Today has been a particularly difficult day in the Twitter-verse for me. After assaults from those on both left and right, I decided it was time to voice my concern about the unwillingness on the part of many individuals to think critically, to question established practice and to venture outside the norms that hold us firmly affixed to the status-quo. I, too, have been guilty of holding onto beliefs that kept me preaching the gospel of conformity to help my party gain or retain power, but, over the past year, I've done a thorough researching of what I believe, what I've been told and how those measure up to reality. What I discovered is that I had not really been doing the hard work of finding out the truth ...I had just been accepting the truth that was presented to me by others. Now, I stand alone in many of my views, which isn't always so pleasant. I cannot complain, however, because the amount of grief I might incur from sounding the alarm is nothing compared to the troubles that may befall us if we continue down our current path. It is my calling and my duty to educate any who are willing to learn. It is for this reason I started this blog.
There are many truth-tellers who have preceded me, who ventured outside the universe of accepted 'truth.' I do not presume to be in the same league as any of these great patriots, but they are my inspiration, and the reason I am willing to stick out my neck and face ridicule. I thought I would share some of my insights about these brave souls.
Our Founding Fathers were the first to rebel against accepted truth, by taking on the tyranny of Great Britain. There is little doubt this group of brave men understood that their Declaration of Independence was a declaration of war. Having few resources, they stood against the great British Empire knowing that their fight for liberty may just bring them death; but, in spite of this, they proceeded on their quest for a new, free nation. I am sure that God played a hand in the survival of these men and the establishment of this nation. Their bravery and brilliance is lauded today both here and abroad.
Abigail Adams was an advocate for women’s rights and abolition of slavery long before either were considered politically popular. She penned letters to Congress and spoke out often. No doubt her words began the process that would eventually lead us to freeing the slaves and women’s participation in the political process.
Abraham Lincoln held together a divided country in the face of political strife and personal tragedy. He freed the slaves, won the civil war and managed to keep this country united. He had critics on both sides of the Civil war, but it did not deter him. He issued his Emancipation Proclamation, stood his ground, reunited a divided country, and preserved this nation.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower routinely challenged accepted practice in the military, and often found himself on the losing-side of arguments with his superiors in his early career. But, Eisenhower's masterful leadership during the D-Day invasion of World War II showed his thinking was right. He regularly made tough controversial decisions and had to convince those around him to follow his lead. Thank God they listened.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was considered one of the loudest voices in opposition to the status-quo in American history. He challenged segregation and discrimination in America, and he refused to accept the common belief of the time that black and white Americans would always remain separate and un-equal. His birthday is celebrated annually and his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is read in schools across our country each year as a testament to his courage.
Ronald Reagan unveiled his proposal for a Strategic Defense Initiative, later dubbed "Star Wars," in a national speech and was ridiculed by both left and right for proposing such a crazy idea. Interestingly, however, the Soviet Union’s leaders didn't seem to find this new defense system initiative so crazy. Cabinet and military leaders insisted that meeting with the Soviets was a mistake, but Reagan acted on his diplomatic instincts to initiate dialogue, which ultimately led to the end of the Cold War.
There were countless times that Reagan challenged the status-quo during his political career, but one particularly memorable event was his speech at the Brandenburg Gate. His advisers were alarmed by the line, “Tear down this wall” and insisted he remove it from the speech because it was too provocative. Reagan ignored their pleas, and here is an excerpt from the historical speech that inspired the world and eventually brought down that wall.
Newt Gingrich began a Republican Revolution in the 90's as an effort to take over the U.S. House of Representatives. Most of the GOP party leadership at that time believed Newt was a dreamer with no hope of success because the Democrats had controlled the House for decades. Newt pressed on in his relentless campaign to re-educate young Republicans into believing they could actually win the conservative argument and win their political races as well. He succeeded at both by winning the House of Representatives and getting his signature legislation The Contract with America through the Congress in a record 100 days. No one has duplicated the accomplishments of Gingrich.
So what does any of that have to do with today? Simple...the reason we find ourselves in a perpetual state of decline economically, morally and politically is because we have too few truth-tellers willing to stand up and challenge the status-quo on both sides of the divide. We are missing the leadership that is represented by the brave men and women I've described above. We gather in our separate camps to target our enemy and never realize that enemies reside in our own camps who are perpetuating the very problems we are trying to solve.
Oh, sure.. there are plenty of loud voices, even obnoxious and vulgar voices who claim they are exercising their 'right of free speech' .. but those are not truth-tellers, they are simply trying to antagonize, because there is no real effort to engage in honest debate or to solve problems. Their noise is just an endless rehashing of arguments and objections that have been handed out by status-quo preservers in their camps for decades.
The only way we can see change is if we change what we are saying and doing. Continuing to support the current practice of always blaming the other side, name-calling, dirty politics, and using prepackaged arguments is driving us deeper and deeper into the abyss. Don't let anyone manipulate your mind. Read both sides of every argument, look at the data yourself. Don't fret when the opposition isn't truthful, just speak out that truth yourself and encourage other truth-tellers to do the same. We can't take back this process by participating in the very behaviors we regularly castigate. We also won't see any improvement if we ignore problems that exist within ourselves or on our team.
Matthew 7:5 - You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Are you willing to become a truth-teller? Will you stand up against people you have always respected, examine the truth for yourself, and be willing to reach a different conclusion if the evidence leads you there? Are you willing to take a new path, chart a new course? I hope you'll join me. We need a few more brave men and women to preserve this nation before it is too late.