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Losing Battles

By John G. Brunner

“The losing battles are the ones you never fight.”  John W. Brunner

“DOWN TO 28% APPROVAL”, shouts the mainstream media, “The Republicans are toast!”

Now is the time for all good Republicans to wave the white flag, surrender our souls, and embrace more spending and more debt…or maybe NOT!

My first engagement in politics was with “a loser”. That was 1964, and Barry Goldwater’s polling had him at 17%!

In his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, Senator Goldwater proudly stated, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

The Republican establishment panicked. 

The top three nationally prominent Republican governors, Rockefeller, Romney, and Scranton abandoned the battlefield, stage left, shrilly calling Goldwater an “extremist”.

But a new citizen stepped forward to stand with liberty.  An unknown, retired Hollywood actor, and G.E. Theater television host, Ronald Reagan. A week before the election, October 27, 1964, Reagan proclaimed:

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

They called him a “loser” too. But we will never forget how he soon became governor of California, on his way to the White House.

And the three “moderate-mainstream” governors?…

…Well they just faded into the sunset.

Was it favorable polling data that determined the course of action on D-Day at Normandy? In San Antonio at the Alamo? At Valley Forge? In the Hanoi Hilton?

Did Army Captain, Will Swenson, who received our country’s highest award, the Medal of Honor on Oct. 15th, 2013, take a poll before he risked his life, at the perilous Battle of Ganjgal, Afghanistan? 

Did Captain Swenson “count the votes” before he charged into a hail of enemy gunfire to find and retrieve the three Marines and a Navy corpsman who were injured and bleeding on the battlefield?

Our heroes are not driven by polling data, they fight when others run; they fight when others do nothing.

No, in all of these “losing battles” our eyes are on a higher purpose, as we are inspired by a higher calling; to take up the standard, charge the hill, and continue to fight the good fight.

We are challenged never to give up, for as the psalmist David said, “Our time is in His hands”. Even into the valley of the twilight of our years, we can still inspire others. 

As President Reagan proclaimed so positively in his letter to the American people after revealing his Alzheimer’s diagnosis on November 5, 1994:

“In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. 

When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. 

I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

These final words, from our 40th president, were spoken in humility and gratitude for the privilege of serving his country. But more than that, he left us with an inspiration of hope, a higher purpose, and a noble cause.

We Americans have a cause that transcends the polls and losing battles. It is a cause that requires vigilance, courage and sacrifice. It is a cause that engages the eternal optimism of the human spirit. It is a cause with a destiny of a bright dawn ahead. 

It is the cause of freedom.

WE THE PEOPLE, you and I, have the ultimate challenge, given to us by our creator: 

We are to stand our ground…as we stand with liberty.

My friends and fellow patriots…

We are in a desperate fight for the survival of our Republic.  But I am convinced that what was true in the time of Joshua is also true today…when Joshua heard these words from on high:

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

May God continue to shed His grace and mercy on America.


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