I recently had an extremely unwelcome evening encounter with danger at our home as living in a rural setting almost guarantees that one will at some point have an experience with some of God’s creations that are most unfriendly to humans.
Our barn is typically where I am at highest alert and admit that I had become a bit too complacent regarding the possibility of poisonous snakes close to our front door. I had taken a bit of care a few months ago as we had killed a few baby rattlers last year, but failing to see any poisonous ones this spring and summer, I foolishly let down my guard.
Thankfully, my flashlight located the timber rattlesnake stretched at the base of our steps just in time for me to make a hasty retreat, and my husband was able to exterminate him with a single .38 shot. The whole experience is still rather unnerving to me, and in the days after the incident, it occurred to me how similarly an overwhelming number of Americans operate daily with the same mindset of complacency regarding the dangers to the future of our republic.
But another analogy also crossed my mind as I recalled that the rattlesnake gave me absolutely no warning of his proximity. Just as light was the only thing that kept me from the potential of serious harm, shining light on what is wrong in our government and culture is crucial in safeguarding our nation.
Here’s the hard question: are we as citizens willing to commit the time and effort necessary to shine the light on our government, or are we going to stay within our comfort zones of not standing up to challenge the policies and decisions of those we elect as they enable an ever-expanding government with little to no regard for the debt facing future generations?
Are we content with accepting the pretty picture that those we elect want to paint for us regarding our fiscal health? Because if we don’t question the accounting gimmicks and spending items designed to bloat budgets at the city, county, state, and federal levels, we are consenting to our financial destruction and are just as guilty of “kicking the can down the road.”
Do we really believe that those who benefit from increasing government spending and debt are going to warn us any differently than that timber rattler in front of our house?
Lately, many appear content with accepting upbeat press conference assurances that things are “turning around” while others take to social media with rants to their own choir that do little to change the mindset of those with whom they disagree instead of focusing efforts on those responsible for the policies.
Perhaps you think we have already passed the tipping point of “apathy to dependence” as often quoted in the stages of democratic self-destruction. If so, we are alarmingly close to losing the freedom of our nation described by President Ronald Reagan as that “last stand on Earth,” and his description of America as the last refuge of freedom is why we must keep shining the light.
Instead of believing that the majority of citizens don’t care, I choose to think that the abundance of serious issues is simply overwhelming to most, and I share that concern and frustration. Staying informed and involved is exhausting, especially because it requires diligence in determining fact from propaganda in an age where the principle of limited government is derided as outdated.
But danger to our nation doesn’t exist only in the form of debt and deficit spending; we are also facing a moral decline reflected in our culture that is in need of spiritual light as well.
Our value of life in or out of the womb is rapidly eroding in our society. We’re seemingly desensitized to the increasing number of horrific murders in our communities. Rage is boiling over around our country and we are unable to have serious, necessary, and honest conversations because of elements that want to divide us into racial and socioeconomic factions to destroy us from within. Our daily news cycle provides evidence of the moral decay and lawlessness across America which reflects the lack of spiritual guidance in our culture.
It would be far easier for me to quit paying attention and enjoy the aspects of country living that don’t involve snakes. But with the arrival of our first grandchild earlier this year, I was reminded again that every child of each generation deserves the opportunity to live with the liberty I’ve enjoyed in my life. I can’t help but wonder what sort of country will exist for him one day, and I realize we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and others to the dangers we face.
There’s no way we’ll eliminate all the timber rattlers at our farm, but I’m reminded of the importance of vigilance for my personal safety. We can do the same with our government if only we’re willing to do the work required to shine the light.
Marcia Chambliss serves on the leadership team of Smart Girl Politics, an online community for conservative women. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics.