The Thought for the Day – Patrick Henry

It is natural for man to indulge in the illusion of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth… – Patrick Henry, speech to Virginia Legislature, 3/23/1775

Patrick Henry was an American patriot, an attorney and planter who was also the first and sixth governor of Virginia. The above speech is most famous for the line “give me liberty or give me death” but a reading of the whole thing would benefit anyone. Henry was opposed to the Constitution, fearing it would result in a monarchy and infringe on states rights. Later, Henry would be instrumental in getting the Bill of Rights adopted. He died in 1799, after 63 useful years.

It is natural for man to indulge in the illusion of hope…

It’s human nature to hope. Individually, all of us hope to make something of ourselves and build a good life for our families. Hope is the lifeblood of our human experience and without it, there isn’t much point of getting up in the morning.  

Collectively, we continue to hope that reelecting the status quo will result in a change in how we are governed. Every two years we elect the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate and every four years we elect a president. Every time we do this we expect something different.

We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…

The painful truth is we have yet to receive something different. Our government continues to be partisan, bickering and fractured, utterly unable to get anything of substance done.

Part of this is human nature, too because it is entirely human to stick with the familiar, even when it is not serving us well, so it is not completely surprising we keep electing the status quo. We’re human and most of us prefer the status quo.

We deserve better, of course, and this is human nature as well, wanting to improve our lot. Not until we decide to buck human nature at the ballot box – not until we’ve decided we’ve had enough of the familiar – will we have a government and a country we can be proud of again.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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