I could easily be done with those two simple words. They’re worth repeating, though. Thank you.
I know there’s a lot of people out there who say it, but I think I’m the luckiest man on earth. And not just for the standard reasons, but because I’ve been given a great gift in my life.
Yes, the standard things. No, they’re not really “standard” – I’m referring to the types of things that most people who are expressing thanks will mention. For example, on my ninth anniversary with Sarah Beth Rosa last month, I counted myself the luckiest man alive. I certainly am. I’m also thankful for the great friends and family members that I love and who love me unconditionally. I am thankful to have a good roof over my head, and so much more.
But tonight, I’m feeling unusually thankful for things that I don’t always reflect on. And while that’s likely driven by the holiday this week, my gratitude is sincere – and strong.
I’m thankful to be alive – right now.
In an age of growing tyranny, I’m grateful. In a time where the so-called land of the free has a government that spies on you, claims the power to kidnap you, will fine you for not buying something and takes your money to keep failing mega-corporations afloat, I’m thankful.
Living in America means that the government can spy on you, read your emails, and monitor your bank accounts. It will bomb and occupy other countries in your name, lock people up for growing a plant, and treat everyone as guilty until proven innocent for the simple act of having purchased an airline ticket.
But through all this evil, I’m thankful to be here. Now.
You see, there’s no greater time for a lover of liberty to be alive than when liberty is in extreme danger. That time is now.
Samuel Adams was given the gift of being alive at a time when he was needed to rise up against the tyranny of the king. Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Henry David Thoreau were given the gift of resisting and undermining the crimes of slavery.
And today, you and I have been given a gift. We are alive right now when tyranny is advancing faster than it has in a long time. War, mass incarceration, a growing police state and the destruction of the currency. We are lucky to have been given this great opportunity to carry the torch of liberty in its time of maximum danger.
When I’m speaking positively of people standing up to these evils and resisting them locally – I’ll occasionally hear someone talk about how things will never turn around. Even in the face of hearing about local communities resisting federal attacks on due process, or states rejecting federal mandates or bans on plants, they tell me that things are far too gone.
With all the aggressive attacks on liberty that happen every single day, this kind of defeated emotional response is understandable. But every step forward – no matter how small – gives me hope.
Every new individual who comes to the position that they no longer want to support the criminal cabal keeps me pushing harder.
And when I’m feeling crushed by the weight of the empire, or 18-hour workdays, or the setbacks that happen all the time too, a quick read of something written by the late, great Harry Browne always gets me back on track. Here’s the part that gets me:
E.B. White, the author of children’s books, once said (slightly paraphrased), “As long as there is one honest man, as long as there is one upright woman, the future is not hopeless, because the contagion may spread.”
If you’re that honest man or that upright woman, the future isn’t hopeless, because your example may inspire others.
If you speak up when you have the chance – calling into radio shows, writing letters to the editor, participating in Internet forums, just talking with friends or business associates without sacrificing your position – the future isn’t hopeless, because you never know who will hear or read your words.
You may say just the right thing to finally bring around someone who’s close to crossing the line to being active – someone with far more resources, far more talent, far more skills, or far more influence than you have – someone who has the ability to multiply your efforts a hundred or a thousand times over, just because of who that person is.
No, you can’t change America all by yourself. Neither can you do so just by wishing for it.
But you might be the one who inspires one or more people who can make an enormous difference.
Are you that honest man, that upright woman?
If you are, the future is not hopeless.
Thank you, Harry Browne, your words ring true more and more each year.