These three men are considered the architects of Independence. According to Edmund S. Morgan in his book The Meaning of Independence, these first three Presidents were largely responsible for creating the idea of independence and setting about how to attain and maintain it from the country they once loved, Great Britain and the King they once revered, King George.
Today, many Americans are clamoring for men such as the first three presidents and founding fathers. There are more sightings of their quotes and reciting of their prose than at any time since they lived. For historians this is a great moment in history as our trade, our craft that we love appears to be relevant and researched by thousands of hungry Patriots.
Yet, it appears to any trained historian that these three great men would be shocked that so many are doing so little. It is a good start to know where we came from and to understand how we were intended to go forward as a nation, but it is not enough. To stand and recite the famous words penned in letters from these men is honorable, but to what end?
These men were not merely men of words, they were men of action. Today, we see a breed of patriot that is long on recitation as well as long on hesitation. We can stand for hours and stir up impassioned cheers from our faithful throngs of followers. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have been two of the most recent cheer-rousing Patriotic speakers.
Yet, at the end of the day have these Patriotic cheerleaders led us to victory? What would we call a victory? What is our battle? Who are we fighting against? If these questions cannot be answered then the founding fathers have failed. They will have left us only a legacy of memories; and Benjamin Franklin’s famous retort about the new republic would be ominous indeed. When asked “Well doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
These men did not enter into the Revolution for light or transient reasons. They suffered a long list of abuses and neglect that led them to the conclusion that there was no other alternative. In order that they could reach that decision, they had to first agree on what was the final straw. We patriots are standing in a straw field reaping what men before us have sewn. At some point, there must be a leader of Washington, Adams, or Jefferson’s stature who says, “I hold here…the last straw, and there will be no more reaping until we have stopped those who sow discontent in our nation.”
To continue with words when action is called for is to beat our heads against a wall because we lack the courage to knock it down with a sledgehammer. There came a time when our founders grabbed their plows and hammered them into swords. They met, discussed, and agreed that a bridge had been crossed that could not be uncrossed.
I believe we are standing in a straw field in America and in the distance is a bridge. Who will pick up the last straw, announce it as such, and if necessary, lead Patriots across that bridge? Will the last straw be the election results in 2014? 2016? Or if they ratify a gun treaty with the United Nations? Who will announce the last straw; who has the courage of a founding father? If, as so many politicians have recently implied, we are on the precipice of disaster, at what point should we act? If however, we are not in real peril then let’s all agree to stop the fear mongering and crisis management. Take action or take a seat! Words stir the hearts of men, but actions stir the destinies of nations.