In Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn’s famous address to Harvard University warning of Western decline, Solzhenitsyn stated: “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage.”
While numerous examples of this lack of courage are evident today, none is more striking than the Supreme Court’s recent non-decision on Gay Marriage which struck down 6,000 years of societal understanding without having the courage to be accountable for their individual opinions. Many were left frustrated without their proverbial day in court. One talk show host explained the range of emotions best, “Anger, fear, disgust and robbed.”
Despite being arguably one of the most important cases in U.S. History, the justices allowed a few lower court three-judge panels to overturn not only 227 years of Constitutional precedent and hundreds of years of common law, but the vast majority of U.S. voters and further trampled federalism by even overturning State Constitutions. Some justices thought it best to protect institutions rather than truth, what’s best for the nation and even the plain reading of the Constitution. Who cares of the reputation of the court – just do what is right. The primary word that comes to mind – cowardice – but why should we be surprised. It leaves one lamenting, “Where did all our heroes go?”
But this lack of courage does not extend only to the Supreme Court. Most of our politicians speak empty words while failing to have the courage to tell their true convictions as the Democrats do or forever saying “wait till after the next election for us to act” as the Republicans do. Even our churches seek converts over Americans’ interests and abandon the rule of law and the equity than comes from it for all the world rather for those simply willing to break our laws. Oh, how we long for patriots of the past – the Patrick Henrys, the Lincolns, and the George Washingtons.
Our president simply votes “present” but few thought the U.S. Supreme Court would as well. Our Justices lack courage to give certainty and allow the country wallow in confusion, the US Senate under the direction of Harry Reid, refuses to make tough decisions as well – not wanting to place his colleagues in a difficult position just prior to their re-elections. Even Republicans are afraid – few actually thought the President’s Syrian strategy would succeed, but afraid of appearing partisan and the press accusing them of not compromising remained silent. The President was never forced to understand why he’s losing Iraq and so we double-down on policy doomed to failure as tens of thousands potential allies suffer and die. As Rome burns, voting “present” seems to be in vogue.
We wring our hands and cry out “how could this happen?!” One religious leader explained it best:
“It happened first in and to the universities of America. It happened when agnostics and atheists were protected in teaching their philosophy of religion in public institutions of higher learning. Because they claim affiliation with no church, the principle of separation of church and state is supposed not to apply to them. They are free to teach their faithless philosophy at public expense, to shake, even destroy, the faith of their students. Meanwhile teachers of faith are restrained and churches are kept off campus. What happened happened in and to the schools and the churches, to the towns and cities; it happened in the homes and in the hearts of the American people. ***
But lest we blame everything on our leaders, we too must take responsibility. We fail to hold our elected leaders accountable. Many current Senators voted for the Supreme Court judges, but now act surprised and simply shirk the blame by stating Presidential deference rather than taking their Constitutional obligation to “advise and consent” seriously.
What started slowly now builds to a crescendo as we seemingly accelerate toward the cliff of self- destruction. Feeling helpless and powerless is dangerous because it often leads to one of two extremes – either giving up entirely or to violence. This is why it’s important to realize that we didn’t get here accidentally, because if we can’t see it, then we can have no hope that we can get out of it. We CAN do something about it if we but have the courage to act. But, we also must understand that if we abandon the wisdom of our forefathers, we will not be immune from the consequences. Another religious leader (and later Mormon prophet) Spencer W. Kimball stated:
“When enemies filter into our nation to subvert us and intimidate us and soften us, we continue with our destructive thinking; “It cannot happen here.”
Such a prevalent attitude is seductive because it allows us to think that decisions can be postponed indefinitely. This lulls us into thinking that no courageous decisions are ever necessary – that we never have to make tough decisions which may offend someone. We avoid necessary conservations since we have plenty of time and others can take care of our problems. But the border, social security, terrorists, the debt crisis and numerous other problems know no such fallacy. Although urgency is now seen as extremism, Solzhenitsyn further warned us:
“But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. The forces of Evil have begun their decisive offensive. You can feel their pressure, yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about?”
But despite this reality, we continue to lack the courage to do that which is necessary to protect ourselves and protect our children’s future. We fail to secure the border from illegal aliens, Muslim extremists and even Ebola, but in reality deadly effects have already occurred. As we worry about Ebola, many have already died from Human enterovirus 68 likely spread from our Southern Border. Who needs terrorists when thousands of illegal aliens fill our prisons for murder, rape and other violent crimes or stress our already vulnerable healthcare system?
Churches unwittingly are used as pawns. They clamor for amnesty although research shows that those coming overwhelming (according to PEW 80%) want bigger government which will lead to policies that further restrict religious freedoms. Supposed compassion trumps reason, yet the folly won’t protect us from the consequences of such charity or naivety.
But was does the left have to fear? There’re no consequences to offending the right. We don’t riot – nor should we – but does this mean that nothing can or should be done? Churches aren’t afraid because where else will the religious go yet the left successfully lobbies them. Since we don’t boycott, businesses aren’t afraid of offending the right; we simply continue shopping while the left cunningly executes a plan. The Executive Branch doesn’t care about us as is evident by the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups so why should be surprised about the Supreme Court.
In the same address, Solzhenitsyn stated that “from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the first symptom of the end?” On this point I hope we prove him wrong. It doesn’t have to be the end but we must not shirk our responsibilities. We must realize the direness in which we find ourselves. Although worried, I still have hope for the great nation, but we must realize that courage will be required and that one cannot sit on the sidelines any longer.
The middle must come to realize that they cannot continue to straddle the fence any longer. In reality, the greatest battle is for the middle – to help them understand that with the left’s tolerance only goes one way. We must wake them up and help them understand that its naïve to think that they can hide their opinions much longer or forever not take a stand. Yes, principled compromise is good but compromising on solutions that will not work is simply dumb. Good ideas must prevail, but this requires convictions to speak up. Political correctness can no longer keep us from even having needed conversation in the first place.
The next Presidential election will determine if the court can be turned for good, or, will forever forsake the recognition of the laws of nature and the laws of God upon which this nation was founded. Rather than shirk into the comfort of anonymity, now is the time to let our convictions known.
– CHRIS HERROD