History Channel’s Sons of Liberty Miniseries

If you haven’t watched this series, I would highly recommend you give it a chance.  I will warn that it takes some dramatic license and condenses the time frame in order to present a tight, three 2-hour miniseries rather than a more drawn out season-long series centered on the men who became known as the Sons of Liberty.

The series is focused on the events leading up to the arrival of General Gates of the British and the formal Declaration of Independence.  Many of the men that would go on to become our nation’s Founding Fathers have prominent roles in this miniseries.  For all of the series’ faults, it does an excellent job conveying the tone and the overarching themes and threats of the time.  It showed the British soldiers more as an occupying army than anything else, but it also showed the patriots as drunks, thugs, and rioters.

During the lead up to the Boston Massacre on screen, you can understand the motivations of either side.  The British, outnumbered and in the midst of an unruly crowd on the verge of violence, had justification in defending themselves.  The Colonists were likewise shocked when they did just that despite their own provocations just moments before.

Where the series has it’s faults are in the details.  Phrases and quotes were spoken by the wrong person, and the series falls short of providing the full discourse and philosophical thoughts that the HBO John Adams’ series so perfectly nailed.  The History Channel’s production though succeeded in showing the events in total and how each side kept escalating the situation until violence between the two was inevitable.

What I want to mention though is that the miniseries did one amazing thing.  It showed that the rebellious Sons of Liberty would have been rounded up and hanged pretty soon after General Gates’ arrival if not for their willingness to fight and their ability to fight on equal terms of the British regulars who marched to Lexington and Concord.  The British had numbers and experience.  The farmers, millers, and minutemen assembled on Lexington Green and at Concord Bridge had neither, but they had weapons with which to oppose and turn away the British Army that day.

What is so often forgotten in the present age is how the colonists were as well armed as the British regulars with privately held muskets, pioneer long rifles, and cannons.  Yes, cannons.  The American colonists were able to defend their right to free speech, their right to assemble, and to be secure in their papers and property, etc etc etc BECAUSE they had arms.  They had weapons, modern military weapons including weapons of such destruction as heavy cannons, and they were equal to those of their oppressors, not weakened civilian grade versions or likenesses.

At one point George Washington at the Contintental Congress was asked what the Massachusetts men could do with General Gage pressing martial law in Boston.  He said to resist.  I don’t know if Ole George ever gave that advice, but if he did, he had to have known that the only means of resistance when your oppressor means to bring arms to bear against you is to take arms up in defense and for that one must OWN, KEEP, and HAVE those arms and ammunition at your immediate disposal.

That is the foundation principle behind the Second Amendment to the American Constitution.

Thank you History Channel for really highlighting that, whether you meant to do so or not, because without those privately held arms, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Joseph Warren, and the others would be only footnotes in history as traitors to the Crown and the troubles in Boston would have been quashed by the full might of the British Empire before they became full blown rebellion.

As a Phoenix

There is a strong push to not allow things to fail occurring in so many spheres of society today.  Banks are “too big to fail.”  Kids shouldn’t be “left out” of awards ceremonies so they don’t feel bad.  Countries can’t fail because of the financial repercussions.  Never mind that the “why” questions that such situations pose are convoluted to answer.  Has anyone actually taken a look at the repercussions down the line for a refusal to allow failure?

Once something becomes “too big to fail” or “can’t be made to feel bad” or “not allowed to default,” the extent of actions open to prevent these failures is limitless.  This ultimately encourages a decrease in inventiveness, perseverance, creativity, and improvement.  What motivation do you have to get better if you are never allowed to experience the cold feedback of failure?  Failure in and of itself is a fantastic motivation to put forth the extra effort, to take that extra hour doing batting practice to make the little league team, to expend those extra hours at work to make sure that your proposal is perfect,

In science, there is a theory that the universe could ultimately cease to exist in what is called a state of heat death.  The universe is in a constant state of energy flux as matter is compressed into pure energy in the core of a few trillion stars and then recoalesces into matter as it is expelled and cools over time.  These fluctuations in temperature, provided by the mass to energy and energy to mass conversions as the universe heats and cools like a giant ticking clock will eventually even out as the theory states.  At that point, energy and mass with cease to convert back and forth and the universe will stabilize it’s temperature completely – the universe will simply stop working.

By permitting the “thou shalt not fail” mindset in politics, business, and at home, we are slowly crushing the very spark of human of the human spirit and all of it’s ingenuity, creativity, and courage.  This equality of outcome is more counterproductive to society than anything else as it fails to inspire redemption, triumph over adversity, and discipline.

Businesses must never be “too big to fail” or bad business models, foolish management, risk-taking, and lawlessness will prevail.

Countries must be allowed to fail so that failed policies can be purged, leadership can be changed, and prosperity is again possible and hope can be renewed.

Kids must be allowed to fail so that they experience the crush of defeat early in life, and learn to not just overcome it, but to use it is as a motivating force in their life in pursuit of their dreams and ambitions.

Failure is a quintessential part of humanity.  Atheists will often pose a question for Christians that usually goes something like this: If God really exists, loves us, and wants what is good for us why would He allow suffering in the world?

To that question, I respond: How glorious God is and how wise He is that He would allow suffering and failure in the world, in order to prove His glory and power time and time again as He pulled the fallen from the ashes of their own personal destruction and used that temporary hell as a motivating force for mighty deeds for the betterment of mankind.  The beauty of creation, the ENTIRE point of existence since the Fall has been to not shock and awe the world into obedience, but to provide examples of men and women who rise up from the ashes like the mythological phoenix created anew, more powerful and stronger than before… reborn and tempered not by success, but by failure and submission.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

Revelation 3:15

Out of adversity and the pain of defeat have come some of the most uplifting and moving successes of history.

George Washington lost a battle to the French at Fort Necessity.  In fact, he was defeated time and time again, such as at the Battle of Long Island where the American revolution came a hair’s breadth from being crushed between the three-times larger British army and the Royal Navy.  These defeats crystallized Washington into the man we see today in the lens of history. This man later forced a night march, on Christmas Eve, to take the Battle of Trenton from a professional Hessian regiment and turned the tide of the Revolution from one of nearly absolute defeat to one of astounding success.

Henry Ford was bankrupted five times before founding the Ford Motor Company and introducing the assembly line to the world as an industrial breakthrough.

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and failed at his first computer business.  He went out to found and lead Microsoft to one of the most successful and profitable companies in the world.

Thomas Edison tried thousands of different designs that all failed before creating what we commonly know today as the incandescent light bulb.

Elvis Presley was fired after his first paid gig as a performer and became an iconic stage presence.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and became the best player of his era.

Babe Ruth stuck out 1,330 times and is credited as one of the best hitters of all time.

LeBron James lost a free throw contest in middle school and has gone on to dominate the game of basketball at every level.

The option to fail is not an evil to be avoided.  Failure, adversity, and defeat do not destroy the human spirit, they embolden it, to become greater, stronger, faster, smarter, to grow in faith, not in their own abilities, but those given to us by God.  It is the tempering fire, the blacksmith’s hammer, and the pain of discipline.

Failure is creative destruction.

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.

Arthur Golden

Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.

George Eliot

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:1-11

 

 

 

 

 

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