Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Friday, November 11, 2016

A tide in the affairs of men

In Act IV, Scene 3 of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, there is a dialogue between Brutus and Cassius about whether to attack or defend.  The safe course is to defend and cause the enemy to expend his forces in greater number than the defender.

But the only chance of victory is to advance when everything is in place.  The only chance of achieving great things is not to hesitate when the time is right.  This did not work out for either of the two men conversing in the play or on the actual plains near Philippi.

Octavian, better known in the Christian world as Caesar Augustus, would be the ultimate winner of the 4 men contending to succeed Julius Caesar as Emperor of Rome.  But consider now the words of Brutus as penned by Shakespeare before the battle near Philippi.

Under your pardon. You must note beside,
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe.
The enemy increaseth every day.
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures.

The cause failed.  Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius, then Octavian subsequently defeated Antony.  Causes fail, battles are lost, men die.

But how many have died never trying?  How many people go to their graves having never given a great cause a chance.

Today, we are on the verge of taking a chance.  We have a new president elect.  We have the current establishment pledged to a professional transition.  We have the best opportunity that this nation has had in many decades to bring back what I can only characterize as the pioneer spirit.

We as a nation once had a hardiness to us.  We expected struggles in our lives.  We sought to overcome them.  We moved west to conquer the wilderness.

Now so many seek to see what they can get for nothing.  They pour out vitriol online.  They demonize those who oppose them, which we understand somewhat in the middle of the fight; but now that this round is over, it is time to heal, support the victor for a time, and accomplish what can be done in a political system not designed for efficiency but to make difficult the accumulation of power in a single man or group.

But there is a tide in the affairs of men when things must be accomplished for inaction surrenders to mediocrity.

There is a tide in the affairs of men and high tide is almost here.  Our elected officials who have done little but demean the offices to which they were elected to serve the people, must set aside pettiness and do the work of a statesman.  They must serve those who sent them to represent us all.  They must reject personal interest and embrace the attitude of a servant.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.  Get the protests and bickering out of your system now.  Embrace that change has come.  Consider that most democracies do not survive beyond 200 years.  Understand that the republican nature of our democratic desires keeps us afloat beyond the historical model.  But know that our liberty and our hope diminish in continued acrimony. 

There is a tide in the affairs of men.  It is time to move beyond our state of divisiveness to a time of unity and action. 

To all who have been elected to serve, now is the time to truly serve your nation.  Put aside selfish differences and do what is best for America.  Your children’s children have placed their futures in your hands.

Be faithful to God and this fantastic idea that we know as America.  Do not hesitate to do the right things for this is the right time.

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