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The Source of Real Courage

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It all comes down to courage . . .

If you have courage, then you're willing to face that really stinky mess in the garage and clean it up.

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You have faith you can clean it up, because you've cleaned up other really stinky messes, or seen other people do it. In other words, you have faith because you have experience of succeeding in the past.

Now Americans don't have much faith that we can throw out a bunch of murdering, psychotic tyrants (excuse my French). Why? Because we don't have experience succeeding against such people.

Sure, the Founding Fathers threw out the British; but that was WAY back in the day, hundreds of years before we were born. French revolution? Ancient history, and different country. WWII? Still generations back for many of us, and that was different. The WWII generation was fighting "the good war", and never knew that our own government probably let Pearl Harbor be attacked in order to justify the U.S. entry into WWII to help out the British. So we have no experience of having really stood up to tyrants.

Fat and Happy

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Moreover, we Americans have led a very pampered life for the past couple of decades. Sure, there has been inequality and exploitation, and some have had it a lot worse than others. But, other than stopping extreme forms of racism (Ku Klux Klan, etc.), we haven't had to defend our borders or our liberties.

Basically, we complain if our tv goes on the fritz, or our team loses the game, or we can't afford that new, nicer whatzit, or if our boss is mean. We think those are big, Earth-shattering, history-changing events. But they are quite small in the grand scheme of things

And even those of us who think of ourselves as brave heroes usually only act like that when we know it is within the bounds of safety, within the limits of what we can handle. "Tough guys" tend to turn into meek mice whenever they are really threatened.

So we're basically lazy and timid, but we don't know or admit it. We like to pretend we are like the Founding Fathers or John Wayne (at least the cowboys had to rough it a little).

But we have no experience of successfully standing up to tyrants, so we have no faith that it can be done, and while the evidence is right before our noses that our current leaders are tyrants, we're so terrified that we have our knickers in a bunch.

What Would They Do?

Even if you haven't experienced success in standing up to tyrants, remember that the Founding Fathers did just that. They were just men, not gods. Sure, they were too persistent and stubborn to give up, but that's because they CARED about something: freedom.

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They may have lived hundreds of years before our time, but that doesn't matter -- we can still learn from their experience as if it were happening now. Time is an illusion, since human nature is the same now as it was then. Just as many people of faith ask "what would Jesus do?", we can also ask "what would the founding fathers do?" If they could do it, we can do it.

Take Heart

There is a real misunderstanding of what it means to be courageous. In America, courage is often thought of as a testosterone-driven toughness. There's nothing the matter with testosterone. Masculinity is a great thing. But many American men secretly fear that they don't have sufficient testosterone to really be brave when the chips are down. As I said above, even those of us who think of ourselves as brave men usually only act like that when we know it is within the bounds of safety, within the limits of what we can handle.

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George Washington


As a political activist for decades, I have rejoiced in victories for the people and mourned in defeats. I chose the pen name "George Washington" because - as Washington's biographies show - he wasn't a (more...)
 

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