“The Victor Mindset… My Final Column?”
2018: Your Breakout Season Part 4
I think sometimes that I might be sitting in a kind of parallel universe. I’m even wondering if this might be the final column I ever write for Masonry Magazine. The editors here have always given me broad latitude, but…you never know. This could be the one that steps over the line. (If you’re reading this on Facebook, instead of in Masonry, then you’ll know the answer!) Anyway…let me tell you what’s been going on with me. Maybe you can relate. Here’s the story.
I’m writing this column over the Memorial Day weekend, thinking that this will be read sometime around Independence Day. Events from history keep popping into my head, and my mind is trying to make sense of current events in light of that history past. Let me try that another way.
Earlier this month, May 8thmarked the 73rdanniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. About a month after you read this column, August 15thwill mark anniversary of the end of the war in the Pacific. Two significant events, both older than I am! Significant in that Western Civilization was saved. It’s an understatement to say that’s a big, significant deal, but it is a big deal. At least it used to be in our country.
The Founding Fathers had it written into the Constitution that American citizens had rights; in fact, they clarified where those rights come from: God…NOT the government! We seem to have forgotten that a government which is able to grant certain rights and permissions can decide later to remove them. And often does.
Our Founders saw beyond that. They knew history. They knew the hearts of men. So they set up the new country by writing this–
We hold these truths to be self-evident That all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain, unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Never, ever, ever in the history of the world, was such a bold proclamation made. They knew that government-granted rights were transitory at best. Throughout history, kings and rulers and dictators had always made the law. What they said was absolute…at least until the next revolution or crop of rulers came in to take their places…change the deal. Simply said, “The King was Law”.
The Signers of the Declaration and of the Constitution would have none of that! With Divine guidance, they loudly and boldly declared the exact opposite: “The Law is King”.
And with the Law being king of the land, and with the people having those unalienable rights, government was very restricted on what it could do. At least…that was the plan. Millions of our military have bled and died to keep that so, while thousands and thousands of their families have borne—and mourn–their loss.
And yet…present day…those self-evident declarations by our Revolutionary patriots are seen as not being a really big deal by a sizable percentage of our country. It seems to me unimaginable.
In light of all this history swirling around me, I’ve been moved to watch again a TV series, “The Pacific”.Extremely well done, the images of 18-year-old kids huddled under ponchos, in the midst of a driving rain, on islands with names that no one had ever heard before, doing their jobs, obeying their orders, banding with their brothers…answering their call.
What drives me crazy is the ease at which some folks today will dismiss the values so long fought for by so many. People are willing to put limits on free speech? On a free press? Really? Dare I mention the Second Amendment?
These unalienable rights have been carved into our national identity and known as the Bill of Rights. Self-evident rights that, to a people of faith, could only be taken away by the God who granted them. Not a government.
Can it really be that college campuses, once proudly known as the home of free speech, now will only tolerate speakers and thoughts acceptable to the majority? And if one chose to promote ideas contrary to that majority, it could easily send this crowd into quiet, safe rooms where they would need to pet puppies, play with kittens and set about coloring with crayons to remediate their stress. Yikes!
Those 18-year-old kids in the foxholes and battlefields of yore would doubtlessly be brought to tears if they were to witness these current-day travesties.
Yet…just when I think that the end is near, beacons of hope still pop up on the horizon. One of my current favorite thinkers of today is Candace Owens, a 29-year-old brilliant, eloquent, clear-thinking young black woman. (I’d also add “beautiful”, but I’m not sure it’s allowable to say that anymore!) In a nutshell, she’s done her own research, and has come to the conclusion that we’ve got a pretty good country, with a pretty good economy, and that America is not what is wrong with the world. A big part of her message is that it is time to drop victim mentality and adopt victor mentality. She puts it, “Be a victor, not a victim!”
Likewise, the rap artist, Kanye West. He has concluded that this is a pretty good time to be alive in America, regardless of your origins. He has spoken out, knowing that it would be unpopular in some circles, but apparently he still believes in the concept of free speech.
It gives me hope as we head into the fall elections that people will begin to do their own research. Let’s not forget that a mere nine or ten years ago President Obama was declaring our country’s then-poor GNP as being the “new normal” and apologized to the world for the many grievances of America. Remember?
Embracing the long-held concept of American Exceptionalism, together with a belief in its greatness, obviously resonates in our country.
To me, as I think about this, “the end” is not necessarily near. That said, it takes visionaries, good leaders, people of principle. In fact, a novel I just read referred to leadership this way: “For those who can’t; for those who won’t, and for those who look the other way.” Doing the right thing. For your family, your community, your business, your country. That’s who we are as people.
When you think about it, especially regarding wars past, that’s the way America has always been. Somehow…I still have hope. I trust that the once-taught values of the “Greatest Generation” can be caught by those of us junior to them.