on Watchmen

“We in this country, in this generation, are by destiny rather than choice the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, good will toward men. That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain”. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), from a speech he was supposed to give at the Trade Mart in Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963. He never gave it, as he was assassinated on the way there. The Biblical reference he makes is from Psalm 127:1

I have a friend of mine that took a second job as the night watchman at a manufacturing company. His responsibility was to ensure that nothing was stolen or destroyed while the company owners and employees were home with their families during the darkness of night.  It was a lonely job, which meant more time away from his own family, but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make in order to better provide for the future of his children.

Like my friend, we too are tasked with to be the watchmen of liberty, and protect the future of our country. Yet, so many have left their post, either in in pursuit of, or distracted by, other things. Those that remain at the gate guarding our Republic are either those that are less than honorable, or a mere faithful few that are quickly overrun by the darkness of the night. How can we hope to have honorable watchmen at the gate if we either refuse to support those that already are, or even better, join them there in order to give them rest from the continuing battle? Shall we really be all that surprised that politics is a dirty nasty business if good, honorable people refuse to enter the fray? Or blame those that fall away when we refuse to help lift them up? How long will the castle of our Republic remain standing if no one is at its gate, or worse, those that we allow to remain are complicit in its destruction?

I know that people are busy. We all have jobs, children’s activities, family responsibilities and burdens that demand our attention and draw us away from guarding the gate of liberty. However, we delude ourselves in thinking that there will always be someone there to make sure that our future is secure, that we will always have the freedom to speak, do and live in the way that we want. One look at the status of our government shows us that this is not the case. Ignoring the problem has made it worse, and we no longer have the luxury of time or blissful ignorance.  If we want to leave a legacy of debt and burdensome government control over the lives of our children, then just continue to do nothing. Sacrifice nothing. Question nothing. But if we want to leave a future of freedom and prosperity to our children, then we all must get involved beyond just going to the polls (by then we are often merely choosing between the lesser of two evils). We must get comfortable researching legislation, reading school rules and curriculum, reviewing city ordinances, and contacting our elected officials with our opinions. We must be willing to miss a few sports games in order to attend local council & school board meetings, and go to state public forums so that we are aware of what these taxpayer funded entities are doing. We must start attending caucuses, becoming delegates or running for office so we have an influence at the beginning on those government decisions that will affect our future. We must explain to our children why it is important that good, honorable people be involved in politics, and that it is for their future that we sacrifice our present.

We need more watchmen at the gate to protect the castle of our Republic. The darkness of the night is overwhelming even the remaining faithful ones, who are by now weary of standing alone. Does this mean that we will be inconvenienced, sacrificing time, money, some sleep, and even getting our hands dirty? Probably. But then again, that’s what usually happens when you clean a house.


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