The Peaceful Warrior
The peace-at-any-price person rarely achieves peace, and, if she does, it comes with an enormous price. I’ve lived amongst such people, and have been deemed a combative person, by comparison with their mealy-mouthed moderation of any threatening situation. In actuality, I’m a peaceful warrior.
The get-along-to-get gal and the agree-with-the-crowd guy are not benevolent bastions of tolerance and humility. The phoney smile to disguise tension is the self-ingrained mark of a coward. Does this person realize she’s weak on the inside, brassy on the outside?
Yes. The peace-at-any price advocate knows well his character deficiencies — and he knows that his charade of seeking an armistice for any confrontational occasion is a charade. The appeaser harbors, and often nurtures, ill-will toward the brave bloke who takes the chance and calls a spade a spade. Come what may, the honest soul laying it on the line can live with her soul. The peace-at-any-price person pays for her untruthful illusion with her peace of mind, peace of heart, and, in extreme cases, her soul.
The maturation of any individual involves standing up for what you believe is just. Somewhere along the recent way in this old old world, not merely in the United States, the group-think of fearful throngs, parading for the wrong, has become the only focus of public attention. The headlines themselves need 12-step-programs. Maybe those silly squeamish fraudsters form a major reason why hordes of humanity are cutting cords, tossing cell phones overboard, and walking away from laptops — to re-discover the lost art of DOING whatever it is that got sidelined by feeling that survival need to keep an eye out for whatever is going to happen — that could spell disaster, doom, and something drastic about to happen.
Whatever might really happen ain’t online or even “out there”. The other shoe has dropped, so many times, that scarcely anyone with ears to hear is listening anymore for that cataclysmic thud. We’re all so starved for a real happening that we’ve lost those brouhaha tastebuds!
Before very long, you'll need not go to the News: the News will come to you, via subscription. No fact-famished American need go ever again to the junk-food Pravda channels.
Even the Father of Our Country hungered for the best of humanity to happen after his intrepid victory at the Battle of Trenton, that decisive win that could have been just as decisively lost. He and his men crossed the icy Delaware, perhaps not aware they’d also crossed the Rubicon that morn on Boxing Day, 26 December 1776. The battle-hardened education of that general began after that unexpected but crucial victory. His maturation as a commander, as an American, and as a man took place most decidedly during the year of 1779, four years after the start of the Revolutionary War.
I almost called this essay “The Making of a President”; but since we in the States do not, in actuality, have a President, or Commander-in-Chief, I decided to emphasize the positive and take the peaceful warrior route!
The toughening-up of Washington in terms of how a nation gives birth to itself entailed lessons that are still being learned today, by any American striving to be a patriotic defender of democracy, truth, justice, and the American Way.
By 1779, the composition of the Continental Congress had changed dramatically over the course of that Revolutionary War, and not for the better. George Washington initially encountered the First Continental Congress in May 1776, two years after the founding of this legislative body. He’d testily struggled with those delegates to gain provisioning of the Continental Army, medical care, clothes, and munitions, and to launch the long and laborious process of establishing some kind of a salary for military members to entice them to engage in the defense of their nation.
The men in that First Continental Congress had been highly gifted, erudite, shrewdly aware of the risks they were taking, and prepared to live out the consequences of their deeds.
The Continental Congress that General Washington confronted in 1779, just 3 years later, gave this military man great pause as to the talents and the incorruptibility within that group of founding Americans. There remained only 12 of the original 47 delegates who had so historically gathered to institute the founding of a nation by means of a war of independence from the Mother Country. Three years of infuriating Congressional fuss-budgeting had run off almost three-fourths of the original gang of staunch stewards of democracy.
In today’s America, a Congressman, Congresswoman, or Congress-girl is just getting going on the gravy train after three years of feeding at the taxpayer trough. The free-ride has just begun!
Some of the men who’d left this adventure of initiating an independent United States had gone back to their private and business lives, either through homesickness, money woes, opposition to this American experiment, or, in the persons of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, had moved on to the better gig of diplomatic missions. George Washington was alarmed at the lack of skills and expertise on display in the Continental Congress during March 1799. (Yes, at the present moment, he’d be gritting those wooden dentures.)
There were still talented, savvy and spirited men in that Congress, but the power base had clearly shifted away from the national government — toward the governments of the states. Each state was s sovereign entity, moving upon its own path to follow in this newly created nation. Serving in the national congressional body was not where the action — and the power — and the money were.
Besides, the war was winding down. It was better to position oneself to make money and grab a lofty position when the time came for a Confederated Congress to offer so many lucrative opportunities in this new capitalist nation of independence. Accomplished, experienced, adroit and innovative delegates left the Continental Congress to build the governments of their states. There was no shortage of opportunistic, even avaricious stratagems being set into motion among affluent legislators to pivot power to their states. The pork showed up early, as an appetizer, on the American congressional table.
For certain states, continually trying to drum up recruitment for a national army, that increasingly bothersome task was getting in the way of securing a spot to maximize the anticipated peace dividend!
Peace was not about to come at any price to the United States. It would come at a severe price to the national government!
George Washington, the prescient and analytic surveyor of land, and of men, found the entire situation lunatic. He declared it to be “Sheer madness.”
If the national cause failed, there would be no nation. The states, therefore, would cease to be states. They’d no longer exist.
One cannot refute the logic of the absurdity of this quickly developing situation. To add to the heap of awfulness that this general observed in the Congress during the spring of 1779, he witnessed an abhorrent indifference among the affluent Americans toward the appalling conditions endured by the young men in American Revolutionary uniforms. Those boys were fighting and dying to liberate this nation from Great Britain. The worst pit of opulent apathy toward the American rebel soldiers was Philadelphia. It seems that city has always been out of touch with the reality of the nation surrounding it. The reality, in this instance, was the American quest to survive not just a Revolutionary War, but the costs of that war.
The price to free the colonies from Mad King George was so exorbitant that the paper money, known as the Continental, flooded the 13 states, leading to the sadly true phrase, “Not worth a Continental.”
The birth of inflation, the birth of a nation, and the harsh enlightenment of a future President, all occurred during a time when America still could have lost the war. That basically conservative revolution aimed to keep the certain unalienable rights abrogated by the Crown and Parliament. By 1779, the peace-at-any-price citizens of the former colonies sure hadn’t changed their minds about aligning with the Crown, particularly whenever a bedraggled soldier asked for food or a cup of water. He was told, “Not even to save your life.”
It is all too easy, even natural, for Americans to look at the past and see brighter lights there than in the present. My understanding of my nation, of the Americans who sacrificed to give birth to a nation, and then to build that nation; of the Americans who currently are sacrificing so much to re-build that nation; and of the Americans who are profoundly guided by their love of that nation — is that the peaceful warrior is always in short supply in any country.
The grandstanders of any country only get less grand and do more standing while the productive, industrious, ingenious defenders of the homeland go about their business, silently. And, with very few words, they wait for their reward, not from man, or Congress, or the fame-obsessed gaggle — but from their Divine Creator.
The peaceful warrior can count among her blessings many beloved intangible things and the loved ones that she fights to protect. How infinitely sad is the warring-with-herself appeaser who, having invested so little in any of those priceless intangibles, feels no urgency to spring into action to guard whatever she loves, to defend her home, to protect the innocent from the assaults of the defiled.
This Mother’s Day, I am a peaceful warrior, at home within myself.