May 29, 2021
It’s a simple fact of life that people like to complain. If you don’t believe me, just watch the evening news. Even when we say we don’t, each one of us has an innate desire to lament everything that is wrong with the world.
Sadly, this problem is nothing new. In Scripture, we read how the children of Israel complained that they were going to die of starvation in the wilderness. The Lord answered in spite of their attitude by miraculously providing them with a daily supply of food that tasted “like wafers made with honey.” Incredulously, it wasn’t long after that the Israelites were complaining that the Lord’s miraculous all-you-can-eat buffet was not good enough for them.
I understand the allure of this mentality. I can complain with the best of them. Yet, patriots can’t pretend that our complaints alone will solve America’s problems. If we are going to see meaningful change, we must be willing to take action.
In his essay titled “The Way to Wealth,” Benjamin Franklin said “Friends and neighbors complain that taxes are indeed very heavy…. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness…. Let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us: ‘God helps them that help themselves.’” Franklin not only wrote these words but lived them too. He was a patriot willing to take action when others were only willing to complain.
All of our Founding Fathers exemplified that same spirit of tenacity, but I find it much more encouraging to know that they made a way for us to turn our complaints into action. In the First Amendment, we have secured a right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” These words mean that American citizens have a right not only to air our complaints but to do so with the understanding that we demand action from the proper authorities. The proper authority to petition will vary depending upon the grievance, but the inalienable right of the citizen remains true regardless.
Exercising this right is a patriot’s responsibility, a fact highlighted by the Memorial Day we commemorate in just a few days. As we memorialize the sacrifice of countless brave men and women who gave everything to secure our liberties, empty complaints should taste like sawdust on our lips. We have no excuse not to honor their courage with our actions.
If you don’t know where to begin, start small. Raise the American flag for Memorial Day and recite the Pledge of Allegiance with your family. If you can’t get a flag that quickly, Flag Day is just around the corner. Once you’ve done that, find good groups of active patriots in your area. Internet forums can never take the place of the camaraderie that comes with local patriots acting together to better their community.
I also hope you will listen to the first episode of my new podcast, where I dig deeper into why Americans should stop complaining and start doing. You can find the podcast exclusively at AmericasFuture.net, where you can also leave a donation to support our ongoing work. Thank you.
Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, USA (Ret.)
Chairman, America’s Future, Inc.