At the bottom of Pandora’s Box

– Zach Ricks

I’m writing this on the morning after. Health care reform has passed, and I know a lot of you are concerned for the future of our country. There’s an awful lot of schadenfreude flying around out there. It would be easy to be discouraged, to be despairing. But I think that’s wrong. I’m going to apologize up front for this, because my thoughts are a little disconnected, and I’m going to use this forum to help crystallize what’s going on for myself, and hopefully for at least one of you out there.

I’d like to suggest that in this clarifying moment, that we have something we’ve thought had been perverted and stolen right out from under us? I believe that now – right now – is when we should have hope. Dare I say, hope… for change.

Yesterday’s vote has been compared by some as “a date which will live in infirmary”, to quote the Drudge report headline I saw yesterday. It’s a reference to the speech that FDR gave after Pearl Harbor. We had been attacked, over two thousand of our military had lost their lives. It was a clarifying moment. As the Japanese headed home, it’s said that Admiral Yamamoto said “I feal all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

It’s a great quote, but it’s totally unsubstantiated, and the line actually comes from Tora, Tora, Tora! Unsubstantiated or not, I can’t help but feel that the same kind of thing is happening now.
For evidence, let’s turn to… The Huffington Post… and to a little post entitled: “Healthcare Reform & The Radicalization of Betsy & Robby”. In this post, the author describes the phenomenon of people who were formerly “apolitical” suddenly getting a political opinion – and it’s one he doesn’t agree with at all. He describes two friends – Betsy and Robby, who a year ago seemed to have no interest in or opinion on politics or current affairs. Oh, sure, they were (and are) solid members of the community, but no real political interest. Suddenly, he’s seeing Facebook posts on Robby’s page taunting Al Gore, praising Sarah Palin, and giving “shout outs” to Chuck DeVore. He’s getting voice mails from Betsy about how she “adores the Fox News Channel, and watches Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly all the time and really, really loves Beck’s show”. (Incidentally, anyone notice how when left wing people upset about potential cutbacks in education funding take to the streets and sit on an interstate exit ramp, they’re “activists”, while a solid family man who talks up Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck on his Facebook page has been “radicalized”? Isn’t that weird? Ah well, nothing to see here…)

Brother, you think you’ve seen a sleeping giant? You ain’t seen NOTHING yet. And to be perfectly fair, Mr. Joseph’s article does warn of the possibility of Democrats losing serious numbers in the House and Senate. It’s essentially the same quote as Yamamoto’s… just a lot longer and more easily attributed.

So, our friends and neighbors are waking up. But we’re still at the beginning. Someone on Twitter brought up the Stamp Act yesterday, comparing it with this bill, and we usually point to the Stamp Act and other Intolerable Acts as the motivating causes of the American Revolution. But remember, the Stamp Act was passed… in 1765. And as I recall, the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. It took eleven years to go from Stamp Act to revolution. And the War for Independence itself took another seven years to be fought and won. We’re at the beginning of the fight of our generation. But people are waking up.

I’d like to round this out by referring to another figure associated with WWII – Winston Churchill. I’m excerpting a couple of quotes from his speech at the Harrow School in October of 1941. Remember, at this point in the war, Britain was in the fight of her life. The United States was refusing to directly join in. France had fallen. The previous summer, London had been bombed. 23,000 were dead and over 32,000 had wounded from the bombings. I’d like to just post the whole thing and be done with it, but there are some particular lessons here for us that I’d like to emphasize.

“… but we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last…. when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months – if it takes years – they do it. Another lesson I think we may take… is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must ‘…meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposters just the same.’…. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period… this is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never– in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apprently overwhelming might of the enemy…. Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days– the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”

That lesson is our lesson. That thought must be our thought. Again, this is a fight that’s just beginning. A year ago, these people had no political opinion at all. Today, they’ve been “radicalized”, or as some of us like to say… they’ve woken up.

So here we are. The box has been opened, and all kinds of trouble has poured out. We’ve got Pelosi saying that once the Health Care Door has been “kicked in”, that there would be other legislation to follow, taking the country in a new direction. She means it. Troubles are coming. But remember the “radicalization” some people are pointing at. Remember that we’ve been through stern days in the past. Remember what they found at the bottom of Pandora’s Box. And remember that just like elections… votes have consequences. Let’s remember. Let’s resolve to square our shoulders, and continue doing the work that lies before us. And let’s hope!

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