it this way….’ A tender instruction, given with love to help the inexperienced nino learn more about a particular process.
“Don’t touch that!” “Stop that this instant!” “No!” Insistent, powerful commands intended to cause instant cessation of an undesirable activity. These were many, and oft-uttered, in the course of the author’s childhood, but the award for “Most Frequently Used Command” has to go to a three-word exclamation:
“Kids, GET OUT!”
In May of 2006, my parents finally decided–after several years of planning/dreaming–that we were going to completely renovate our house. As with any project of such scale, once work actually began, the scope of the job came more into focus as time went on. Before we began, my father was convinced that we could have everything done in a summer, and be moved back in before the rains came in September.
Before very long, it became apparent that such a rosy-eyed prediction was far from the reality of a now-dragging renovation. We had torn the house down to the bare skeleton (literally, the four outside, block walls and the foundation were all that remained), poured a foot of concrete on top of the walls, and set attic trusses that would contain the upstairs addition to our existing square footage. With July gone, and August flying by, the race was on to get the house “in the dry” before rains began to soak the Carolina foothills.
It didn’t happen. The rains came, the ground grew soggy, and still the roofing work dragged on. We began to see how very much we had bitten off, and yet we knew that we could not stop now–we were committed.
October passed, then November. At last, we began to feel that we were making progress: the roof decking was down, the sub-floor upstairs was installed, and the felt underlayment was nailed down–partially. The recurring winds/rain tore the tar-paper loose from the nails again and again in the six months it took us to install the metal roofing. From this we learned that do-it-yourself metal roofs should not include conflicting angles and multiple dormers–this makes for a long and complicated story that only involves grief and misery; I’ll spare you the details. 😉
Time passed, and the house was finally done. After three-and-a-half years, we were able to move back into the house and resume a somewhat normal life.
Of course, some things changed.
One of the additions to our house was a nice-sized home office for my father (mostly storage space for his many books–nearly 4,000 volumes). At first, he didn’t seem to care who was in the office, but as time went on, and various items of importance got moved, “borrowed,” or just plain lost, Dad’s laissez faire attitude evaporated faster than a mud puddle in the Sahara.
Things came to a head one day when he came home and discovered yet another interloper in the office, using his computer without proper permission from appropriate authorities. Don’t ask me who–it wasn’t me, so I don’t remember. But I’ll never forget what happened next.
My dad barged into his office and rapped out the three-syllable command that would become a common refrain:
“Kids, GET OUT!”
Now, some of the more tolerant (less experienced with children?) members of my audience would decry such a stern outburst from a parent, but I tell you plainly: it worked! Like magic, the office was empty, and stayed that way for several days. The kids knew that Dad’s office was off limits, and they avoided it like a dog avoids an invisible fence. In time, the taboo lost effect, and the squatters reappeared, but so long as he remained vigilant and consistent in his enforcement, the sanctum remained untouched.
This humorous anecdote is more than an amusing tale; there is a principle here that has been sorely neglected–indeed, completely forgotten–in modern America.
Constitutional government involves constant, thorough attention to matters of importance which hardly anyone cares to focus on these days. After all, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, the rat-race to make a living and get ahead in the world, who has time to monitor the activities of the representatives we have elected to Congress and other governmental positions? Isn’t the purpose of electing such folks to remove the burden of daily concern with political matters?
Yes, this is partially true. It is also true that our system of government is intended to allow Congress to be a representation of the beliefs and principles of the populace. Furthermore, it is also true, as Jefferson stated, that “…the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
Unfortunately, the underlying moral base upon which our current system of government is dependent has been eroded over the past 100 years. Education reform (it’s been re-formed, and not necessarily bettered by it), national policies, and social pressures have all contributed to a systemic decline in our country’s social, moral, and political climate.
Today, our interests and ideas of an ideal country are so various that we are in the throes of “a conflict of visions,” as Thomas Sowell so aptly titled it. The number of people who subscribe to the notion that the government owes them a living is roughly equal with the number of people who ascribe to the traditional, American vision of independence and economic freedom for the individual. At least, such is the case, if the polls are to be believed without question. However, a more reasonable estimate would be that at least a third of the country is of the belief that the government should “help those in need.”
It is interesting–as a side-note–to observe that many of the charitable organizations in existence today were founded by men and women of the Christian faith and worldview. In point of fact, one of the fundamental principles of Scripture is for all to be concerned not only with their own affairs, but also with the needs of others.
The belief that the government should be the sole provider of such philanthropic considerations, however, is deeply rooted in a fundamentally pagan belief that the government is basically God to those under its domain. I say pagan, because–at the bare-bones level–this belief resembles the demand of Third-World dictators and regimes for total, unquestioning “loyalty” and “obedience” (just nice words for subservience and fear, really).
Further, the assumption by some in government today that the Founding Fathers would approve of the current state affairs is ludicrous, particularly when one considers quotes like the following from Thomas Jefferson: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter [emphasis mine].”(1)
All this ties into the main subject of this article in two ways: first, it demonstrates to what extent the caliber of politicians has devolved since the days of Jefferson and Co.; and, secondly, it demonstrates to what extent people’s thinking has been reshaped by the education system, and political demagoguery so prevalent in today’s Washington, D.C.
The political system erected by this nation’s founders has survived to the extent that the representatives are still a microcosm of America at large. And it is sad to what extent that is true.
With only a few exceptions, (and none in a certain party), the members of Congress behave like many of their constituents: they act like spoiled brats.
Pueristocrats (remember that term from earlier?) are set on getting their way, no matter how many people they have to throw under the bus, or to the wolves, or wherever. They pitch tantrums, hold press conferences, and leak threatening memos that show just how strong they are. In reality, all it does is confirm what we already know about their all-consuming lust for monopolistic power over the lives of the poor, demented plebes that are the rest of us.
That’s you and me, folks, and that’s how they feel about us.
At times like this, watching the government “shut down” because our representatives in Washington can’t agree on how to spend imaginary money that nobody in the world has anyway (and thus, won’t lend to us), I can’t help but feel as though the good faith and laissez faire attitude of the American people is going the way of the aforementioned mud puddle. And, furthermore, I can hope that I know what will happen next.
I’m waiting for the news media to show the film of thousands storming the capital in an organized, decent, and legal way, marching in with banners and signs waving. I’m waiting for someone to stand at the head of such a band of united, disgusted patriots, and–microphone in hand–thunder forth the words on everyone’s minds. I’m waiting for him to raise an arm and point a defiant finger at the chambers of the halls of Congress and the White House. I’m waiting for him to shout a thunderous, three-syllable command for the entire nation to hear.
A good friend of mine (from ConsiderAgain) pointed out the falsity of the NASA article mentioned. This urban legend has been circulating by email since 1999, according to snopes.com. However, just because NASA did not find this missing day does not mean it does not exist. This tale cannot be said to be completely baseless, because the Scriptural accounts upon which it rests are, in fact, true. Whether or not the NASA space program ever discovered this day is irrelevant.
Thanks to all my readers for your continued patronage, and for keeping me accountable! I’m looking forward to the future.
The Southern Voice Writer
The first post of mine on Constitution Club, where I’ve just been invited to become an editor.
A refreshing dose of candor from some of the many men who hold the office of county sheriff in the United States of America. In the midst of all the furor and propaganda surrounding the gun control debate, these men bring words of wisdom to the table of the “national discussion on firearms” that President Obama unwittingly ignited by his executive order/to-do list item.
Who would you trust? A man who’s never held a real job, or been called upon to exercise his own strength to defend his life? Or a man who spends countless hours every year patrolling the streets and protecting the lives of other citizens?
3:23 and 3:30…two clips where two different sheriffs say two very powerful things concerning this debate. The entire video is only 4 minutes long.
Think about it, and then speak up about it. After all, freedom of speech is an American right.
A simple act of kindness, performed at the expense of a single moment, can create an echo that will last a lifetime in the heart of another. When was the last time your actions created such an echo? Does the way you present yourself to the world lead people to love the things for which you stand? Or do people hate the very mention of your name?
These questions should give you pause.
I’m not saying that doing the right thing will make everyone love you. That’s the answer a reductionist would give. In this world in which we live, there will always be folks who can’t stand uprightness. But maybe, just maybe, if you dug down and made a little effort, people might actually respond in kind?
It’s worth a shot.
What if you decided to take a week and make random acts of kindness not so random? What if you went a little out of your way to help someone? Would that kill you?
“But I’m busy,” you moan.
Well, I can understand that. Life has a way of getting us by the throat and running us off our feet, doesn’t it?
Here’s a question I’d like to see discussed: If you are in the habit of “creating echoes,” how do you make time for doing these kind acts?
Another to consider: If you are not already in the habit of performing “random acts of kindness,” what are some ways you can add them to your life?
Over the last couple months, we have covered a lot of ground in our series on meditation, A Refreshing Pause. We’ve studied incidents in the lives of several men from Scripture, learning important principles concerning meditation at each turn.
From Elijah, we learned that taking a moment to stop and rest can rejuvenate both body and soul.
From King David, we learned that stopping to meditate can help us be encouraged in times of darkness and distress.
From Joshua, we learned that failing to stop and meditate can lead to rash decisions that will have life-long consequences.
In all of these discourses, I had purposely left out an important element of the meditation equation, fully intending to address it a later time. Although I will not address it fully now, I offer a brief starter course to you so that you may mull it over for a week or two. Perhaps you have noticed my omission?
In all the talk of meditation, I have omitted the issue of content.
What we think about is just as important as taking time to stop and think. I would have waited to address this issue more fully, but the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary offers a perfect backdrop against which to raise this point. As the investigation continues, more and more facts reveal that this troubled young man who shot these people spent much of his time contemplating dark games, music, and movies. While there are those who argue that these types of media have no effect on a person, there can be no possible way that one could spend that long in front of an interactive device that simulates violent situations and leave unchanged.
The Bible offers succinct advice to those seeking to know what sort of things to contemplate. Philippians 4:8 sums it up: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
By thinking on these sorts of things, one will find body, soul, and spirit refreshed, and in time will see that patterns of thought affect patterns of life.
Look for another post on this issue of content soon. As always, thanks for reading!