Saturday Meditation: Self-Reliance

For reflection today, I thought I’d post an excerpt from one of my very favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose essay, Self-Reliance, epitomizes the American Spirit. Click on the link to read the whole piece, but here’s an excerpt to inspire you in achieving your goals and understanding God’s unique purpose for each one of us:

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.

Reading Emerson’s words is also a stark reminder of how far we have fallen as a society, particularly as we contemplate the critical election in November — perhaps the most important one in our nation’s history. On twitter the other day, I ignited an enlightening conversation when I tweeted my frustration at voters who for all intents and purposes are conservative, yet continue to vote for Democrats, thus aligning themselves with the filth who embarked upon a vicious, repugnant assault on Ann Romney (which is just a small taste of the kind of vitriol conservative women like Sarah Palin and Michelle Malkin have endured for years).

I was referring to the working class Obama once slammed as “bitter clingers” — the hard-working folks in the Rust Belt States and Flyover Country who haven’t yet gotten the memo that their grandfather’s Democrat Party has been thoroughly co-opted by progressives and communists hell-bent on turning this country into a failed welfare state.

Of course, the question answers itself: for over 50 years, progressives have patiently infiltrated public education, universities, pop culture and the media, with the intended result of “dumbing down” the electorate, revising our history, creating a disdain for our Founders as “racist white men” and ingraining the false belief that a president’s job (along with Congress) is to redistribute wealth by robbing those who work hard for a living, pay your morgtage, fill your gas tank and otherwise coddle you from cradle to grave — simply because you exist. Thus in 2008, an avowed socialist and Alinksy disciple named Barack Hussein Obama successfully attained the White House, voted in by an electorate that wrongly asks the question, “What can government do for me?” instead of “What can I do to achieve my purpose in a free society?”

No wonder totalitarian systems like the former Soviet Union banned God from the public square and usurped individuals’ right to worship. If faith in God compels one to believe he or she is here for a specific purpose and that there is a power greater than man, then government is put in its proper place. Instead of viewing government as “a benevolent god” who gives you everything, the individual recognizes that while necessary for a civil society, the government’s job is not to pick winners and losers. Because every one of us is here to fulfill a higher purpose, it’s up to each individual to pursue his or her own life, liberty and happiness.

As Patrick Henry rightly stated,

“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”

What I find most offensive about progressives is that they exploit human weakness in order to preserve and expand their own power. Thus they prey upon negative emotions like envy, laziness, resentment and despair mainly by playing the despicable class warfare game in which the “rich” are demonized as people who attained success off the backs of the poor — feeding the frenzy of the so-called “have nots” so that they will dutifully vote for those politicians who promise to “level the playing field”, or more precisely, punish society’s producers by taxing them into oblivion so that they can keep feeding the beast of entitlement programs until most of the nation submits to a new kind of slavery.

Absolutely diabolical.

Self-reliance is what forged a nation and a system of government in which the individual — not a king, oligarch or president — reigns supreme over his or her own affairs. Our Founders risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor for the “radical” ideology that each person has the right to fulfill his or her own purpose, and that in order to uphold and honor this God-given right, government must be limited.

And every one of us who believes in the United States Constitution and the concepts of personal accountability, limited government, strong national defense and fiscal responsibility must get out of our comfort zones and start talking about these crucial issues with every citizen with whom we come into contact. The old adage, “Never talk about religion and politics” has inflicted serious damage; it’s time for patriots to reject such idiocy and fight for the restoration of our country.


James Russell Lowell

(February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891)


“Democracy is the form of government that gives every man the right to be his own oppressor”.

James Russell Lowell was an American poet and diplomat.  He was associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of American poets who were first to rival the popularity of the British poets.  They were named such because of the conventional form and meters in their poetry which made their work entertaining for families to read by the fireside.

He was born on February 22, 1819 to Reverend Charles Russell Lowell and his wife Harriet Brackett Lowell, the youngest of six children.  The family lived in a big estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it was Lowell’s mother who inspired in him a love for literature at an early age, especially poetry and ballads.

When he was fifteen, he attended Harvard College, though he often noted he wasn’t a good student and spoke of his disinterest in the day-to-day of academia life.  However, in his senior year he became one of the editors of Harvardiana, a literary magazine to which he contributed prose and poetry.  Not knowing what vocation to choose after graduating, he finally decided to practice law, enrolling in Harvard Law School in 1849. Two years later,  he was admitted to the bar.  While studying law, he continued writing his poems and prose and submitted them to various magazines for publication.

Lowell published his first collection of poetry in 1841 and married Maria White in 1844.   The couple soon became involved in the movement to abolish slavery, with Lowell using poetry to express his anti-slavery views, which led to accepting a job in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the editor of an abolitionist newspaper. He gained notoriety in 1848 with the publication of A Fable for Critics, a book-length poem satirizing contemporary critics and poets. The same year, he published The Biglow Papers, which increased his fame. He would publish several other poetry collections and essay collections throughout his literary career.

Maria White died in 1853; the following year, Lowell accepted a professorship of languages at Harvard, where — after traveling to Europe before officially assuming his role in 1856 — he taught for twenty years. He married his second wife, Frances Dunlap, shortly thereafter in 1857. That year Lowell also became editor of The Atlantic Monthly.

Lowell believed that the poet played an important role as a prophet and critic of society. He used poetry for reform, particularly in abolitionism. However, Lowell’s commitment to the anti-slavery cause wavered over the years, as did his opinion on African-Americans. He tried to give a true Yankee accent in the dialogue of his characters in his writings about slavery, and this in addition to his satires, inspired other famous American writers like Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken.

After being diagnosed with liver cancer in early 1891, Lowell  died on August 12 of that same year. There were several collections of his poems and essays published after his death.

— Luanne Jacobs

About the Author: Luanne Jacobs holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and received her counseling license in 1997. She’s done internships in the Criminal Justice System and worked for the state of Texas for seven years as a Substance Abuse Treatment Coordinator, heading up the department. After a downsizing in 2003, Luanne returned to school to earn her teaching certificate for Middle School Reading and English. She’s been certified for three years, during which time she also became active in politics, working on campaigns for Appellate Court Judges, State Representatives and local candidates.

Additionally, Luanne has been an administrator on several Facebook pages and a frequent contributor to conservative talk radio programs. She has also channeled her writing talent into several essays about historical figures who helped to form the foundation for the United States of America, the greatest country on earth. Connect with her on Facebook.


Ulysses S. Grant

(April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885)

“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace”.

Hiram Ulysses Grant was a long-time soldier and 18th President of the United States. He graduated from West Point in 1843 and fought in the Mexican American War alongside General Zachary Taylor. Although Grant retired from the Army in 1854, he was drawn back in when the Civil War erupted. After the Battle of Fort Donelson in 1862, his nickname was “Unconditional Surrender Grant”, as he was an aggressive and straightforward general. After the Battle of Shiloh, where the combined casualties numbered over 23,000, Lincoln said, “I cannot spare this man. He fights.” Once the Civil War ended, Grant remained in charge during the Reconstruction era. He was elevated to Secretary of War until nominated by the Republicans for President in 1868. When he assumed the presidency, he had never held public office, and, at the age of 46, was the youngest person at the time to have served as President.

He helped implement the Congressional plans of Reconstruction in the South and was instrumental in holding new elections with black voters there, which gave the Republicans control over the region. He established a limited number of troops in the Southern states, to protect the Freedmen and quell the antics of the Ku Klux Klan. His presidency was marked by several very forward thinking pieces of legislation that protected the civil rights of the newly freed slaves in addition to aiding American Indians. He signed several bills which promoted voting rights for peoples of all colors. He was harsh with Ku Klux Klan leaders and he won passage of the fifteenth amendment, which gave freedmen the right to vote.  In 1874, an insurgence of paramilitary groups arose in the deep South. Their objectives were to disrupt elections, suppress the black vote, and turn Republicans out of office.  In part because of these groups, Grant was the first president to sign a Civil Rights Act in 1875.

Grant’s poor judgement of character and his willingness to allow nepotism within his administration led to twelve scandals in the eight years of his term. His personal secretary, Orville Babcock, wielded a tremendous amount of power, as he controlled who saw the President. He was tried for various crimes and misdemeanors in 1876, while Grant stood by him. In 1879, he was nominated for a third term as president, but lost the nomination to James Garfield, for whom he campaigned. It was at this point that Grant decided to take a two-year world tour. He returned successful but financially challenged, and around that time it was also discovered that he had throat cancer. While terminally ill, Grant spent his time writing his memoirs. He finished them only days before his death on July 23, 1885. While not financially prosperous in life, his memoirs earned his family $450,000.

— Joan Schaefer Poach


About the Author: Religious, spiritual and liberty-loving Joan Schaefer-Poach has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Connecticut since she was three weeks old. Both her mother and her grandmother were Past Department Presidents of the organization for the state of Connecticut, and, in 1997, Joan followed in their footsteps. This made history within the organization, as Connecticut and Massachusetts are the only two states in the country who have had three generations of members serve as Department President.

Joan currently works as a Technical Support Group supervisor for Cablevision in Shelton CT, in a 500- person-plus facility with a group that consists primarily of entry-level individuals fresh out of college. As a result, she experiences first-hand the entitlement attitude that is taught in the public school system and fights diligently to eliminate it in the workplace.

Fed up with the “hate America first” attitude that has taken over the schools from kindergarten all the way through college, Joan believes that the only way to fix this country is by exposing youngsters to our history in a way that brings it to vibrant life — as opposed to the dull recitation of dates and facts. There’s an old saying that states, “what’s past is prologue”, and if we want this country to once again be free of the onerous links to socialism and fascism, our children need our guidance. Joan fervently hopes to assist with this effort.

Editor’s Note: Joan is dedicating all of her contributions to the memory of Andrew Breitbart. RIP.