They tell us, sir, that we are weak…But when shall we be stronger?…Will it be when we are totally disarmed?…We are not weak, if we make proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775
This speech, delivered to the Virginia legislature, is mainly known for the “Give me liberty or give me death” line. As it should, this line has lived down the ages. However this speech is also chock full of nuggets that, for my money, makes it one of mankind’s best speeches, 1,213 words that are as relevant to our human experience now as they were in those exciting, tumultuous times.
(Libertarians in the audience may well have seen our friend Jim Burns reenact Henry’s speech over the years.)
Today’s quote is one of those nuggets. A lot of us tend to think we cannot make a difference in our government, that we’re just one person, that we are in the power of those we’ve elected. We shrug and blame the incumbents, the media and lobbyists, but when push comes to shove none of them fill out our ballots for us.
When shall we be stronger?…
Our American electorate will never be stronger than it is right now. Some tend to think we can’t make a difference in our government, but the truth is we are the only ones who can. Nobody else is going to do it for us. If those we’ve already elected were going to do anything they would’ve done so by now. By continuing with the status quo we are merely spinning our wheels, marking time until we decide to do something.
We are not weak if we make proper use of those means placed in our power.
Our Founding Fathers gave us the power of regular elections. The entire House of Representatives and approximately one-third of the Senate and new president will be elected this year. If demanding and participating Americans vote on Election Day, it can be as exciting and tumultuous as the founding of our republic. If we remain content with the status quo, nothing will change.
Friends, we will always – and always means every single time – get the government we deserve. We deserve better than we have now, and the government we want is there for the taking. We are the only barrier in our way.