The following words penned by Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776 and which George Washington caused to be read to the Continental Army at Valley Forge are still valid today. Enjoy.
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
Now to get to what I wanted to discuss. This is another of Thomas Paine's thoughts, but this one comes from Common Sense.
"Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority, perfect equality affords no temptation." This, in my opinion, does not mean we set aside all those things that identify us as who we are; or that we should all take to heart the lyrics of that most over-played ballad 'Imagine'; merely that we do not let that which sets us apart physically, emotionally, or phylosophically deter us from seeing those around us as equals and treating them as such. No man, or woman, is superior to another. We are all flesh, bones, and blood and can be brought low by the most microscopic of organisms on the planet. Superiority is a matter of perspective. There is a saying I heard growing up, I did not like it very much back then but I feel it has a place in this discussion: There is always someone better than you. This may saound a bit discouraging to some, and it did to me when I first heard it, but when you think about it, it really is true. I do not say this to offer an excuse for us to allow ourselves to become demotivated, but if we always keep that thought in mind we will eventually become more humble; and humility, being an integral part of unity, is something our nation as a whole could use a lot more of.