These are the Times that Try Men’s Souls

By: Randall H. Nunn

As Thomas Paine said of a different time, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” But if our media leaders of today (like Peggy Noonan and George Will) had lived in that time, they would have chastised those like Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson for “coarsening and inflaming” our political conversation and “tearing the national fabric.” Have our pundits become so timid and filled with faux sophistication that they cannot speak out against the greatest assault on individual liberty and freedom that we have seen in modern times?

Many of the media pundits have long ago chosen collectivism over liberty as their cause. But George Will and Peggy Noonan? Perhaps they have reached that point in their careers where the approbation of their colleagues in New York and Washington is more desirable than the rough and tumble world where middle America struggles each day. When one is at the top of one’s profession and accustomed to hobnobbing with the elites it is difficult to abandon the comfort of status and position for the condemnation that would surely follow if they criticized our messianic president.

But this is an historical moment and the time for choosing is fast approaching. It appears that Will and Noonan have chosen to be approvingly fashionable and remain in the circles of the elites rather than join those who are not afraid to display fire and passion when defending liberty. One cannot imagine the likes of Will and Noonan at Concord Bridge, an “overheated” place and time which ended in violent acts. But out of that “overheated era”, as Peggy Noonan describes our present day political discussion, came the freest and greatest society to yet exist on this earth. Could that have been accomplished by learned discussions and dialogue between the elites then in power? We all know the answer to that.

This is not to say that we must all be prepared to rush to the barricades on a moment’s notice. But neither should we feel timid about voicing our opposition to those in power when we disagree with the radical course they are charting, in opposition to the wishes and consent of the governed.

George Will has said that the adjectives Rush Limbaugh applies to Obama and the nouns he equates to Obama “are just not right.” In fact, they are right, Mr. Will, and a large segment of the country knows they are right. President Obama is the most inexperienced president in our history. He is probably the most incompetent but only time will tell if he can wrest that mantle from President Carter. President Obama is clearly a socialist and was the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate. Just what adjectives and nouns applied by Rush were “not right”?

The alarms should be going off all over America in those households where good but uninformed people were persuaded to vote for a man simply because they thought they would be a part of history in voting for the first black president. Everyone who was alive in 1941 remembered where they were and what they were doing when Pearl Harbor was attacked. In the same vein, everyone who voted for Obama in 2008 believed they were at a turning point in history and were casting a historic ballot. In voting for an unknown and untested politician based on the fad of the moment, they unknowingly launched the country in a direction that was totally unexpected to many of them. Let us hope that that fateful election day does not become another “day of infamy”.

By making these statements, I know I run the risk of being tagged a “dangerous” person. And the George Wills and Peggy Noonans of this world will dismiss me, as they did Rush, as being “nothing like an American majority.” But if they know their history, they will know that a relatively small percentage of American colonists—nothing like an American majority—overthrew the most powerful government in the world and defeated the most powerful army in that world at that time.

While patriots like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson were loosing “a daily agitating barrage that coarsens and inflames” and “dangerous” men and women were engaging in violent acts in the “overheated era” of the revolution, I am quite certain there were timid souls peeking out from behind the curtains of their safe havens, expressing grave doubts about the wisdom of those “divisive” people who used “bold colors” rather than “pastels” to describe George III and his government. George Will and Peggy Noonan may cry “Peace, Peace—but there is no peace.” I know not what course others may take, but “give me Rush and Glenn Beck or give me death!”

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