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June 24, 2020

“Stand And Deliver.” (EP.242)

“Stand And Deliver.” (EP.242)


In the 1988 movie, “Stand and Deliver”, Jaime Escalante is a mathematics teacher in a school in a Hispanic neighbourhood. Convinced that his students have potential, he persuades them, including gang members and no-hopers in an overall underperforming school, that they could take and pass the rigorous Advanced Placement exam in calculus. 

Mr. Escalante, played by Edward James Olmos in this true story, convinced his students there should be more for them than the usual life for poor minorities in East LA. There is more for us than just being well informed and regular voters. We, too, must Stand and Deliver.

The Silent Majority cannot stay silent any longer, or it will no longer be the majority.

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode. 


In an episode on voting, commenting on America’s unqualified voters, I made the point that I am not a supporter of get-out-the-vote campaigns. I am strongly in favor of getting out the well researched, well informed vote. In today’s episode, I am taking that thought process an important step forward.

Even well informed and regular voting is not enough. We must act. Speak our minds. Let others know where we stand. And do it clearly and often.

“But Will, my work environment is hostile to my views; I don’t want to lose my job.” I get that. Even before the new century, before we moved back to Colorado, my wife was afraid to share her thoughts about party affiliation for fear of a negative reaction from her employer, a multinational business. “They would not fire me directly for my politics, but they’d find a way.”

We are in the middle of a huge upheaval in the US, a cultural revolution that is well underway. Don’t for a second underestimate what is going on; we are in a tug-of-war for our country that is no less important, no less consequential, than the one in 1776. It is clear to all of us now what needed to be done back then, but it was not at all clear to everyone at the time what was at stake, and which side to choose. In round numbers, about half of the 2.5M people in the colonies in 1776 were pro-British, and the other half pro-Revolution. And no doubt many who were leaning one way or the other were not all that invested in their choice. About 3% of the country, 75,000 people, actively supported the fight to free the colonies from the British. “Really, Will, how could such a small percentage get anything done, much less defeat the British Empire, the greatest economic and military power the world had ever seen?” 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist. Three percent of our current population is 10M people. There is nothing on earth that 10M citizens cannot do.

Let’s listen to some of the Revolutionary America’s 3%:

  • These are the times that try men’s souls.Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, December 1776. Exactly, Mr. Paine. And here we are again. 
  • I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”-Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, 1775. No one is asking that we make that stark choice, but devoting a part of our lives to liberty, to “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” is well within everyone’s grasp.
  • I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Nathan Hale, before being hanged by the British, September 1776 We are not being called to die for our country, but we are called to live for it.
  • Men, you are all marksmen – don’t one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes. Then fire low!” Israel Putnam, repeated by Colonel Prescott to the men, June 1775 at Bunker Hill. Unlike the early revolutionaries, we are not low on ammunition, we are not low on ideas and convictions, and we don’t have to wait until the opposition is physically upon us. BTW, why do you suppose the command included firing low? The revolutionaries, by necessity skilled marksman–needing to put meat on the table and defend against outlaws–had sighted their muskets for 50 yards or farther out. With the sights set to be accurate at that range, they would have to aim low on close in targets to be accurate. 
  • We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Benjamin Franklin, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. Ben, we have a bingo. If we do not all act, and act decisively, all will be lost. No hyperbole here–it will be game over. 
  • There, I guess King George will be able to read that.John Hancock, at his signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. Hancock, elaboratly signing not only first but boldest, with a large signature that could be read across the room, made sure that no one, including the King, could mistake where he stood, and what he believed in.

The Founding Fathers, Generals, private soldiers and ardently supporting citizens, risked everything for their freedom. And ours. What are we doing to preserve the always fragile American experiment founded upon “Rights granted by our Creator.” Not by a monarch, not by an elected government–by our Creator. The Founders mutually pledged, “… our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” And many lost one or both of the first two, but none lost their honor.

I have not yet begun to fight!John Paul Jones in response to the enemy demand to surrender, September 1779. With Revolution 2.0™, I stand with the Admiral. I have indeed begun, but only that. I am in for the long haul. 

The Silent Majority cannot stay silent any longer, or it will no longer be the majority.

“I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other,” before concluding with “God help me.” –Martin Luther, at the trial where he was convicted of heresy.

Where do we all stand–where do you stand–and what are we willing to do about it? We do not have the benefit of hindsight as we do when evaluating Revolution 1.0 in 1776. But we can learn from history, and apply it to Revolution 2.0™. Tell us where you stand in the comments section.

(Oh, all of Mr. Escalante’s students passed, earning college credits in calculus.)


As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple, Google, or Stitcher.

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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden