03 Jan The Summer Soldier and the Sunshine Patriot
Do you remember the term “sunshine soldier and summer patriot?”
The term was found in Thomas Paine’s series of pamphlets published during the American Revolution. He wrote them because the colonists needed hope…they needed inspiration. For any of you who have read the Pulitzer prize winning“1776” by David McCullough you will understand more fully the dire situation the colonists were facing.
“These are the times that try men’s souls” wrote Paine. “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.”
Mr. Paine was describing those men, who, when the snow started falling, and a bad situation became harsh, left their ranks to return to their hearths, leaving the battles for others to wage.
This morning the thought, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” (“A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens) has come to my mind repeatedly.
I am so grateful for a warm home, food, grocery stores within walking distance, clean running water at the turn of a handle, a reliable car, modern technology that allows me to have world news and instant access to communication. What comfort and convenience! It is the best of times! It would be easy to relax on a couch with a good book and ignore the world around me.
And yet…we read and see another reality portrayed as the headlines inform us of …”murders,” “desertion,” “abortion promoted,” “same-sex marriage legalized,” “child abuse rampant,” “fraud discovered,” “lies uncovered,” “pornography,” “rape,” “drug addiction”…and we see that these can also be considered “the worst of times.”
I believe that 2012 for us is as critical as our Founding Father’s 1776. And Paine’s words ring in our ears, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” His pamphlets clarified the issues at stake in the war being waged.
We at United Families, are doing our “darnedest” to clarify the battles being fought in our society. Future generations will look at us…you and me, as having been “winter warriors” or “sunshine soldiers.” Just like the men and women of 1776, who, during MANY of the battles, saw no way out…we also, at times, see “no way to win.” And yet we are winning. We are given hope when we read that more and more of the rising generation see abortion for what it is…the killing of unborn babies. It has been a battle that started before the Supreme Court heard Roe vs. Wade in 1973. A long battle, and it’s not over, but the pro-life contingent is expanding.
How long will it take for society to recognize the absolute importance and truth that marriage is between a man and a woman? Thirty years? Hopefully if the “winter warriors,” you and I, get involved in the battle we can shorten the war. It may be fierce, but in Paine’s words:
“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Paine’s writings helped the colonists understand that the British were trying to assume powers that only God should have. Paine saw the British political and military maneuvers in America as “impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”
Are there those today who can be compared with the British Empire of that day? Some rights and powers belong to God alone. Two of those powers are the giving and taking of life. Who are we to assume we know better than God?
Paine states “that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupported to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent”.
Should we not be so worthy of God’s alliance? Obviously, we need to be more involved than just “wishing and hoping.” Every “decent method which wisdom could invent” needs to be in play. Think! Act! Write! Speak up! Get involved!
“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.” And may I add generations to come?