March 23rd was the 236th anniversary of Patrick Henry’s legendary speech urging the Second Virginia Convention to support colonial intervention against British rule. I think it is appropriate to review his address, and then consider a question that I will pose at the conclusion of this essay.
“Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of Hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?...The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged, their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable – and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
Those famous words were influential in moving the Independence movement forward to a successful conclusion. Had they not been spoken, life could certainly be quite different today in this part of the world.
Consider for a moment that this land is still under the rule of the British Empire. Here is my hypothetical question, do you believe the people of this land with their current quality of life, entitlements, medical care, and pension plans would react today to Patrick Henry’s call to step forward and fight for independence?
Frankly, I would not want to put up any money that the majority of our fellow citizens would fight for their freedom if given a choice today. The way our current leadership and government have bought the complacency of the citizenry, particularly the entitlement crowd, the government may well have taken the “fight out of the dog.”
I pray I am wrong, but I suspect that there is more truth in my concerns than any of us wants to believe. Your Commander is committed until the day I pass from this earth to “GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH.”