“It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” — President Teddy Roosevelt
Last Friday evening, I had the distinct pleasure and honor of attending a Civil War reenactment in Jefferson, Texas, just north of Marshall. As we made our way down the dirt trail located along the bayou there, we came up the cleared, open field. As I parked and exited the vehicle, I looked over and saw a battery of civil war-era replica artillery pieces. Since I was an Army artillery officer, you know I made a beeline towards the guns. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the gun crews and I immediately made my request, “Can I fire the guns?” The crew was giddy and I ended up firing each of the four artillery pieces that they had. Most awesome was the Napoleon 10 pounder.
As the sun set, and darkness fell upon the field, the guns began to fire and the infantry soldiers exchanged rifle fire. Okay, for all you progressive socialists, there were no live rounds. I was reminded of the importance of knowing our history — not the revisionist idiocy of Critical Race Theory, the Marxist ideology with which the leftists are indoctrinating our children — but our history. As I was driving back to Tyler, Texas, the real essence of the evening hit me. As I gazed upon the dark field of simulated battle, my mind kicked back into warrior mode. I scanned the darkness looking for the flashes, and the sound of the guns. I learned in the Army that true warriors move to the sound of the guns.
How appropriate this thought is when we consider what is happening in our beloved Texas, and America.
The guns are sounding forthwith in this ideological battle in which we are embroiled. Consider the dangers of our open, porous borders and what it means for the stability and security of our Lone Star State. Texas is the number one state in our nation for human and sex trafficking, Houston and Dallas are the top two cities.
The guns are sounding in our schools where leftism is sifting its way down into our elementary schools, and all points in between, filling the minds of our children with progressive socialist poison. The guns are sounding with the continued endangerment of our children being exposed to the absurdity of the mental condition of gender dysphoria, resulting in chemical and physical castration.
The guns are sounding in the streets of our major cities such as Houston, Dallas, Austin where leftist, Soros supported, District Attorney’s are releasing criminals back onto the streets.
The guns are sounding all over this battlefield in the pitch dark night. However, the question is simple, will you make ready and move to the sound of the guns?
It was Ayn Rand who stated, “the uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other – until one day, when they are suddenly declared to the country’s official ideology.”
The constant retreat of which Ms. Rand asserts is the refusal to move to the sound of the guns. Whether you stay hunkered down in your respective safe, or comfort zones, or you simply display the utter cowardice to running away from the constant pressure, the guns, of the progressive socialist left, the result is the same: progressive socialist leftism becomes the declared ideology of Texas, of these United States of America. Never forget the Feb 6, 2009, Newsweek cover emblazoned with the headline, “We Are All Socialists Now.”
The recent Texas 87th legislative session was indicative of one where the Republican majority did not move to the sound of the guns. Instead, the constant pressure of the left — including the insidious and immature walk out of Texas State House by Democrats — was met by the retreat of our Republican legislators, to the point where we must now call a special session to resolve our number one legislative priority, Election Integrity. When warned about giving Texas State House chairmanships to Democrats, there was an utter arrogance of officialdom that has befuddled many.
So, what must be done?
Teddy Roosevelt gave us the solution from his “Citizenship in the Republic” speech, his “Man in the Arena” quote. Texas will need those who are bold, courageous, dauntless, who will go into the arena, who will move to the sound of the guns. As the motto of the British Special Air Service (SAS) states, “Who Dares, Wins!”
Too often, those who feign commitment to our fundamental principles care more for the critics who heckle and instill fear and anxiety. Texas needs those men and women who will dare to go into the arena, all be damned to the critics. Texas needs those who will strive valiantly and dare greatly . . . not the cold and timid souls who will never know victory, or defeat, because they do not move to the sound of the guns.
This past Friday, I made the decision to move to the sound of the guns that are rumbling in the night here in Texas. I dare not be concerned with the critics or those cold timid souls. I have chosen to strive to do the deeds, to know great enthusiasms, to live following great devotions, and to spend myself in pursuit of a worthy cause. I seek to inspire others to experience the pure joys of knowing the triumph of high achievement. It is said that a coward dies a thousand times, but a hero only once. I choose the latter, especially since my trust, hope, and faith are in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I am a citizen of the Republic, the Republic of Texas, and the Constitutional Republic we call America. I choose to move to the sound of the guns and enter the arena and dare greatly, though I may be mired in mud and covered in sweat and blood. I now prepare to meet the constant pressure of the progressive socialist left with a resolute pressure of a constitutional conservative.
I ask you: do you hear the sound of the guns? Look out upon the dark horizon and you can see the flashes. What shall you do, hide in fear, retreat in cowardice, or move to the sound? The eyes of those who have gone before us are watching . . . and the hearts of those who will go after us are hoping.
As Mel Gibson’s character in “Braveheart,” William Wallace, stated, “all men die, but not all men truly live.” Live life to the fullest . . . and move to the sound of the guns.
Steadfast and Loyal,
LTC Allen B. West (Ret.)