It’s clear to most who examine our current landscape: America’s woefully divided-on nearly every front. To withstand the forces of evil and ignoble causes will demand large doses of courage and bravery for a sufficient segment of the population to resist the surge. To the percipient, no Pollyanna optimism, even in large doses, suffices to withstand unrelenting onslaughts, aimed at the erosion of individual liberty. Sadly, one hasn’t the luxury of choosing which front to battle. Courage is the mindset to take on challenges despite fear, pain or existential threats. It’s a state of mind. It’s often confused with bravery. Bravery is the outward manifestation of that internal torch of courage.
Like David v. Goliath, bravery to do battle, knowing that by all external metrics one recognizes one’s at a disadvantage in stature and strength. Courage enabled David to understand his circumstances. Knowing God would deliver his adversary, compelled him to an external act of bravery. Courage entails a cause; bravery maintains its essence with our without a cause; more like a standing army. Our nearly 250 year history’s replete with remarkable acts of courage and bravery, many unchronicled.
In WWII, the enemy was obvious to most of our nation-forces of tyranny like Germany and Japan. Today, those who threaten our national equilibrium; all aren’t in battle fatigues or uniforms from distant shores. Our own government infringed upon our liberty last week, passing the House “Equality Act” H.R. 5, by a 224-206 vote. It has nothing to do with equality. It carves out special status for LGBTQ people, at the expense individual liberty, that surreptitiously denies the biological fact of two genders-creating their own mythical tertium quid. During the debate, NY Congressman, Jerry Nadler blasphemed, “God’s will is no concern to Congress.” Since 1774, we’ve invoked God’s presence in legislative affairs.
In 1776, the newly established Continental Navy was at sea on its first operations, and expedition to the Bahamas, to capture sorely need munitions. The flagship of the small fleet flew a new ensign, presented by Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina. It was a yellow banner, emblazoned with a coiled rattlesnake and the legend, “Don’t Tread on Me.” The rattlesnake was a favored emblem during the Revolutionary War. In December 1775, sixty-eight year old, Benjamin Franklin published an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal, under the pseudonym “An American Guesser” in which he pondered on that symbol. Writing, “I observed on one of the drums belonging to the marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this motto under it, ‘Don’t Tread on me.’” He noted the rattlesnake’s, “eye excelled in brightness like that of any other animal, and that she has no eyelids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, not once engaged, ever surrenders. She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.” Its symbol still resonates within the spirit of liberty minded patriots.
American patriot, Christopher Gadsden, led the Sons of Liberty, beginning in 1765, in South Carolina. He eventually was made Brigadier General in the Continental Army. Franklin believed, as many today, the rattle snake’s trait of honorable cautioning its enemy to beware of stepping on it, was, in his opinion, well suited to the newly formed United States. That symbol of the rattlesnake was not only visible in the newspapers, it could be seen across the thirteen colonies on flags, banners, printed on paper money, and imprinted on uniform buttons. Interest persists in this iconic symbol, warning knaves, fools and tyrants to beware.
On October 19, 1781, as the redcoats marched forward to surrender, after French and American troops laid siege to Cornwallis’s lines, the British found themselves trapped. Still they took notice how poorly dressed and ill-equipped Washington’s troops appeared. Few had uniforms. Many wore rags and went barefoot. It was reported that one of King George’s soldiers observed, “Out of this rabble has risen a people who defy Kings.” Courage, bravery and vigilance more than compensated for their rag-tag external. As the British Troops filed between the French and American troops, the Americans played, “Yankee Doodle.” British bands played a tune called, “The World Turned Upside Down.” After Yorktown, the British read the hand-writing on the wall. It was futile to continue to fight those upstart colonists.
President John F. Kennedy, on October 22, 1962, appeared on TV to inform Americans that U.S. spy planes had revealed a “clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.” Soviet missile sites in Cuba. Thus, followed some of the tensest days of the 20th century. Kennedy demanded the missiles’ removal and announced a naval blockade of Cuba to stop Soviet ships from bringing more weapons to the island. Nikita Krushchev breathed threats of war. Kennedy didn’t want war, but he didn’t retreat. He told the American people, “The greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.” Six days later Krushchev agreed to dismantle the missile sights in return for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba, and the removal of missiles in Turkey. A relieved Secretary of State, Dean Rusk commented, “We were eyeball to eyeball, and the other guy blinked.” It required genuine courage and bravery to confront Soviet totalitarianism ninety miles from our shore.
Under the Biden Administration liberty minded citizens are troubled that our constitutional liberties hang in the balance, as the 46th President promised an assault on our Second Amendment. Deuteronomy 31:6, is our anchor in turbulent times. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” G.K. Chesterton observed its consequence, “The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.”
Battling behemoth Big Tech’s unchecked, unregulated power grab that threaten our First Amendment, relegating us to bondage by unelected oligarchs seem daunting. What’s at stake? The survival of this Republic. It’ll demand a sizable dose of individual courage and bravery. There are no substitutes. Even the “Cowardly Lion” knew something was amiss. We must be radicals for Truth. Undercutting or trifling with our Constitution, spell irretrievable loss of individual liberty. Courage works 24/7: Bravery’s on call when needed. Under God, we’re obligated to be guardians and stewards of both. It’s up to us. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org