11.02.2010

The Battle Belongs to Our God


Today is election day.  A mid-term election at that, and I'm as interested and excited as I am during a presidential election.  In 1994 we had a pretty dramatic change in congress in opposition to Clinton and it looks like we're headed for a possible repeat of that year (maybe even more dramatic).  Even then they were floating the idea of national health care, but We the People woke up and pushed back.  Then, it seems, we all went back to sleep.  We expected and trusted that the Republicans would take care of things and get our great nation back on track.  They said they believed in giving states their rights and reducing spending and thus the size of the Federal government but somehow that did not happen. 

I was happy when George W. Bush was elected twice and saddened by the incessant railings against his presidency and him personally.  However, by the end of his two terms, I too was fed up.  Why, oh why, did he have to increase government with No Child Left Behind  and other government programs and, of all things, say, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system."  Then, in the midst of a financial melt-down, like that of the Great Depression according to Obama, we elected and handed the reigns over to a government that believes in itself above the will and wishes of the people.

The picture above is titled Prayer at Valley Forge.  It was a picture that showed up when I was searching for images of American Exceptionalism.  Admittedly, I am a little illiterate of American History (due to my fantastic public education...haha) and this story of Valley Forge was not immediately available to my memory.  So I looked it up.  Here is the story in brief in case you are unaware as well:

• The Story of Valley Forge •

by Ron Avery

The images are heartrending, dramatic and so powerful that they are embedded in the nation's historical consciousness:

Bloody footprints in the snow left by bootless men. Near naked soldiers wrapped in thin blankets huddled around a smoky fire of green wood. The plaintive chant from the starving: "We want meat! We want meat!"

These are the indelible images of suffering and endurance associated with Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78.

"An army of skeletons appeared before our eyes naked, starved, sick and discouraged," wrote New York's Gouverneur Morris of the Continental Congress.

The Marquis de Lafayette wrote: "The unfortunate soldiers were in want of everything; they had neither coats nor hats, nor shirts, nor shoes. Their feet and their legs froze until they were black, and it was often necessary to amputate them."

A bitter George Washington — whose first concern was always his soldiers — would accuse the Congress of "little feeling for the naked and distressed soldiers. I feel superabundantly for them, and from my soul pity those miseries, which it is neither in my power to relieve or prevent."

The suffering and sacrifices of the American soldiers at Valley Forge are familiar, iconic images, but there is another side of the picture. Valley Forge was where a new, confident, professional American army was born.

Three months of shortage and hardship were followed by three months of relative abundance that led to wonderful changes in the morale and fighting capabilities of the Continental Army.

France would enter the war on the side of the new nation. Valuable foreign volunteers and fresh replacements would trickle into camp.

Most important, it was at Valley Forge that a vigorous, systematic training regime transformed ragged amateur troops into a confident 18th century military organization capable of beating the Red Coats in the open field of battle.

This story from our history points out how we, Americans, even from the most helpless and hopeless circumstances, seem to rise up and out of the depths.  We are exceptional that way.  However, what is not noted in this story is noted quite evidently in the picture above.  Our exceptionalism comes from believing so strongly in our rights as given to us by our Creator.  A belief placed at the very top of our Constitution as a flashing neon reminder that our equality is not doled out by our government.

I am not advocating that all Americans become Christians.  I do, however, believe it is our Christian foundation and identity that has pushed our nation into greatness and if we don't hold strongly to those Judeo-Christian values, our great nation will cease to be so great.

With this election I hope that we finally gather ourselves together, as Washington's embattled troops at Valley Forge, and fight to end this march toward a godless tyranny (yes, I think it could get to be that bad...for our children or our children's children anyway...I hope you voted today).

CLICK HERE for more history of  Valley Forge.

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