The Sunshine Patriots of Today

Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon trying to shape the mind of a young man somewhat less than ten years old. His father was with a half dozen or so men working to transform my back yard from “Mohave-Desert-Meets-Demented-Construction” into something more livable.

The young man was a pure joy to be with; well-dressed and groomed, polite and respectful, and more questions than the entire life span of the TV show Jeopardy.  The boy was born here in Nevada, but his parents were not.  The boy speaks unaccented English, even though his father’s English is an ongoing challenge for him.

Given his age, I knew that my job was to answer his endless questions about America honestly, without political dogma, and to hopefully plant the seeds of patriotism and conservatism that will grow into a responsible and committed American Patriot.

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I tried to explain the “why” of the American Revolution, and much to my surprise, my young friend began drawing parallels between the royalty of colonial England and our current government.

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And as we talked, I used my laptop to bring up maps and articles to answer his questions, and, as if by some weird twist of fate, a video of the Bundy Ranch Standoff popped up, which served as a wonderful educational tool.

When our afternoon together came to an end, I began to reflect on some of the questions that this bright young man had asked, and I began thinking of the narration that accompanied that video of We The People marching up the canyon to free the Bundy cattle.

The video that we watched said that there were an estimated two thousand (2,000) supporters there at the ranch. I have no idea how many of us were there, but I know that finding even a small space to park my motorcycle was a bit of a challenge.

And I remember that, as I drove alone on my motorcycle to the Bundy Ranch, I passed a highway exit near the Bundy Ranch where many people were going to something that I assumed to be a county fair. I remember feeling annoyed, and I was equally annoyed at people who turned around and went back to Las Vegas because construction slowed their travel towards the Bundy Ranch.

I remember asking myself: “Did these people not understand what was happening just one or two exits further up the highway?”

And as my thoughts of these two most remarkable days–one at the Bundy Ranch and the afternoon spent with my young visitor–began to mingle, I recalled the opening of Thomas Paine’s series of articles in “The American 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 his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

America is in crisis. The parallels between the contentious relationship between the American Colonies and the European tyrants and We The People and our current government are most striking to even the most uneducated of observers.

And it was that reference to “The Summer Soldier and The Sunshine Patriot” that stuck in my mind and continues to feed my frustration with the citizens of this country.

For the past year, my personal life can only be described as “An Asynchronous Event-Driven Chaos.” But when the call went out for patriots to support the Bundy family “my world” simply had to be set aside.

And since that day I have had reason to analyze what it is that makes a “sunshine patriot” and a “summer soldier.”

The simple answer is “priorities.”

The number of people who are exposed to my essays is truly humbling, and I thank all those sites that republish my thoughts. But knowing the potential size of my readership is a source of frustration unto itself.

It is that “summer soldier and sunshine patriot” thing.

It has been my observation that there is less than zero-point-zero-zero-zero-one percent (0.0001%) of the American population willing to set aside all things in defense of the principles upon which this once great nation was founded. The rest of America is either “too busy” or “too frightened” to “get involved.” And not without just cause. Political and economic retribution has become “the norm” in this country, and every time an American citizen bows their head in fear of their government, the government becomes stronger, more emboldened, and more tyrannical, and America as a nation becomes more weakened and more submissive.

I realize that all of us are constantly bombarded to contribute to an endless barrage of causes and asked to attend countless meetings and rallies, and as a result, we become numb to it all.   But far too many of us use this as an excuse to sit on our collective butts and play armchair quarterback for all that does happen and all that does not happen.

In very simple terms, I tried to plant the seed in my young guest; so eloquently spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King:

    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum displays this quote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Sadly, the vast majority of all Americans are still listing the things that they are not, in hopes of avoiding the inevitable so eloquently expressed in the quote above.

There are those that counsel violence and revolution, and I am reminded that:

    “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov

And while I do agree with the great author on that point, I remind all those that will listen that the first act of violence is the capitulation of reasonable discourse, and the second and final act of violence should be on the side of those who dare to defend freedom and defy tyranny. Any other outcome is a resignation to eternal slavery of the body and soul; ours and all those who come after.

There is an ancient quote that states:

    “The sword comes into the world because of justice delayed and justice denied.”

History has taught us that those who would deny freedom and justice to others eventually become bereft of sustainable argument and inevitably resort to violence against those who cherish those God given rights more than life itself.

We pray that that day does not come to our country, but should it come, then perhaps a few more of those “Summer Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots” and “armchair quarterbacks” of today will join those quiet but proud men and women who have so many times marched calmly and resolutely into that valley of the shadow of death in defense of freedom and justice for all—as did those true patriots at The Bundy Ranch Standoff.

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