My oldest son and oldest daughter recently went on our church-sponsored pioneer-like adventure called “Trek.”
Both came home tired, but both amped up about the trip. My moviemaking friend Alan Peterson made a film a couple of years ago called “Trek” and it does a wonderful job of showing a group of young men and women with their leaders on their trek.
One of the characters is a teenage boy who was not at all excited about going, but went and while not an easy trip, he matured and ended up better for the effort.
My son had the same approach. In fact, in the weeks leading up to the departure, he would routinely say, “I hope to break my leg so that I can miss it.” Like the character in the movie, my son overcame his fears of the worst, and really enjoyed the trip, because his group worked together to overcome the struggle. It was a group effort that got them over the hurdle.
This was not nearly as difficult as our state’s first pioneers, where the loss of life was not only a possibility, it was a regularity. Heartache and loss of loved ones was a common occurrence, but powerful stories of overcoming adversity and personal triumph are replete with many friends of mine with pioneer ancestors.
The reason there are so many positive and faith-affirming early pioneer stories, as opposed to negative stories, is because they believed in a common idea. The idea was to find a better place to live and be left alone to practice their Christian faith as they choose. They had been driven from their homes and forced to liquidate their land and possessions. If they couldn’t find a buyer, they would abandon their home and belongings and go anyway. It wasn’t fair; the federal government, many states’ elected officials, people in the communities all forced them from where they lived. All the pioneers could believe in was their faith and the faith of those on the same path as they were on.
We are not like the pioneers in the sense that we are not being driven from our homes and forced to abandon all that we own in order to pursue a better life. But we as Americans need to find the common idea that has kept us together as a nation for almost 250 years. We know what the idea is already — that this is a God-blessed land founded on Judeo-Christian ideas and values. Our founding fathers created some of the greatest documents ever written that talk about freedoms and liberties for all Americans. All of these rights and freedoms have not been easy, but we found ways to get along with our fellow man most of the time.
However, today, it is not as easy to find common ground, because we can’t resolve our issues until we know some more details. Just look to the Russian investigation that has spanned nearly the entire duration of the Trump administration. Our friends on the left think our president may have colluded with a foreign enemy even though there is not any proof of that. They think the president obstructed justice in firing former FBI director James Comey. They hate him for a lot more reasons, but those are the alleged crimes that he committed. Those on the right believe that a coup was attempted by members of the intelligence community and deep state unelected bureaucrats. Attorney General Barr is looking into the allegations of spying into the Trump campaign by some members of the FBI, Department of Justice, opposition party and even the intelligence community of the UK and Australia.
One way or another, we need to find out which side is right. This can’t be brushed under the carpet or kicked down the road. Let’s get to the bottom of this, even if it is painful. If the president committed a crime beyond a shadow of a doubt, then his supporters will toss him overboard, but if the members of the swamp colluded to try and help Hillary Clinton and then set traps to try and take down a duly elected President then we need to know that as well. At that point, then those on the left need to toss their elected officials or government employees involved overboard as well.
We will be celebrating the declaration of our independence soon, so for this brief time, let’s remember we’re all Americans with the common idea of a life blessed with liberty and freedom. I don’t think it will last, but it will be a nice break.