Sometimes I wish everybody would just stop talking, or at the very least speak less.
I had the pleasure of watching the fabulous film "To Kill a Mockingbird" again. As I watched it, I found myself riveted by Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. Even though his character is a lawyer, other than in the courtroom, the man barely says a word. His silence is his strength, self-restraint his weapon.
He shot a rabid dog because he had to. It is only in action that his children find out that he is the best shot in the county for he never told them. He takes the abuse of spit in the face, but knows the abuse must be taken if he is to do good. Therefore, he takes it.
I pondered on that for a bit and recalled that so many of the male movie heroes of the day showed these same qualities in the characters of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and Gregory Peck. These men did not speak much and did their best to avoid a fight, but when things needed getting done, they got done.
However, these men were not stoics. They were not indifferent to pain, loss, or injustice. They feel as other men do, but they knew their role as the shoulder to be cried on and not to be doing the crying. Therefore, they made that choice.
And not just in the movies did we find men such as these. My own father and many men like him came home from war and carried on. They married, raised families, went to Church, and paid their taxes. They did not talk much about their war experiences because while they had served their country now they were serving their families and communities. I think that is the heart of it, men like that serve, not talk.
I think it speaks well of a generation that put characters and men such as these on a pedestal.
Back then, it was a whole generation of real life John Waynes. What do we have but a whole generation of real life Woody Allens?
We live in a generation that behaves as if the only sin left is to leave something unsaid, untweeted, or un-Facebooked. Today's heroes prattle on and on about nothing and everything.
Even the President, asked about why his healthcare program was still so unpopular, remarked that he had not done enough to sell it. If the man gave one speech on the topic, he must have given a thousand, but even that was not enough.
This is how liberty dies, to the sound of a thousand flapping lips.
I wish most men would once again see the value in quiet service. We need a new generation of men who make the decision to serve, men of strong shoulders and tight lips.
With our liberty once again in peril, we once again need great men of restraint. Daniel Webster said "Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint."
Restraint is the best preparation for just action.