No. 1244



Did you hear about the most optimistic man in the world? He is the man who went down to the court house to see if his marriage license had expired. Now, I am highly optimistic but probably not that optimistic.
The reason I share this is because, like many of my readers, I am wondering how long our nation can survive if we don’t get our act together in Washington, D.C., with our current crop of politicians. Here is what Abraham Lincoln said to warn us back in the days of the Civil War. He stated that, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Like you, I love our country and want to do everything I can to preserve the wonderful life and the freedoms we have here. When I look at what is happening on the national level I ask myself: how on earth did we get to this place, where there is so much rancor and bitterness? This is especially true when we stop to consider the courage our forefathers had and used to win our freedom. If you have young people living under your roof, please share this with them, as it’s their future we are talking about. Most young people in our country today probably do not know what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. It’s a heart-wrenching saga, to be sure.
Here is the true story: Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. You may ask what kind of men were they? Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners – they were men of means and well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted that the British Gen. Charles Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged Gen. George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
But wait, there is more. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside and she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
The kind of people I hope we elect in the future are patriots, who put their country before their party. We must do that if we want to save our country. To be sure, this will require courage.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)