Editorial-Opinion December 2011

Steve Burch | December 1, 2011

Thomas Paine sat on Dec. 23, 1776, wrapped in a Pennsylvania winter as cold and white as any could remember, and with these words began his essay, titled “The Crisis”…

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”

That war pitted upstart militia against the best-trained and best-equipped army in the world. British regulars and Hessian mercenaries knew war and knew how to cruelly take a living off the land and its people.

The war would continue until 1781 when poor British decision-making, and a surprise victory by the French fleet in the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, isolated Lord Cornwallis and 9,000 troops on a peninsula at Yorktown, Va. He surrendered on Oct. 19, and by Nov. 25, the British government decided to fight no more.

From the harsh snow in Valley Forge in December of 1776, it was impossible to see the victory in the sunshine of October 1781. But in that snow is where the foundation of our freedom was laid. Those winter soldiers, more than any others, protected the fragile flame of American Freedom. They knew both the value and the price of freedom. Today, we stand in the ancestral ranks of those men who stood their ground on frozen ground and paid the price, betting that their effort would make life better for their children, and for you and me.

Six years after the victory, when we got around to writing our federal Constitution, those men remembered the power of the king, the army, the power of the government. They insisted that it be constrained, and exercise only specific, limited powers.

Fast forward to this December.

Our Supreme Court has decided to consider whether or not our federal government has over-stepped its powers by demanding that each citizen purchase a health-care policy.

Twenty-six states have brought suit. Legal armies are gathering for a battle next April in Washington, with the decision handed down in June.

In my opinion, if the government can compel me to buy anything, whether or not I want it, whether or not I should have it, then I cannot imagine any limitation on its power… or on my subjugation.

This Supreme Court decision will come in the middle of the presidential election season. Regardless of the Court’s decision, it is the election that will determine whether our freedoms erode or are renewed.

A continued progressive government will insinuate itself more and more into our lives and our freedoms. A turn to a conservative government will staunch the government control and expand personal freedom.

The coming government will create a liberal or conservative nature on the Supreme Court. Over the next five years, there will be a number of new appointments to the court.

You will recall that last year, for the first time in more than 100 years, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees a personal right to own a firearm. The vote was 5-4. That affirmation is only one vote shy of being over-turned. Our “Right” is one vote shy of being lost, and now one election shy of being lost.

The next president will appoint new judges, and the next senate will affirm or reject those appointments.

If you are a sportsman, you have real skin in this game. These are the times that try my soul. We need to defend freedom as our forefathers did. Do not be a summer soldier. Keep the faith with those who starved and froze for us. Please pick a candidate now who you think can best protect your America, and support that candidate with your energy and your money. When you stroke the check, when you hit enter on the web this December, you will feel the wind-burned eyes of Valley Forge patriots smiling on you.

God Bless you this Christmas, and God Bless America.

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