Each generation arrogantly believes itself unique and alone unto itself in the creeping progression of human history.
Rest assured that we are not.
We look back at the American Revolution, the Civil War and WWII and think to ourselves that these circumstances could never happen again – but they can. By virtue that these are HISTORICAL events, we can be assured that they shall. History, it would seem, does repeat and it does so with alarming regularity.
We do have the advantage of the clarity of hindsight, believing since we know the outcomes and can rely upon historical recollections of events, cocksure men contemporary of the times must surely have understood the gravity of their actions. It is a rare event when people realize the significance of events as they are occurring. The fact is, in none of the aforementioned situations were the eventual outcomes assured and a close reading of history reveals more often than not, they were the most uncertain of times.
The storied events leading to American independence often hung by the thinnest of threads and the odds were decidedly not in their favor…but these rebellious colonists persevered and beat the odds.
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
These are the words of Thomas Jefferson, signed and agreed by 56 men. 56 ordinary men who extraordinarily changed the course of history.
Having read these words, one may ask why then it is assumed that Americans must now tacitly and passively accept tyranny, even a tyranny vested upon us by the misguided ideology of our own fellow citizens? Why must we accept rule by a government controlled by men who strain credulity in their assault on the most common of senses?
The answer is, of course, that we do not in either circumstance.
The men who shed blood in opposition to true tyranny did so against the weight of a monarchy that commanded the power of an empire. The legacy of these same men is a representative republic, a government bound by the rule of law and the ability to change that government through elective action and the redress of grievances.
It is possible the sound we hear in our minds in our quietest of moments is history issuing its whispering call to we, the ordinary people. Perhaps the cavalry is not coming over the rise to rescue us, perhaps it is already here.
Our history is flush with stories of extraordinary deeds executed by ordinary people, confirming for all eternity that history is not witnessed, history is made.