“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.”i These are the words Thomas Paine penned that George Washington had read to his army the night before The Battle of Trenton, the battle that changed the emotional tide of the war and gave Americans hope that they could indeed win their freedom.
Today we again come to a crossroad. There are many paths before us. One huge decision we have to look at is how we are living our freedoms. Let us share with others, our neighbors, our friends, our acquaintances, our thoughts on the issues that stand before our state and our great nation. Let us open our mouths and be bold in our opinions just as Thomas Paine was. As we share our opinions others will gain courage to share their opinions too. Just as a stone that is thrown into the water can produce countless ripples, the same applies to a person who is willing to take a stand on an issue regarding our freedoms. It may surprise you to see just how many people agree with how you believe freedom should be lived. Too often we have allowed the vocal minority to lead the silent majority. Let us show forth the courage of Thomas Paine, George Washington and all of the other Founding Fathers by opening our mouths and standing for what we believe. A simple word can change a heart. One conversation can change the tide of a nation. Many conversations can change the course of a people. Let us act.
i Pamphlet “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine