Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Over Thanksgiving, I visited my son at the joint base in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Prior to his liberty call on Wednesday, my daughter and I explored Charleston. On our second or third day, we visited the Old Exchange and Provost. To those of you unfamiliar with this area of the country, this building served as a commodities exchange, an entertainment venue, and at one time, even a military prison.
Indeed, I am quite the history buff, and being in Charleston, a city hundreds of years old, exploring the Old Exchange and Provost, and standing on the same floor where signers of the Declaration of Independence also walked was both amazing and humbling. Knowing that battles had been fought and the fate of our country had been molded in the very places where I now stood was incredibly awe-inspiring.
While I was at the Old Exchange and Provost, I took a quick look through the selection of T-shirts for sale in the gift shop. Several of them said "Charleston" or had a picture of the Old Exchange and Provost plastered across the front, but a third style really caught my eye. It was the writing on the back of the shirt that stood out to me because it was hand written. So, I took a moment and inspected the shirt a little more closely.
The quote on the back read, "I send you 500 pounds of power....do mischief."
The words stemmed from a letter sent by South Carolina's President Rutledge in 1776 to William Moultrie--a wealthy plantation owner and militia leader. Moultrie had been tasked with building a fort on Sullivan's Island at the mouth of Charleston's harbor to ward off an impending British invasion. Moultrie gathered his troops and hastily constructed a fort from palmetto logs. An observer worried that Moultrie's construction would never hold and deemed the area a "Slaughter Pen." Moutrie, however, was undeterred, and even as he got word that the invasion was imminent and coming sooner than expected, his faith in his men and the fort they built never wavered. In fact, the hastily-constructed palmetto fort withstood an impressive beating and was instrumental in defending Charleston harbor from serious attack. The Redcoats, suffering losses many times greater than the Patriots, retreated in shame. (When you can, read up on the Battle of Sullivan's Island- it's a great story!)
The story of Sullivan's Island and the t-shirt quote started my brain churning, and I couldn't get them out of my head over the remainder of the week, but it wasn't until today that I really decided why both stood out so vividly to me.
We are not a country of fearful people.
We are pioneers and explorers and inventors and, most importantly, we are rebels. When negotiations and polite discussion with England broke down, we demanded freedom from the monarchy's oppressive taxes and heavy-handed rule of the Colonies. We didn't sit at home twiddling our thumbs; we formed militias. We trained ourselves up. We organized and discussed in secret basement meetings. We made it clear that we were not going to tolerate the unrealistic burdens being placed upon us. We only played nice for so long because at some point, it became painfully obvious that we had a choice to make. We could stand up and get loud, or we could sit down and humbly accept what insults were doled out.
History has a funny way of repeating itself, and after 244 years, the time has come again to remind those who would seek to oppress and control us that We The People have the real power. It's the time to do a little mischief. Dumping tea into Boston Harbor, boycotting the purchase of English goods, creating our own underground newspapers, and building what sometimes appeared to be completely insufficient defenses such as the Palmetto fortifications at Fort Moultrie are what eventually won the American Revolution.
In fact, this same mentality helped David defeat the giant. This same mentality sent pioneers across mountain ranges and built transcontinental railroads. This same mentality helped Texans hold the Alamo. This do or die spirit has helped us conquer the continent, win wars, explore space, and catapult ourselves into the position of the most influential and important country in the entire world.
We did not accomplish those things because we are a fearful people. Rather, we are people who believe a little mischief is not only good for the rebel soul, but is also good for progress and liberty and all those conservative values we hold so dear.
Sadly, not enough of us are making mischief. And while we don't have tea to dump in Boston Harbor, we can ditch our masks. We can demand free and fair elections. We can organize. We can become our own source of news. We can be leaders in our own communities. If we don't stand up soon, we'll have nothing to stand for at all.
Now is the time to make some mischief.
Defy that curfew order. Open your businesses. Ditch the mask. Join a flag parade convoy. Go to your state capitol and protest. Get loud. Be heard. It's now or never, Patriots.