Understand and Defend Optimism
Some say – 2020 was bad, 2021 looks worse.
Perhaps. They call themselves realists. But let us not be defeatists.
From fiery beginnings through WWII’s hardest-bitten battles, defeating infiltrators to derailing socialism (on multiple occasions), America has rallied whenever freedom is at risk. In the end, optimism is what turns the dial, takes the next hill, changes everything. Keep it.
Yes, power-hungry socialists have managed to commandeer the Democrat Party, now hollow, haughty and dangerous. That is bad, sad and needs reversal. Yes, China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are looming, existential threats. Their influence must be contained, then rolled back. Yes, ignorance – and misleading media – stalk the land.
Moral leadership is needed. Okay, and?
Take a page from history. Note in parallel situations, determination powered by understanding and undeterred confidence is the deciding force. Battles are won not at the outset, not midway, seldom at fringes but in a final, unmitigated drive – empowered by a belief in victory.
When I served as Assistant Secretary of State, running a $2 billion operational bureau, my charge was to set up police training in Iraq and Afghanistan – and operationalize (or help support) rule of law in 70 countries. We succeeded more than failed, even facing threats, backsteps, foreign doubters, domestic detractors, public corruption and fear. It can be done.
With a glance back – to empower current thinking – consider where we are. What we confront in 2021 is a battle of ideas.
We have the ones that work – and the power of history, liberty, prosperity, and common sense on our side. Self-determination, rule of law, capitalism lift people.
Concentrated power never does.
So, sit up with me. This is not WWII, even
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By Robert B. Charles ROBERT CHARLES (cont.)
WWI, never mind Civil War or American Revolution. Yes, liberties are at risk, but we have more tools, popular following, political leverage – not to mention fresh determination – than ever before.
Tough times hit free countries. When they do, free citizens must speak for freedom, meet emotion with fact. That is democracy. Getting spun up and discouraged undermines cohesion, commitment, and victory. We cannot afford that.
So, we live in challenging times. The socialist monster is afoot again – as in the 1930s, 1950s, 1960?s, even 1970s if you count Black Panthers, Weather Underground, Black Liberation Movement and socialist, communist offshoots. Bombings, three assassinations were unsettling.
But freedom-loving Americans spoke up for their way of life. Today, we are objectively stronger, more conscious, organized and determined. We can communicate, educate, defend. We have truth on our side.
So, here are concrete reasons for optimism.
First, natural law – rights in the Bill of Rights – are timeless. Humans 1000 years from now will want free speech, assembly, travel, worship, self-defense, fair treatment when accused and all the Godgiven rights individuals crave. They will hate hypocrisy, want accountability, strain for freedom – as we do. That longing cannot be crushed, bought, or legislated away.
Second, the world is awash in gibberish, nonsensical, dangerous untruths. But it always has been. Glance at the Bible, histories of Egypt, Rome, Europe, China, and life. Power corrupts, and humans suppress rights to acquire to it. Not new. Do not think we are more subject to political chicanery, propaganda or bloviating officialdom than other eras. It is just our time.
Third, we have organizations like AMAC – with tools like social media, local, state, and national connection and action, a deep reservoir of energy – to lift those around us, push for limited government, individual liberty, truth, and accountability. We can reinforce and channel hope. Bottom line: Can-do is must-do, make-it-happen starts with optimism. That is not a dodge – it is the fuel that powers rightminded, courageous, cando people stepping up, stepping out, speaking up, running for office, putting things right. Ronald Reagan was an optimist, as were Ulysses S. Grant, George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Winston Churchill– and virtually all our Founders, even when peers condemned their faith and determination in the possible. If their life lessons are not worth now heeding – whose are?
Yes, evil exists, creeps, and deceives, but those who treasure freedom, who know its pull, should be optimists. We have the power to define our future.
We give it away if we do not believe in that power.
We own it, until we surrender it; and we must use words, persuasion, the power of truth to win the day. Good people make things happen – with patience, persistence and resolve.
A final thought from time spent in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses, US Navy, and seeding rule of law: Will of people changes everything. As optimism rises, patience and persistence win, the
Robert Charles is a former assistant secretary of state for President George W.
Bush, former naval intelli-gence officer and litigator. He served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses, as congressional counsel for five years, and wrote “ Narcotics and Terrorism” ( 2003) and “ Eagles and Evergreens” ( 2018), the latter on WWII vets in a Maine town. The 2.3 million member Association of Mature American Citizens is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. AMAC Action is a non- profit, nonpartisan organization representing the membership in our nation’s capital and