Our canine companions — Scout (who’s getting along just dandy on three-and-a-half legs) and Dipstick (who, against all odds, turned seven years old last weekend) — are a joy to have around. Yeah, they require care and feeding, but they return the favor with affection, profound loyalty and endless entertainment.
They also serve as a reliable alarm clock, often waking me at an ungodly hour for their morning business and breakfast. The payoff, thanks to a couple of insistent pups, is that I’ve seen lots of sunrises that otherwise I might’ve slept right through.
At my age, that’s no small thing.
It’s the time of year when nights are longer than days. And when the dogs awakened me this morning, the sun was still well below the horizon — but I was treated to a spectacular display of stars.
It was a brisk 45°F. I silently congratulated myself for the decision to throw on my Buckeye Lake KOA hoodie before the three of us emerged from the bus.
The chill, like the stars arrayed above, made my first cup of coffee taste that much better.
Unlike many conservatives, I don’t idolize Ronald Reagan. I do, however, recognize that as president he was very good for America. And the Reagan I admire most is the private citizen who delivered “A Time for Choosing” in 1964.
A line from that speech has nagged me lately:
“If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”
Intentionally or not, Reagan echoed Abraham Lincoln in 1862:
“We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth.”
The reason I’ve been ruminating on freedom’s “last stand” may surprise you. See, I’ve stopped thinking about it in a broad, super-patriotic sense, as if freedom lives throughout these 50 states, 14 territories and one federal district. Clearly it doesn’t.
The enemies of Liberty have seen to that. They’ve sought to drive freedom to the margins, and to a great extent they’ve succeeded. These progressive, anti-American reimagineers have pushed us toward what Reagan referred to as “the ant heap of totalitarianism,” but they’ve also created what Sarah Palin once called “wonderful little pockets of the real America.”
The borders of the United States of America no longer define “the last stand on Earth.” Certainly they should, and maybe they will again. But these days we have to go looking for Liberty in our own country.
It’s definitely out there. Deb and I found it in our travels. In those places, we felt at home.
Ubi Libertas, ibi Patria.
When I wrote about Palin’s characterization awhile back, I said this:
“Give me a small town, a farming community, rural countryside somewhere in the Heartland — one of those ‘little pockets’ of ‘real America’ suits me just fine.”
And here we are, in just such a place. I sure didn’t see that comin’ two years ago, at least not this soon.
Before America can be “the last stand on Earth,” there must be a place where America itself makes a stand — as someone said to me recently, a “front” in the defense of Liberty. Whenever I stand on The Mountain and look out over the valley, that’s what I see.
As it turns out, that’s why we’re here.
The Ozarks of northern Arkansas isn’t the only pocket of real America, of course. Across the country lovers of Liberty, Patriots, true Americans have gathered and are gathering, answering many different calls. Some are uprooting comfortable lives and don’t know (or can’t put into words) exactly why.
Whether it’s freedom, or faith, or frustration with being punished for holding traditional values, these are the People coming together to make a last stand for America. There’s no place else to escape to.
Put another way: No one is coming. It’s up to us.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.