I remember my first visit to Washington D.C. many years ago as a child and I can recall the immense respect, sentimentality and nostalgia I felt visiting the National Mall, the Memorials and Monuments and the halls of power. It was a humbling experience then to consider all the brave men and women who founded our nation and the brave men and women who continued to make tough decisions and sacrifices in the defense of freedom.
Recently though I was in D.C. again to speak at a gathering organized by the Young America's Foundation, and as I was strolling the city preparing my mind for what I was going to speak on, I was astounded by how uninterested I was in the goings on at the White House and the Capitol Building.
In fact, there was a moment when I caught myself being more fascinated by the geese on the White House lawn. I guess I've become old and jaded and irritated and angry enough to where I can no longer look at things with the same awe and respect that I used to.
During my stroll, I saw a police officer on horseback and for a moment I imagined riding his horse and roping some politicians. A politician rodeo.
Courageous Virtue for My Fellow Outlaws
The speech I gave that day last summer was entitled Courageous Virtue for My Fellow Outlaws, and in this city that is the center of power for the most powerful and most free country in the history of the world, I was reminded that I'm a bit of an outlaw - and you might be, too.
Upon entering the city, it would be unlawful for me to practice my 2nd Amendment rights. It would be very difficult to actually obtain a concealed carry permit in our nation's capital, even though I could walk a few hundred yards to read the document for myself that clearly states: "The right to bear arms shall not be infringed."
And in this city, where devout Christian men and women established a nation built on Biblical principles and ethics, the government is increasingly building cases against the free exercise of religion and the daily practice of religious beliefs.
And this all has taken place because of the misinterpretation and misapplication of a part of a letter from an explanatory section that was taken out of context and used to restrict mostly Christian practice.
Now it's becoming increasingly unlawful to be brave and to live in reality. Saying that "a man cannot become a woman" can cause people to have their lives and careers destroyed.
Now, because cowardice and dishonesty have hijacked our government and our media, each individual gets to decide what reality is and they get to impose that self-defined reality on everyone else. The weirder their reality, the more insistent they are that others acknowledge and celebrate their new gender, sexual preference, or any other personal life decision or proclivity they've pursued. Sadly this is harmful for us, it's ultimately harmful for them and their families, and it's harmful for the culture of America.
Cowardice and Courage Are Both Contagious
They talk about love and they refer to our values as hate filled, but it's quite the opposite.
We love God, we love others and we love our country, and love doesn't stay silent in the face of deadly lies or a culture being built on those lies. In the end, everyone in that culture will suffer, including those who propagate those lies.
And while I admit that confronting such a culture of lies can be a scary proposition, what's also scary is just how contagious and insidious cowardice can become if it's allowed to take territory in our lives.
But courage is also contagious. And while it could cost you something personally and you could lose friends, connections to family members or career opportunities and jobs, there comes a point when you have to draw the line and say, "No more. I'm not being bullied anymore. I'm going to speak the truth plainly, even if people disagree with it, even if it hurts their delicate, fragile, pathetic feelings. If your feelings are so easily injured, then you need to toughen up. You need to get stronger."
Our culture is growing weaker by the hour because people think they should be able to bubble wrap themselves inside the cocoons of the ideas they like so that they don't have to face a world that confronts them with who they are–weak, a bit delusional, and very vulnerable.
Aren't we all?
But we're strengthened when we're confronted with ideas we don't agree with. It helps us understand what we believe even that much more deeply.
Our time of not needing to stand up and speak up seems to be expiring. It's time for strength and courage to rise again because I think freedom is under attack in an unprecedented way. Things are changing really, really quickly and we seem to be right on track with how the mighty empires decline and fall.
The decay was slow for decades, but now it's speeding up like a flywheel. All of a sudden, it all starts breaking loose in very quick cataclysmic ways.
If we would like to stay free, Warrior Poets, we're going to have to speak with courage to defend our convictions. There may be personal costs we have to pay because we can't keep expecting some other hero of conservatism or libertarianism to champion your ideals and do it for you. It starts from the ground up, grassroots.
That's where freedom was born, and that's where it'll be safeguarded.
I'm reminded of Lord of the Rings, Frodo settling into his home in the comfort of the Shire, then suddenly thrust into the decision–to stay home or journey toward Mordor. That comfort would have come at the cost of everything that matters.
Train hard. Train smart. Stay free.