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The Grit Of A Nation

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We are watching something Americans have never seen before and hopefully never will again – a former commander-in-chief and the leader of the opposition party fighting for his life. Whether Donald J. Trump is on the campaign trail or in a courtroom, he is taking on the corruption eating away at our country. It’s almost as if he welcomes this dramatic and dangerous opportunity to make his case. And with America listening, he’s drawing more people to his cause, the cause of the underdog.

Most former U.S. Presidents retire into a life of leisure — some do charity work, others focus on their golf game. But the 45th President of the United States intends to fight until the final bell for a country he loves. It sounds nuts — that a celebrity billionaire is an underdog. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, but he stood up for regular Americans who’d been cheated by the establishment, and all of a sudden, the people who used to knock on Trump’s door for campaign donations turned on him. They’re still hunting him but he’s outfoxing them at every turn.

We’re seeing the retelling of the American story, the story we have told ourselves and lived again and again from the founding down to the present. It’s the story of a man, a family, a nation turning what seems improbable into reality. It’s the story of the underdog who triumphs in the end.

It’s not hard to see why the “underdog” is such a crucial figure in our national story. We started as a country when a small band of farmers, merchants, and scribes rose up against tyranny to defeat what was, at the time, the world’s greatest imperial power and military force. It must have seemed outlandish and preposterous. And yet, we prevailed. Americans have made the impossible happen again and again.

George Washington was tested by adversity and overcame early failures that would have forced a lesser man to stay at home and never try again. Teddy Roosevelt was a sickly boy who, through a seemingly impossible physical and spiritual regimen, made himself hard as steel. He didn’t just survive loss and tragedy — no, rather, he defeated disappointment and despair, work that augmented his ambition and fed his appetite for greatness. Two American leaders, who like Trump, battled as underdogs do and met their challenges head-on.

And, of course, this is the material that American greatness is made of — it’s not an abstract quality bestowed on our land and citizenry by a benevolent nature. No, it’s the hard work, self-reliance, faith of our people. Our grit. A man who takes his family to the frontiers of civilization to make his fortune is, by definition, an underdog — everything is going against him, starting with the forces of wilderness itself.

There are underdogs everywhere you look in America, an army of Rocky Balboas, men and women who embody the lessons of self-reliance and, hard work and grit. They have faith in God, in our country, and in themselves. They’re your neighbors, your co-workers, your family, it’s you. What a great time to be an American.

Please participate in our Reader’s Survey. Your insights and thoughts are important as we learn what is on the minds and in the hearts of our fellow Americans. We read them all and share some of them Mondays at 9 a.m. during America’s Future live broadcasts with our Executive Director Mary O’Neill on America’s Mondays With Mary. Thank You! 

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