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I'm the author of The Liberty Pole. I dabble a bit in blogging and have a fascination with early American history (late 18th century) as well as WWII. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Cliff

Bear with me a moment as I describe the scene. You're walking up a steep incline. The kind that never seems to end. It just keeps going up and up and your breathing gets harder and harder. You feel like you're giving it your all but it just isn't good enough anymore. It used to be. There was a day that when you worked hard you covered ground. Maybe not as much as some, but certainly more than others. You were proud if the ground you covered and heaven help you you will not stop until you crest that hill.

And then you do. There's the open sky and the breeze. Oh. And that enormous plummet should you take another step. It goes down so far that you can't quite see the bottom.

You're tired. You just climbed the hill of your life and all you have to show for it is a drop to destruction. You look around.

A man approaches. He is all smiles and good hearted laugh. You recognize him as a man you've seen before. When you'd asked for directions back to level land he had pointed you to this steep incline. He doesn't seem to notice how hard you're breathing or how hard you've worked, and you wonder if he even recognizes you. 'What's the matter, friend?' he asks with that smile when he can't seem to shake your gaze.

Well, he called you friend, so he can't be all that bad. 'I've spent my whole life climbing,' you say, 'and when I asked you for directions you pointed me here! This is a cliff. I can't go anywhere else.'

'Thats not a cliff,' he says.

You look again. Maybe you were mistaken. After all the words are said so easily they must be the truth. 'It looks like a cliff to me,' you say carefully, peering over the edge.You don't want to sound ignorant.

'But it's not.'

'Then what is it?'

'You'll have to jump and find out, but let me be very clear: that is not a cliff.'

You've never heard someone speak with such conviction before, so you decide he must be right. Just as you're stepping towards the edge you hear an other voice call out to you.

'What are you doing? Don't jump off the cliff!'

'But it's not a cliff,' you tell the newcomer. You motion to the first man as you speak. 'He said its not.'

The second man shakes his head. 'That is a cliff you're about to jump off of. Listen, others have tried it. It never works. It always ends in falling.'

'But it's not a cliff. This good person won't fall,' the first man argues.

'That is most certainly a cliff,' the other says. 'You can call it what you want, but a cliff is a cliff and you'll fall any way you look at it if you keep going that direction.'

Now you take a breath and watch the men argue. The first says that he directed you this way, and  if you would just go a little further everything would be okay. The second says no, that can only end in disaster. He knows another way - he points to the path to the side that may slowly lead to level ground. At least it's not a sharp fall - and says that you should go that way. After all you have tried the first mans approach and it did not work. It only led you to the edge of a cliff.

They continue to argue back and forth until finally the turn to you. 'It's your decision,' they say. 'Which way will you go?'

Which way will we go, America? It's time to decide if the man that pushed us toward the edge of the financial cliff is the man to tell us which way to go. Should we close our eyes, step out, and essentially jump, or is it time to choose a new direction?

 Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of...On you depend the fortunes of America.  You are to decide the important questions upon which rests the happiness and the liberty of millions yet unborn.  Act worthy of yourselves. ~ Dr. Joseph Warren, Patriot and American Revolution hero