"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." -- Edward R. Murrow
My daddy taught me that nothing worth having comes easy. Difficulty is a necessary pre-requisite of anything of value. It was true in 1961 when Mr. Murrow made this statement and is still true today. Unfortunately, most people seem to have forgotten this.
The Continental Army faced monumental difficulty during the winter at Valley Forge. Many soldiers didn't have shoes, coats or enough to eat. As cold as their hell was, they preservered, conquered the difficulty and made a difference.
The people of London faced monumental difficulty during the bombings of WWII. They dealt with blackouts, limited supplies and constant fear. But as dark as their nights were, they preservered, conquered the difficulty and made a difference.
The Allied soldiers faced monumental difficulty during the assault on Normandy. Their only defense was that of schools of fish and herds of wildebeasts -- the safety of the group that comes with massive numbers. An individual might die and they all knew it. But they enemy couldn't kill them all and those that got through preservered, conquered the difficulty and made a difference.
What would have been different if Washington's men had decided the difficulties faced at Valley Forge were too much? How would the world have been different had the forces at Normandy shrunk back from the difficulty of the assault?
Today America faces difficult decisions. For too many decades we have lived as if the natural course of things were to always get better. We are now reminded that resources are finite. We must now choose between schools and prisons, between government programs and private initiatives, between equally compelling but opposing choices. We must find a way to untie the Gordian knots of healthcare, our tax system, public assistance programs, etc.
The difficulty of the choices has polarized us into political camps that spend their time bashing each other rather than addressing the issues. Of course, slinging mud is always easier than finding a way to dry it out and build something. But history will judge us on the results, regardless of the difficulty of the choices. We must find a way to work together. Of course, it won't be easy, but that is no excuse.
Copyright © 2011 Denise Duggan