Fireside Chat on the Insurgent Generation
26 July 2015
My Fellow Americans,
My Fellow Citizens,
My Fellow Free Men & Women,
Listen. Listen carefully, and listen well. I want to remind you of something you have long forgotten. But first, I need you to pause this recording. I need you to turn off the television and the radio in the background. I need you to close the door and sit in silence. I need you to be without distractions or interruptions for the next seven minutes.
Now, I want to remind you of something you have long forgotten. I want you to sit still and close your eyes. Now I want you to remember what it was like to be a child. Remember back before you even knew the word “cynicism,” before you knew everything you think you know about the world, back when life was something hopeful, something more than petty bickering.
I want you to imagine yourself in elementary school again. Remember the bustle of the hallways, remember the smell of your new backpack. Remember your favorite teacher and how much you enjoyed being in her class. Remember walking into the classroom in the morning and sitting at your tiny desk that seemed just the right size back then.
Now the morning announcements come on. We all stand to say the Pledge of Allegiance. We are but children: we know nothing of the wars or of the New Deal; we know nothing of special interests or of our enemies’ agendas; we know nothing of race riots or of the War on Drugs. We are, in this moment, Americans, above all. We are children, free of hatred and suspicion, pledging allegiance to the banner of our home, of the country we love. The so-called “enlightenment” of adulthood is still very far away. Let us thank God for that.
Now I want you to remember the stories of our childhood. I want you to remember how inspiring it was to hear of Columbus sailing the ocean blue, braving sea monsters and risking a great fall off the end of the world to prove that the world was round.
Remember how good it felt to hear after Halloween about the Pilgrims and the Indians exchanging gifts and giving thanks for friendship and a bountiful harvest. Remember tracing your hand to make a turkey; wearing a jacket to school because the weather had cooled; looking forward to a long weekend, to parades and football and your favorite Thanksgiving food.
Remember now the stories of the Wild West. Picture in your mind a tall, dark man entering a saloon with two guns at his belt. Picture cowboys and Indians, desert wars & town duels. Remember the Alamo, the gunfight at OK Corral, Custer’s last stand. Remember what freedom and wonder felt like as a child, free of guilt, free of envy & self-loathing & political correctness.
Remember how we saw America as children: this is what it means to be an American. This is the idea of America that so many long for, and that we in our self-doubt have decided to throw away.
To be an American is to brave danger. Forget about our ancestors and the men and women who sailed here and broke through to the next ocean. The little children we once were would shudder at how weak we have become, how compromising, how reasonable and argumentative. What we call sensibility and temperance is but cowardice; what we call atonement and reparation is merely guilt.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A cowboy? Was the boy you once were strangled by guilt about Manifest Destiny?
A soldier? Was the boy you once were castrated when you learned of the cost of war?
President? Was the boy you once were suffocated by guilt over America’s bloody history?
What did you want to be when you grew up? And why did you not become exactly that?
This is a question only you can answer. This is not something to blame on the Government or on society. Were you oppressed? Were you raised in poverty? Were you the wrong color? It matters not. The only thing that matters is whether you became what you wanted to be. That is the American Dream.
The cynic has no place in our country. He is no frontiersman. Let him return to the Old World, where everyone is happy to throw away Empires and abandon both past & future.
Let us not talk of rights and of Government, of debates and elections. There is no right that will be recognized by Government if it is not fought for and protected.
Slaves gripe about their “rights” from the couch and the barstool. A free man takes his rights.
Slaves think themselves “peaceful” when they are merely cowards. A free man is dangerous.
Slaves hope their masters will treat them well and respect their dignity. A free man does not wait for recognition, whether by a master or a government.
A free man holds that in order to secure his inalienable rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. A free man holds that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
In other words, the Government does not give rights to the people: the people create the Government to protect their rights. And when the Government ceases to act in accord with that principle, it is the natural right of the people to revolt.
Now, I want to remind you of something you have long forgotten. The American Revolution was not won with poster boards and status updates. It was not won by hecklers insulting the King’s men from the safety of their parents’ basements. The success of the American Revolution was predicated upon very real sacrifice, upon battle & bloodshed.
The Republicans among us want to bicker over gay marriage and marijuana; the Democrats among us want to bicker over the minimum wage and the welfare of illegal immigrants; and the Libertarians are quick to eat their own when the mere hint of aggression can be detected or manufactured. Where is your bravery, My Fellow Americans? Where is your love of danger, the gallant daring of your forefathers and the women who embraced the perils of the West with determined heart?
I see their sense of virtue being soon resurrected. I see rising a generation of warriors & explorers, of cosmonauts & psychonauts, of frontiersmen & wild women. I see America as a land burdened by the petty plans of myriad insects – a land that shall soon burst volcanic, all bonds broken, erupting with an insurgent generation that loved the hopes of its forefathers more than the fears of its fathers.
I hear all of humankind raising up a great cry: “Godspeed you to greatness, America – and God help us if you fail!”