You had enough? Not a bad place to be. It’s not as if we have no choices. We have an array of options. We can give up, shut up, speak up, or stand up. We bemoan our current predicament. A rogue president. Lifetime politicians taking care of themselves. Very little is ever done. With rare exceptions, we return those parasitic rascals, who vote in abject disregard of our interest. That’s why many have just given up. Surrendered. Others reason, one may as well shut up. “Enough rhetoric already,” they conclude.
Political pollsters speculate that presidential hopeful, billionaire Donald Trump, who’s leading most polls by a wide margin, resonates with many because he’s fearless. He speaks up and stands up to the issues of the day. With showman-like antics, he hasn’t cowered to his critics. Opponents clamor for him to drop out of the race. Don’t hold your breath. Pundits, and media darlings have already forecast his demise. He’ll not go quietly into the night. Perhaps, kicking and flailing. Few liberty minded conservatives would vote for him if he makes the cut. However, from afar, we’re entertained by his audacity and tenacity. We believe he has the freedom to even spew outrageous, inartful things. Some issues are outrageous. “Go Donald,” some say.
Staunch supporters of the “third wave” of feminism, rode the “first wave” of feminism, a movement that began in the famed Seneca Falls Movement of 1848, declaring women’s equality with men, as they announced “…that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator…” The feminist movement actually found its roots in the anti-slavery movement, and ultimately consummated itself in the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The suffrage movement spawned the League of Women Voters, still a force in the political landscape of America. Many movements were spawned in this marvelous experiment we call a Republic. Some rue the unintended consequences. Nevertheless, they spoke up and stood up.
The early suffragettes employed such tactics as mass demonstration, parades, picketing, civil disobedience, and occasional disruption of “decorum” tactics that were mimicked by the early 60’s civil rights movement. And for that, we thank the “ladies of old.” Fast forward to 2010, the tactics and strategy marshaled by the Tea Party Revolution, that took root nationally, finds its roots in a word used by Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, in a letter she penned to him at the Second Continental Congress, 1776. She wrote, “I long to hear that you gave declared an independency. And in the new code of laws I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire, you would remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors…we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no choice or representation.” A bold statement to her husband, though the political movement she forecast, failed to emerge until generations later. That word was “foment.”
Webster defines foment, “to stir up, instigate, or incite.” Irrespective of the issue, slavery, women’s rights, constitutional rights, or civil rights, it occurs when a person, or a group of people “foment.” Or when they’ve “had enough” and resolve to “do something about it.” The scale of such a movement may began small and grow, or it may be constrained to local issues. Nevertheless, a movement finds momentum when people believe they have been excluded, or lack representation, disenfranchised, a loss of power, or as in the case of the Negro, they and their co-belligerents, were tired of being treated as chattel or property.
It was also the “might of the pen” that fomented movements. Early newspapers or printed pamphlets in the 1830’s, were distributed by anti-slavery foes, which put the slave owners on the defensive, but also served to inform a small constituency of the plight of the slave. From this came much of the anti-slavery movement, which culminated in the January 1, 1863, Emancipation Proclamation. Of course, that was only the “first strike” at slavery. In retrospect, the end was in sight, notwithstanding the tragic loss of life, in the struggle of the Civil War.
Unknown to many today, it was a 19th Century, Cambridge educated gentlemen from England, William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament, whose steeled influence on the abolishment of slavery in England, exerted significant sway on sympathizers in the United States in the 1820’s. He was quoted to have said, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners(morality).
Any event in your realm that has “fomented” in you mind? It’s the mere existence of reaching the precipice of finally “having enough” of an injustice or issue that either compels you, or that of another who’s suffered at the hands of injustice or inequity. Perhaps discovering we’ve shifted our focus beyond “rooting for the underdog” to resolving to “do something about it.” Unlike William Wilberforce, your calling may not be from God. However, many movements that became a good for many, such as hospitals, universities, and other charitable movements, were forged on the anvil of God’s Word, and genuine Christian charity. Having antipathy toward “political indifference” may compel one to act for good. To speak up and stand up for liberty.
It’s unlikely to engender agreement on all of these social and moral issues. In fact, the debate and discussion of such issues, is the fodder for the advancement of most social, moral and spiritual movements in America. The tragic consequences are not in the vigorous debate of such matters, but rather ignoring them, or opting for “cowardly silence.” Same sex marriage didn’t materialize from thin air. We have choices. Don’t give up. To be fomented, as history has revealed, is a good thing. Go thou and do likewise. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt is a Natrona County resident. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org