Funny how authors seem to dip from the same cosmic well. They can write completely different novels, never meet each other or share information, yet similarities in the books can be staggering, even shocking. I’ve had this experience with my book, A Lady in Defiance. But rather than point out some spooky similarities between it and another author’s story, I want to talk about where fact and fiction meet.
In my book, Defiance is a fictional town in the San Juan mountain range of Colorado. The history of it is based loosely on the bawdy mining town of Mineral Point. In my story, three good, Christian girls roll into town and shake things up for God.
To my delight, I learned recently that the REAL town of Glenwood Springs, CO used to be named Defiance! And what happened to change the name? Why, a God-fearing, red-blooded American girl rolled into town. That’s what happened.
Sarah Cooper and her husband settled in the encampment of Defiance in 1883. A pair of no-nonsense Iowans, they weren’t thrilled with the name of the town or the behavior of the citizens and worked with the founders to incorporate the settlement into a real municipality. Law and order and churches followed and Sarah pushed to rename Defiance Glenwood Springs, after her hometown of Glenwood, Iowa.
Give an American pioneer woman an inch and she’ll take a mile every time. I love it.
Some plants die in the shadow of a larger, more powerful plant. Others thrive. Take Sarah Franklin Bach. You might know her father, Ben. He was involved in politics. Worked on that little thing called a Constitution. Liked to fly kites in electrical storms. Yes, that Ben.
Sarah was a chip off the old block. At a time when women were barely more than wives and mothers, the war for independence called to them. And American men, being smarter than their counterparts elsewhere, recognized the value of the feminine contribution to the effort. Even Lord Cornwallis grudgingly accepted that his men weren’t fighting just farmers with pitchforks and sickles, but that they were fighting the wives as well. He didn’t say that jokingly. American women were different. They were feisty and uncontrollable. England mocked them, but always with a nervous tug at the collar.
Sarah, of course, grew up in an educated, opinionated household. Often acting as the hostess for her father’s gatherings, she picked up more than her womanly share of political information. When war finally broke out between the Colonials and their King, Sarah was one of the first women to jump into the fray. She immediately joined The Ladies Association of Philadelphia, a patriotic organization aimed at raising funds for Gen. Washington’s pitifully outfitted army. When the group’s organizer passed away, again Sarah stepped up. As the new leader of this unsung group, Sarah motivated the ladies to raise over $300,000! That’s money even politicians today wouldn’t snub. Back then, it was the equivalent of well over $3 million!
Perhaps Sarah’s greatest contribution is the fact that her group managed to sew over 2,000 shirts AND deliver them to the troops at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78.
Samuel Adams, of the Sons of Liberty, the group responsible for the Boston Tea Party, reportedly said, “With ladies on our side, we can make every Tory tremble.” Now that’s a heritage to be proud of. Jump in the fray, ladies, and make your voices heard on Tuesday, November 2!
“I said to my wife, “I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning, that you may prepare your mind for your fate.” She burst into tears, but instantly cried out in a transport of magnanimity, “Well, I am willing in this cause to run all risks with you, and be ruined with you, if you are ruined.”
John Adams, repeating a conversation with his wife Abigail, May, 1770
Once upon a time, 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in the belief that people had the right to determine their own destinies. Live free or die. No middle ground. Through God’s grace and the uncompromising determination of an army of farmers and merchants, America was born. History has proven since then that we are a nation of strong-willed, stubborn, independent thinkers.
And we’ve never taken kindly to being shoved. Not then. Not now. The ruling class in Washington is trying to tell us how to eat, how to live, how to worship, what we should do with our own property. In the last eighteen months, the attack on our liberties has become brazen, even desperate. Battle lines are being drawn and it isn’t just the men who are responding to the threat.
In the spirit of the Daughters of the Revolution, the women of today are picking up their pitchforks…er, I mean, their laptops, and smart phones, and using them to protect our freedom.
Take Heather Losurdo, for example. A self-employed mother who, only a few years ago had zero-interest in politics, is now a passionate advocate of conservative politics. Vice-president of the Northern Wake Republican Club, she is also a member of the Wake County Republican Women, and has worked on various political campaigns. Like many of her fellow Republicans, she has had enough of the Washington elitists, including those in her own party.
Losurdo is not only frustrated by the country’s slide toward socialism but by the fact that most politicians don’t see America as special anymore. “The liberties we have in this land,” she says, “freedom of speech, the freedom to worship, the ability to define our destinies as we see fit, not have the government interfere in that — you just don’t get that in any other country,” she says. “That’s why we are a world power — because of liberty.”
But what really angers her the most is the complete dismissal of God as the center of our political structure. The Founding Fathers repeatedly emphasized the need to recognize the hand of a Divine Power as the truest cause of victory in the fight for our independence. Losurdo believes, “In order for the US to continue working the way it works, the people in power have to believe this country was given to us by God. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. If you don’t believe that this was God-given, then it just doesn’t work.”
Eager to make a statement both to her own party and to the Democrats, Losurdo and her family recently joined hundreds of thousands of patriots at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally in Washington. She says the experience settled her views about patriotism. “My husband and I sat at the WW II memorial and I was just overwhelmed. The fountain there is covered with gold stars about 5” in size and every star represents 100 of our people who died in WW II. Just sitting there and trying to put myself in the place of understanding what they–” she pauses here and then adds quietly, “I guess that’s patriotism: knowing what we’ve been through to get to where we are and appreciating that…and being willing to do that again.”
Somewhere in heaven, I’m sure Abigail Adams is nodding sympathetically.
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Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams-October 11, 1798
It’s not easy being red, white and blue. The mainstream media hate us. The Islamic Extremists hate us. The progressive liberals hate us. Hollywood hates us. Yet, we endure, and, lately, the numbers of patriots are even increasing. To us, America is a good thing. And the rising tide of threats to the way of life we have too often taken for granted is not going unnoticed. In fact, it is causing us to get off our couches, forego the quiet nights at home and get involved. Yes, actually do something political.
BJ Lawson and his wife JoLynn, making their second attempt at unseating Congressman David Price, feel that there is an entirely different mood in the country this time. In fact, JoLynn feels like the wind is at their backs. “We have lots of people who have joined the campaign who have always been Democrats, always been Republicans. They have left both parties and now are independent.”
Politicians in Washington have forgotten who brung’em to the dance and are getting slapped cross-eyed for their rude behavior. Americans don’t like being jilted. In fact, we’ve never taken that well. You know, a woman scorned and all that. Makes us give the next fella a harder look. JoLynn believes voters are researching more, carefully scrutinizing candidates and deciding with purpose upon whom to spend their time and money. BJ Lawson seems to be passing muster.
“When we ran the campaign in 2008,” she says, “we were fighting more of an uphill battle. It was an education. The campaign passed out copies of the constitution which was a unique thing. People were not talking about it then. We passed out 50,000 copies and it was a great opening for a conversation. It allowed a lot of people to let their guard down, in relation to whether they were a Republican or a Democrat, and just talk about what makes America great. This year, people remember that about BJ and about the campaign and we’ve passed out a lot more.”
They pass out copies of the constitution. How novel.
But throwing his hat into the ring has caused Lawson’s family to embark on a difficult journey. The media have scrutinized him, his speeches, and his family, and gone over their background with a fine tooth comb. There is no room for even a single misstep. Is the pressure worth it? Is the fight for liberty worth throwing everything about yourself under a microscope?
JoLynn doesn’t hesitate to answer. “BJ and I feel strongly that if principled people don’t get involved o advance a message of truth, work to follow the Constitution, and strive to live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence we will lose the very country that our forefathers fought and died to give us.”
Every citizen of America has a part to play in preserving the Republic. Some may give their lives. Some will only be asked to give their time. But we must give something if we want the country to survive a wave of socialist policies. “We want to do our part,” says JoLynn, “to see if we can’t turn this ship in the right direction. I really do believe that the people who care about America and the founding principles were quiet, but they ‘re not willing to be quiet anymore.” She sighs and adds, almost as an afterthought, “It’s an uphill battle against the media.”
Our history, however, is filled with stories of uphill battles that turned into landslides of victories. Patriots fight and win; that’s the American Way.
Kids these days…are they really that different than previous generations? If Jerod Lee Loughner, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are examples, I’m thinkin, “Yup.” Something diabolic is destroying their minds. Perhaps it is just the conspiracy theorist in me, but it seems the more we rag on America, the more we get kicked in the gut. There was a time when the good ol’ US of A was a country worth fighting for; now she only seems good for target practice. When I think back on the patriots, especially the women patriots, who risked everything for the mere idea of America, I want to hang my head in shame…or throttle someone. There are a few patriots in our past I wish I could bring forth to chastise us.
Take, for example, Betty Zane. In September of 1772, the Zane family and their neighbors were pinned down in Fort Henry by British and American Indians sympathetic to the British. Fort Henry was a parallelogram, 356 feet long and 150 feet wide, on a hillside overlooking the Ohio River, standing at what is now Tenth and Main streets in Wheeling, [WV] surrounded by a stockade fence twelve feet high, and framed by a three-foot walkway running around the inside. It was practically impregnable so long as supplies lasted.1 When the fort commander, David Shepherd (ironically the name of my literary agent), yelled out that gunpowder was running dangerously low, three men volunteered to slip outside the fort and hunt for some. An argument quickly developed, however, as each man asserted he was more expendable than the others. Betty Zane, a mere girl of only 13, said firmly, “I will go,” and volunteered to retrieve a hidden cache of gunpowder from her brother’s home a hundred yards outside the fort. This was an amazing offer as Betty had been awake for nearly 40 hours, making lead balls. Still, she was the only person who knew where her brother had hidden the gunpowder. She further argued that the enemy outside the gate would let her pass, since a twig of a girl certainly could pose no threat to them.
She snuck outside the fort but was spotted almost immediately by Indians…who—strangely—let her pass. She went home, found the keg of powder, poured as much of it as possible into her apron (some say a tablecloth) and returned to the fort—unmolested. Thanks to Betty’s courage, the folks in the fort outlasted the attack and won the battle.
No matter upon what side of the political fence you fall, you have to admit that stunt took courage. If today’s generation can’t get their heads out of the Prozac and video games long enough to find their own courage within, I dare say America doesn’t stand a fighting chance. The kids don’t shoulder the blame alone, though. As parents, it is clearly our responsibility to shape minds, limit TV time, pull the plug on FB and Youtube, engage with our children, and get them involved in nation-building—ours! Come on, I know there’s a Betty Zane out there somewhere.