Monday, November 5, 2012

American Patriots by Rick Santorum

Since this is going to be a really big week for the future direction of our country, I wanted to share some thoughts from a book that I read last week while on vacation. American Patriots by Rick Santorum is a collection of stories told of unknown people that did much to secure the freedom that we now celebrate. I found these stories inspiring as these people risked their life to fight for my freedom. 

From the very beginning, Santorum expounds how the United States, from its origin, has been different from every other nation of the world. He says, 
"America is not about birthrights, classes, or bloodlines. We are not a tribe or an ethnic group or a civilization with a long written history on this continent. America is an ideal--a set of common values that unite us not only as states, but as a people. Those ideals were expressed at the very founding of our country in the Declaration of Independence and reinforced in the United States Constitution" (xviii).
The book then is categorized into three sections: Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness. Into these categories, we find 25 life stories of hero's and heroins. 

Take for instance the life story of Lydia Darragh. She was a normal woman and mother turned spy for the Americans. Oh, did I mention she was a Quaker woman, which means she would have been a pacifist. When the British army moved into Philadelphia, they looked for buildings in order set up their command posts. One of the buildings they took over was her house. Through some strange circumstances, their family was allowed to live in part of the house with the soldiers and officers. One night, she learned of a secret British meeting was going to take place. She sneaked into a closet next to the meeting room and uncovered a surprise attack they were planning just two days later. She risked her life to make her way to George Washington to inform him of the impending attack. And it worked. They were prepared.

As I read these inspiring stories, I could not help but think of how far we have come as a nation. And not in a good way. How many ordinary, non-soldiers, would risk their life to help this country. Instead of a pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, we have become a society of entitlement. We think we are entitled to those things. We expect the government to provide us with life, liberty, and happiness. We have lost the sense of ownership in the process (to be fair, I think part of that is the government's fault, but the people are at fault as well).

Maybe that's the problem with our country today. We have lost the sense of what it means to be a patriot. And maybe that is why this book is needed in our day today. The words that Santorum quotes from Franklin Roosevelt are very appropriate for our situation:
"This country has been made by . . . the men in the ranks . . . Our histories should tell us more of the men in the ranks, for it was to them, more than to the generals, that we were indebted for our military victories" (63)
Our nation needs to hear the stories of those who risked their lives for our freedom. The common, everyday, ordinary person stories. Not the generals. Not even the soldiers. The people. That's the benefit of this book.

I received a free copy of American Patriots by Rick Santorum from Tyndale Press in exchange for this review.

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