Patrick Henry and Judging the Future

I suppose it’s not cool to blog about politics, except that’s exactly what I am about to do.  I’ve been reading and reading and listening and listening, and I think it’s time I actually said something.

Every year, the juniors in the great state of Indiana study our founding fathers in both English and history.   Every year they whine because English is NOT history, or so they say.  Yet our founding fathers wrote in English, of course, which in my mind makes them worthy of study in an English class.    I hope my students, who harass me unmercifully because, when they ask me who I am going to vote for and I tell them John McCain, learn something from what the founding fathers wrote before they vote themselves.

To them, you see, the issue is the war in Iraq.  I can sympathize.  I graduated from high school in 1973, and Vietnam was a BIG issue.  As I tell the kids, though, it is not the only issue, and regardless of what either McCain or Obama promise about the war, nothing is going to happen very quickly anyway.   There are other issues that matter to me more, the primary one being sanctity of life.  The kids in my classes are, as a whole, very pro-life, at least when it comes to abortion, so why the fact that Mr. Obama is very definitely NOT doesn’t matter to them is sort of beyond me.  They’re young, I know.  But they’re smarter than that.  They are too smart to be swayed by campaign promises.

Which brings me to Patrick Henry’s Speech to the Virginia Convention.  Henry wanted independence from England, but his view was definitely not the popular one.  This is part of what he had to say:

...it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts…

It is natural to listen to the presidential candidates as they make promises they know we want to hear.  Lower taxes.  Better health care.  No more sending our sons and our daughters to war.  Lower gas prices.  Those are things that anyone in their right mind would want.  We are used to a life of abundance here in the United States.  Why should we get used to anything else?  Why shouldn’t we hope?

At the time that Henry wrote his speech, our nation was small, but it seems to me that many of the complaints the colonists had against England were complaints that we have against our government, our BIG government, now.  We are being taxed to death, or so we say, like they were.  No one cared about the little people then.  Government took place from afar and was managed by the privileged.

Are things really so much different now?  Or has the government in Washington become so big that the people with the most money behind them are the ones who get to run it, regardless of what the voters have to say?  Did they listen when we contacted them to voice our outrage against the bail-out?  I think not; one has only to look at the pork-barrel spending that was added on to that legislation to see that government, not the people, was what counted.

And what about Obama’s idea of “sharing the wealth?”  I’m sorry; that does sound like socialism to me.  This country was founded on the idea that if you worked hard, you could get ahead.  Why would we get rid of that ideal?  I personally am against ideas that sound like socialism for a lot of reasons, one of them being socialized medicine.  Our doctor in Ohio came to the U.S. from Canada because, he said, he was tired of watching people die while they waited for health care.  According to our doctor, the wait times for procedures that are considered standard in the U.S. are outrageous in Canada.  According to this source, the average wait time for an MRI in Canada or the UK can be months or years.  That doesn’t seem like a lot when you’re healthy, but if it affected you or a loved one?  What would you think then?    Or do you think about campaign promises at all?

Patrick Henry talked about knowing the issues and not blindly following what others say.  After he talked about listening to the sound of the siren (which is what campaign promises tend to be, regardless of the person to whom they belong), he went on to say:

Is this [listening to the song of the siren] the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal [earthly] salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

So how, exactly, is the common man to find the whole truth?  You have to be discerning as you listen to speeches, debates and newscasts, but there’s more.  Again, according to Patrick Henry:

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.

If I do that, Mr. Obama’s record does not please me.  Senator Obama said that the question of when life begins is above his pay grade.  Fine.  He can think that.  But since he’s pro-choice, and his views would allow abortion to continue because he doesn’t know when life begins, what about when life ends?  As I age, I wonder about the euthanasia that is allowed in Europe.  Will it come to our county?  We have, after all, started citing European law as the basis for some court decisions.  And if euthanasia does come, why?  Is it because, by allowing abortion, we have blurred the line about what is life and what it is not, preferring instead to talk about quality of life as long as, you know, it isn’t the quality of your life or that of someone you love?

Let’s go back to what Patrick Henry said, that he knew of no better way to judge the future than the past.  Mr. Obama has consistently voted pro-abortion, even denying babies who are born alive after an abortion  pallative care.   Is that humane?  And if he can be inhumane in that respect, where will his values lead us as a nation?

Judging Senator Obama by his past, on Election Day I will vote for McCain, not because I agree with everything he says, but because his values, at the bare minimum, agree with mine.  He values life, and that’s a good starting place, I think, for a president to have as he makes decisions for our nation.

What will I tell the kids at school as they harass me for my standards?  I will tell them to actually listen to the issues.  I will tell them to think about their future.  I will tell them to take their responsibility as voters seriously.  I will tell them that the future of our nation will be affected by our next president, the one they’re helping to elect.  I will tell them to vote.  I will tell them I will vote.

And then, I will pray.

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2 Responses to “Patrick Henry and Judging the Future”


  1. 1 Carol October 23, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Yes! Pray! And then pray some more. I really believe God when He says He is in authority over all kings and rulers and principalities…(and presidents)! I can see His plan unfolding before my very eyes. I just wish the worldly ones could see it, too.

    Dang! But they’re blind.

  2. 2 Sally October 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    I am pro-life, and I vote! I have some awards for you.


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