By Robert Harkins
In response to constitutionally protected protest, the O’bama Administration has flung vicious epithets against Americans, in which we are accused, more or less, of being an ignorant rabble. I accept this last with pride because our heritage finds its roots in a long line of American Rabble, who in the sacrifice of blood and treasure, have bequeathed a Constitution and a really rebellious attitude toward those who would trample its principles. Here’s a story of one “Great American Rabble.”
On June 17th 1775 the American Continental Army gathers at Bunker Hill, on the Charlestown Peninsula, just north of the Boston Harbor. America’s first soldiers do not think of themselves as great, nor do they foresee that in the shedding of their blood that June day, they would begin the birthing of a nation. They are just 1500 men more or less, not soldiers, but tillers of the earth, butchers and bakers, fishermen, and shopkeepers, undisciplined in the strategies of war, but men brave and fearful gathered to engage the scarlet might of 2400 perfectly disciplined and equipped British Grenadiers.
This Continental Army is a ragged bunch. The men are without uniforms. They wear course cotton breaches, mended boots scuffed and cracked from working stony New England farms but for all this they reveal a martial grace. These are men not to be trifled with; they are men seasoned by sacrifice and hard work, fear, courage and grievous loss, men made strong by faith. They carry muskets used mostly to put food on the table. They own a few bayonets.
The night before battle they build strong fortifications, load their muskets, get down in the dirt, think of the battle to come, pray to their God, and with Him, wait for the dawn. They are afraid but they feel a righteous anger at this foreign trespass. Finally, with a deadly grace, they draw down their muskets upon the neat lines of British troops that begin to appear in the morning light.
The British are not generous in their admiration of this rabble. They scoff at their crude barricades and shabby discipline. This American rabble will not hold against a single charge. We will inter their bone in the black and rocky soil of this hill. It will avail them nothing but widows’ tears that for freedom’s sake they have the gall to defy, with a handful of muskets and a few rusty swords, the will of their sovereign king and the Englishmen who have taken the King’s Shilling.
Well then enough. Attack. The grenadiers march up Bunker Hill. The drummer boy beats a somber tattoo. But what is this outrage? This rabble will not move, will not run. Instead, they draw a deadly bead upon the crossed white straps set against British chests and trigger a lethal fire. The grenadiers cut down, retreat, charge again and are again cut down until at last their proud tricorne hat, bearskin caps and their broken bodies are strewn in carnage upon the grassy hill. The British take Bunker Hill on the third charge. The Americans, out of ammunition, make an orderly retreat. They will fight again.
And so now, those who forget, deny, defame or revise American history say that we Americans are weak, bled out and hopelessly religious. They say of us that we are heirs to an American creed that speaks naïvely of individual liberty, justice, and equality; that our Constitution is more a cultural relic than the blue print of a Republic. They say of us that all human suffering and inequity finds its first cause in American arrogance.
Are the accusations made against us true? Is it true that we are no longer a one and alloyed people, that we have become a collage of multicultural tribes motivated not by an American Creed, but by a desire for tribal privilege, money, power and toxic pleasures?Are we then a people who have cast aside the idea of moral and rational excellence, a people who now assert that truth is relative and the rational mind a myth, that religion is an archaic and superstitious impediment to Darwinian and Progressive wisdom, and the practice of virtue a corrupt construct of bankrupt philosophies? Are we as we stand accused, a broken nation; are we a people without a creed?
Or is it time now for Americans to reject apologies and those who, against our will, claim the right to apologize in our place? Should we instead remind Islamic nations that we have sacrificed blood and treasure to save Muslim lives; and Europeans, that an American army under Black Jack Pershing saved Europe from German fascism in World War I; that Americans who stormed the beaches at Normandy saved Europe again, this time from Hitler’s murderous National Socialism, even as Americans liberated Italy from the grip of Mussolini’s fascist state?
Should we remind all nations that Americans prevailed in a Cold War that caused the implosion of a Soviet Union, a nation of gulags and secret police, a totalitarian ruin run by Joseph Stalin, a killer who starved to death, or ordered the execution of millions of his Russian people?
And is it time to remind the nations of Europe that even now, we have pledged American power, blood and treasure to the guarantee of European sovereignty against an ascendant and still dangerous Soviet Confederation? We may well ask, where is the gratitude for the freedoms we Americans have won for them?
This I believe. We should not apologize to anyone. We should instead recall our history. We have written a Constitution. We have created a Republic. We live in an America that is still the destination of people who make good their escape from gulags, some, built by the very nations to whom we Americans have apologized for being the rabble that we are.
Nothing is lost. The courage of our ancestors is still in us so long as we revere our history, traditions philosophical and religious and the American Constitution. A rabble we may be but we are a free and passionate rabble. We still hold true to an American Creed. We are not broken. We will not break.
What do you think?