My Musings

True Grit

True Grit

No, this is not a review of the classic John Wayne film by the same title. Just go see it. Instead, my focus here is on a disappearing American virtue called grit!

By grit, I mean that indomitable spirit that makes men and women hold to their integrity, come what may (the word “grit” is coincidentally found inside the word “integrity”). True grit refuses to let go of a worthy goal. In “The Searchers,” when John Wayne was asked if he was considering giving up on his goal, he said, “That’ll be the day.”

Today, a growing gritlessness is pushing America into a slough of shame. At 59—I can remember when America was no push-over. Now, it is. Just look at how we fall for corrupt candidates and fancy frauds.

At the root of this drift into decline is the fact that forty-two percent of American babies are born completely out-of-wedlock. For women under 30, it’s over half. Waiting is hard, so we just don’t. Who cares about the best for our children? Shacking up and divorce are also rising through the proverbial roof.

Consider how many Americans today want cradle-to-grave care from the government. The clamor for politicians to provide health and happiness at all levels has yielded unprecedented corruption. We tolerate presidential and political fraud as the most effective means to secure and inflate power. The ratio of citizens and non-citizens on food stamps, unemployment compensation, disability and other federal assistance programs has exploded. Efforts to distinguish the truly needy from the free-loaders are almost nil. Incredibly, the Democrats scored big victories in 2012 by claiming that requiring photo identification suppresses the right to vote. You read that right: Just showing an ID was demonized as repressive and we bought it. Only a nation of gritless wimps would buy that.

Today, we see institutions caving left and right to cultural pressure. Last year, my alma-mater, Pepperdine University (a “Christian” university), granted an official scholarship for homosexuals. Fuller Theological Seminary, where I earned the M.Div., sanctioned a homosexual (LGBT) student group, ignoring Christian principle. But they do still allow Bibles in their library. The Boy Scouts finally caved to homosexual pressure in 2013. The degenerating US military also compromised their standards to placate homosexual militants. Now they are altering performance standards to get women into full combat. Only a neutered nation could do this. In the city of Arcadia (CA), where I had my first full-time ministry, the public high school was forced by the current Department of Justice to allow a girl to use the boys’ restroom. Kids there can identify as whatever gender they feel like. Our institutions of higher learning today have been so excessively feminized that women outnumber men in universities by unprecedented proportions. America clearly has enough lawyers, judges, academics and politicians now to keep the population well intimidated.

As 2014 wakes up, the national news is running a litany of sympathy stories about who just got offended by whom and how sincere the demanded apology was. It’s an obsession. We are wallowing in wimpery. We are as addicted to celebrity and entertainment as we are to government entitlements. Mark my words, politicians will not save us, not even decent ones. Neither will self-esteem task forces or sensitivity training seminars. No! It will take a return to true grit.

Sadly, many Americans today hold self-reliance and competition in deep disdain. We actively undermine personal responsibility and initiative. Instead of fighting for freedom, we fear it. Remember Daniel Webster? He said, “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” (the US Senate chamber, June 3, 1834).

Remember the Pilgrims? They landed in Massachusetts late in 1620 and faced conditions so extreme that some 14 out of the 17 wives died within three months of their landing at Plymouth Rock. Depleted by disease and famine, by April of 1621, only half of the Puritan population remained alive. Yet, they stuck it out. They did not give up their goals or on God. That’s true grit.

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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