Jane and I often say that our commenters are among the best, if not the best, in the blogosphere. We truly are blessed, and this is an excellent example:
Because we love what this country of ours is meant to represent in its principles and ideals (even though we have often fallen way, way short of them), we have a solemn duty to fight our hearts out. A SOLEMN DUTY. We need the kind of soul-searing commitment that says we will fight even if we don't know if we will succeed or can succeed. We'll fight because it is right, and because we owe it to ourselves, to future generations, and to the memory of our founders and those who fought to preserve the Union and those who gave their lives for the right to vote or the right to strike.
Although we must always see to it that we are working most efficiently toward our goals, we cannot TIE our fight to the measurement of immediate or short-term success. A line keeps going through my head, even though I don't remember if it's a quote from a historical figure, a religious figure, or a political figure: "to fight and not count the cost."
Our freedom, our precious civil liberties, our Constitution must be so sacred to us that we will fight to rescue them no matter how hopeless it might appear at any given moment. In such a struggle as we have here, we are BOUND to have moments of darkness, discouragement, a teetering on the edge of despair, but we must NOT give in to these emotions.
We should study examples here in our own history and all around the globe to get a renewed spiritual sense of how precious justice and civil liberties are, and what sort of nightmarish evils and struggles people have endured to secure their rights. Just think of Jim Crow, of the horribly impoverished but relentless dissenters in South Africa from townships like Soweto -- and what must it have been like for Nelson Mandela to have been in prison for so long? MLK's "Letters from a Birmingham Jail" are good to read, and the biography of Gandhi, and the story of those who have worked tirelessly for reconciliation in Rowanda and other war-torn areas. There are so many examples of people who have had nightmarish experiences in their battle for justice, and who haven't given up.
Expressing disappointment and looking for community support is sometimes essential and can be nourishing and healing to the soul. But we must never let ourselves succumb to discouragement, ultimately.
If ever there were a time for all of us to get involved, work our butts off on the 2006 elections, speak out and stand up and be counted, it is now. These are the times that try men's souls...but real men and women get up off their butts and do the work necessary to make things better. Let's get to work.
(Image via Pixeldiva. Some gorgeous photography here -- do browse. Some available for purchase, and well worth it for the crisp black and white imagery. Well done.)