Tags: 2020 Elections | wisdom | Traugott | ThomasPaine | Longfellow

The Words That Still Speak to Us Over the Ages

The Words That Still Speak to Us Over the Ages
Thomas Paine (Dreamstime)

By Monday, 21 December 2020 11:39 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Perhaps there has not been a time since the world was at war that we have had the need to universally stop and reflect on the human condition, and more important, our nation's shared future going forward.

It would serve America well for all of us, regardless of faith or belief, to consider the powerful message offered in a sermon over 60 years ago when the Rev. J.H. Traugott reminded his audience, "For it has been said that Jesus Christ did not come to make life easy, but rather to make men great."

This religious leader was framing the basic principles by which we are to respect and assist others. He explained, "His (purpose) in life was not "what can I get out of Life, but what can I give to life ... not how comfortable can I be, but rather how comfortable can I make others … not in helping myself but how can I help others…"

(The full text of his sermon is here.)

We have been through a bruising political cycle at a time of an historic pandemic that has created misery and havoc on every level of our society. We are faced with enemies who use cyber weapons against our most important institutions while others are confident a runaway pandemic of curious origin will be sufficient to unravel our democracy.

Now, with the holidays upon us, and a new year within reach, we look for inspiration that will affirm the innate greatness of our nation and its citizens. We need not look further than the words penned by one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine. During one of the lowest points of the Revolution in December 1776, he wrote,

"These are the times that try men's souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

Washington had Paine's inspiring words read to his dispirited troops whose morale rose and their resolve stiffened after hearing Paine's essay. The rest, if one can borrow a phrase, "is history."

Other Americans have also stared down adversity, offering the strength of their words to inspire. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote "The Ship of State" and his words still speak to us (excerpts) …

"Sail on, O Ship of State!, Sail on, O Union, strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate! In spite of false lights on the shore, Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea! Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee, Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, Our faith triumphant o'er our fears, Are all with thee, — are all with thee!"

Longfellow and Paine lived in profoundly different times, but they both looked to America as the beacon of freedom and democracy. At a time when there is much to be fearful of, when there are serious political divisions within our borders, when social media has turned our society upside down, and hostile nations threaten our very existence, I would respectfully suggest one uses these long winter nights to thoughtfully consider the words of Rev. Traugott, Thomas Paine and Longfellow.

They have much to say. And we have need to listen.

Lawrence Kadish is a nation wide developer and investor in commercial and industrial real estate. In the arena of foreign policy Mr. Kadish is on the Board of Governors of Gatestone Institute, has served as a senior advisor to Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT), and is a founding chairman of the Committee for Security and Peace in the Middle East. Mr. Kadish has also been a sponsor of strategic analysis of terrorism that cautioned on the eve of September 11th that radical Islamic fundamentalism was threatening our nation. He has served as a prior delegate to National Republican Conventions. He is founder and president of the Museum of American Armor, recognized as a dynamic tribute to our American veterans and a compelling education center. Read Lawrence Kadish's Reports — More Here.

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Now, with the holidays upon us, and a new year within reach, we look for inspiration that will affirm the innate greatness of our nation and its citizens.
wisdom, Traugott, ThomasPaine, Longfellow
Monday, 21 December 2020 11:39 AM
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