Thinking the Unthinkable
by Andy Joppa
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
― George Orwell
What follows will not be an advocacy or recommendation. It is a commentary that describes historical events and current situations. If there are conclusions to be reached, I leave that entirely in the hands, and minds, of my readers and their perception of events. If I cross over the line into what appears to be advocacy that will be a derived simply from my presentation of current realities.
There are many seminal moments in American history. We remember these events with pride; a feeling driven by patriotic intensity and the value that was derived. They were defining actions that contributed to our freedom and the fulfillment of American values. Among those more consistently cited are The American Revolutionary War, The American Civil War, World War I and World War II.There are countless other events that could be offered but these four represent much of what can be described as the heart of the American experience.
The American Revolution, resulting in the death of 25,000 Americans, was fought to free our nation from the harsh determinism of Great Britain. In many cases it pitted brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor. All other methods had failed…the battlefield became the only answer. Very few would suggest that this conflict was not worth the investment of human life and its commitment to freedom. The American success in this conflict was the turning point for the entire human community. The history of the world was permanently altered by the success of these new Americans on the battlefields of the former colonies.
The American Civil War, 70 years later, was fought to prevent secession, preserve the union and free slaves from their inhuman bondage. 700,000 deaths were the price we paid to fulfill the intentions of this conflict; once again, pitting brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor. This war was fought when alternatives existed but, because of the necessity of insuring the fulfillment of our national needs, the war plunged ahead with but minimal resistance. Few voices today would offer that the American Civil War was anything less than a commitment to our national values and the need to achieve a unified country. While the incredible loss of life was regretted, it was accepted that the lives were being spent with good cause.
During WWI, it was undoubtedly American entry into the war the insured allied victory and created the unconditional surrender of the German “Huns.” During that war we sacrificed 120,00 American lives to make the world “safe for democracy.” The “dough boys” still stand as an exemplary statement of a nation’s willingness to sacrifice its own citizens for values being achieved on foreign soil. These brave fighting men came home to ticker tape parades and wild adulation. But, they didn’t come home, “Till it was over, over there.”
WWII represented an even greater existential threat. The world was simultaneously being buffeted by two of the most grotesque totalitarian states that had ever existed. The German Reich and Imperial Japan had to be stopped, for there was real potential that the entire planet might fall under their sway. To accomplish that end over 400,000 American lives were given on the altar of human freedom. There were few that resisted this necessary commitment of young lives to accomplish what was a critical end. This was our “greatest generation.”
Within these four grave events we can express much of the defining history of the United States of America. The cliché that violence has never accomplished anything would seem to be put to lie by these moments. It would, perhaps, be closer to reality to suggest that violence has accomplished almost everything; for, the common element in all those events is that they were incredibly violent and sacrificed thousands of lives to a greater purpose. They were also unavoidable and were not desirable…for violence is never desirable…but these events document that violence has proven to be purposeful when it is the only answer to existential questions. This tendency and willingness to accept the necessity of violence seems to be stamped into the DNA of the American culture; certainly, we have never been against the use of violence to achieve or preserve American freedom or to reinforce American values. To coin an often misused phrase… “This is who we are.”
We are now at a pivotal point of American history. Our president is under constant fabricated assault from the political Left. Much of the Washington Beltway is dedicated to the removal of this president from office…through any means that can be manufactured or conjured. By every indication, the leadership of our intelligence and legal agencies are involved with a clandestine process that illegally supports the removal of the president. We are going through what can best be described as a bloodless coup; an illegal removal from office of the duly elected executive, ushering in a new type of government, socialism, not authorized by the Constitution.
Free speech is under assault and the rights of the individual are being trampled under the movement toward collectivism. The sustained existence of America within any of its historical forms is in serious doubt. It must be considered that we are experiencing collective acts of treason, as the legitimate government of this country is being attacked by proponents of a foreign power…that is, international socialism. A case can be made that the threat to America is today far greater than it was at the time of any of the four events I described.
Once again…I have no advocacy…particularly for violence. Violence is like fire…incredibly destructive…but incredibly valuable when chosen appropriately and out of necessity. I have merely presented meaningful moments from our history…all resolved through violence…and the current state of our American republic. The republic is in far greater danger than within any prior moment, when arms were picked up to resolve problems that appeared irresolvable by any other means.
We are certainly in a figurative war for the very nature of America and the question is asked, “What should we do?” I leave that answer to my readers…to their wisdom…and, eventually, to their courage. Regardless of what any decide…it cannot be suggested that violence has never accomplished anything. That cliché is not only useless…it is dangerous. Violence has been the tool that built America. If it’s off the table, it creates a clear path for the destruction of America.
We are in the moment that the founders knew might occur…our right to bear arms was primarily the right, and obligation, to resist the oppression that