In 1955, Pete Seeger borrowed or used an Irish melody and the first three verses and published it in Sing Out magazine. Additional verses were added in 1960 by Joel Hickerson, who turned the tune into a circular song. The rhetorical ‘where’ and mediation on the death place the song in the Ubi Sunt tradition. The Kingston Trio recorded “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” in 1961. Peter, Paul, and Mary included it in their eponymous debut album. Marlene Dietrich performed the song in English, French, German, and a host of others. It was used as a protest against the Vietnam War.
The song inspired my thoughts and question, “Where Have All The Patriots Gone?” As I have mused on this, I realize that many believe they are true patriots and, like the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament, believe they are the only ones standing for Freedom. As I muse on the question, I think back to the history of the Revolutionary War and the years following. America needs her patriots to rise and come to the fore defending freedom, not unlike 1776. The only real difference is that we are not fighting an external force but an internal one, making it even more dangerous.
In 1776, the years leading up to the outbreak of war and the subsequent years found many people, men, and women from different walks of life, stepping up and risking their all to secure freedom and maintain it. In modern America, too often, we are only willing to fight for our particular pet peeves and causes rather than Freedom for All. That is why I ask, “Where Have All The Patriots Gone?” If Freedom is not free for everyone, then no one is truly free. Inalienable Rights are for everyone, not just the select of the elect.
The original thirteen colonies declared themselves an independent country by issuing the Declaration of Independence. When those men and the citizens of those colonies signed on to the cause, they were putting their freedom on the line and their lives. They risked everything to fight for freedom. They knew that their fight was against seemingly insurmountable odds, and many in the clergy boldly declared that they could only succeed with the help of God. They deemed the cause just and righteous and believed that the Almighty would, through divine providence, help them win. I believe they were right!
The most famous men of the Revolutionary War and those laboring to write the Declaration of Independence and hammer out a compromise to produce our system of Government explained in the Constitution were patriots. They knew they were still at risk even after securing a Peace Treaty with Great Britain. They understood that their struggle would not be one battle or one effort but likely a lifetime of labor to secure and maintain the republic. As I look at today, I have to ask, “Where Have All The Patriots Gone?”
I am a Vietnam Veteran. I proudly served in the U.S. Military and would do so again without hesitation to fight for freedom. I won’t argue the righteousness of the Vietnam War, but I will argue for patriotism. I believe that America was founded with the hope that she would be a light shining into the darkness of despotism and reveal that freedom could be realized. I believe America became the great nation it has been because of the providence of God and the justness of our original cause. Have we deviated from that over the years? How could I say that we have not, with the mountain of evidence to the contrary?
How did we devolve into the condition that we now find ourselves in? We did it because we slowly evolved to the place where we became so individualistic and self-focused that we opted to cease the required investment of patriotism. I do not call it patriotism to simply go to the polls and vote. I believe that a true patriot places their hand on the plow and invests in ensuring that politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and all political entities honor and follow the constitution. We abdicated our constitutional responsibility and opted to allow the politicians to handle the politics.
The founders believed that any restraint, regardless of how seemingly benign, would create a domino effect that would be impossible to avert. They sounded the alarm prophetically and pleaded with posterity to remain diligent and give careful oversight to those charged with leading the country. We failed on virtually every front, and thus we find ourselves in the clutches of the nefarious deviants who want to fundamentally transform America into something other than the Constitutional Republic we were given. That demands the question, “Where Have All The Patriots Gone?”
When more people care about what the Kardashians are doing, the lives of celebrities, sports, and what others think of them than they do about the nation’s state, we cannot claim to be patriotic. When we become non-thinkers and drink the Kool-Aid of the politicians and activists, we become a nation devoid of patriots.
Ronald Reagan said succinctly, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States, where men were free.”
Some of the causes for the quest to secure Independence from Great Britain were as simple as the Sugar Act (1764), the Stamp Act (1765), and the Townshend Acts (1767). The infringement upon the colonist’s ability to live free without the overreach of the Crown grew almost daily. The financial intrusion through taxation without representation weighed heavily on the colonists. The fear of infringement upon religious liberties and the growing censorship were causes for the rise of the patriots and the unification of ideologies for a common cause. Where is that today?
When conservatives not only fight the toxic liberal agenda but wage war on each other, we open the door for sectarianism, not patriotism. A true patriot fights for what they want and for the best good of all and the republic.
Congress and our federal bureaucracy are out of control and must be reined in if America is to remain free. We have made so many mistakes and taken misguided pathways that we may be too far down the path to destruction to recover. The domino effect is in effect, and only the True Patriots can stop it. It may cost us everything, and some of us may be killed or incarcerated if we continue to speak up and speak out, but somebody has to stand in the Gap and make up the Hedge. Congress no longer listens to the people; it is time for the people to get their attention.
I am not suggesting armed resistance, but unified, concerted, and continual pressure be applied to every politician in Washington, every state house, and every local municipality. We must demand what we can rightfully demand that they follow the Rule of Law and the Constitution. We can no longer let politicians handle politics. They have acted like an irresponsible teenager who found the liquor bottle and car keys. They are a danger to themselves and the republic. Patriots, it is time to Arise!
We need a unified, organized effort to primary all the politicians who have demonstrated a willingness to ignore the constitution. We need to have an organized effort to overwhelm the switchboard of Washington. We need to fill their inboxes with emails and texts so they cannot ignore our presence. If they do, then we must, without fail, defeat them at the polls. That will also require us to participate in the ballot counting and electoral process. How do we do that? I am not sure, but I am working on it and will work with those seeking to resurrect patriotism in America!
God bless you, and God bless America!