Sunday, February 19, 2012

Seeking William Wallace

William Wallace, where have you gone?
We could use a bit of your chutzpah right about now.

I watched the movie, ‘Braveheart’, last night. I had a particular interest in, and identification with, the film because I am of Scottish ancestry. If you haven’t seen the movie, or if you have seen it, but not for a very long time, I would encourage you to Netflix it again. It is, in my opinion, one of the best movies ever produced. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won five, including Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography, and Sound Editing.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story, by any means. Braveheart is not about Academy Awards; it is about courage. It is about freedom, and it is about an indomitable will, a will that will not allow tyrannical rule, in ones life, or in ones country; something we know very little about today. Now, whether the movie is entirely historically accurate, or not, is almost irrelevant. Very few movies are. But the point is that it is an inspirational look at the human spirit, a spirit which, when summoned to defend its inalienable right to be free, refuses to be conquered, to be subjugated to authority, or even controlled by ones own weakness. It is a triumph of substance over style, truth over shallow ideology, soul over the status quo, right over wrong, and courage over fear.

Our culture today presents us every opportunity to just go along to get along. We offer incentives and rewards for weakness, for personal compromise, and for behavior that tears down our very stature, rather than reinforcing it. It is the world we have created for ourselves, and it is the world we have come to willingly embrace.

Braveheart illuminated Scotland’s courageous stand against the tyrannical occupation by the British, but it also revealed the men’s commitment to the defense of the lives, and the honor, of their women. When their wives were seized, raped, and, in the case of William Wallace’s wife, ultimately killed by the British, it enflamed a furor within the men that was unmatched even by their commitment to defend their homeland.

In our present culture, however, we as men are reluctant even to stand between our own wives and the ravages of the world. Our women are being used and abused by the world on a daily basis, and yet we continue to send them out there to fight our battles for us. We permit the denigration, and subjugation, of women through the proliferation of images that portray them to be objects to be used only for sexual gratification, and the indulgence of ego. Unfortunately, many women, and girls, present themselves in the same, or in an even more, unfavorable light. And we let them. But the point here is that we as men no longer summon the valor to stand against this diminishing standard, or the courage to insist that it must change. We have become deathly afraid of being less than politically correct, and it has manifested itself in our culture to the uncompromising detriment of our women.

We, as a nation, are in the process of approving women for combat in the military. Need I say more? We are afraid to stand up to the powers, and the influences, that determine our course. We are afraid to stand up to our own wives and daughters as well. Are we going to continue to allow them not only to fight our battles for us, but to engage in the dangerous business of war as well? If so, what does that really say about us? We will have descended as a nation past the point of diminishing returns.
Our politicians have become cowards, our teachers and religious leaders are afraid to offend, and our standard bearers have vanished like a passing wind.

Men, give ‘Braveheart’ another viewing. Be inspired; embrace the capacity for courage within yourself, and the commitment to inspire that same courage within others. Make a commitment to be sober minded and clear thinking for, perhaps even, the first time in your life.

Where, I ask, is William Wallace?