Personal column by Doug Strickel
Years ago there was a neighborhood full of young kids that were always outside playing. On one end of the neighborhood was a big kid that was rather selfish and mean. He could be a real bully to all of the other kids. On the other end of the block, there was a somewhat smaller boy, but he was a really tough kid that was liked by everyone in the neighborhood. He was a giving, considerate young man that went out of his way to look out for others. His toughness and sheer will to be both strong physically and mentally was a deterrent to that bully. The bully was fairly isolated in the neighborhood and chose not to act like a bully due to the deterrent on the other end of the block.
As the kids grew up and were able to drive, their neighborhood grew, and their sphere of interaction expanded. The bully got bigger and meaner, but the deterrent kept working out and investing in his ability to maintain his presence in the now expanded community. While there were plenty of distractions that conflicted with his focus of maintaining his physical and mental strength, he would not lose focus. He continued to do tough workouts, maintain his focus, and look out for those around him. Other young people followed his leadership due to his genuine care, sacrifice and commitment. He made the most of the blessings afforded to him in life and invested in himself to give to others. His influence and deterrence never wavered, and the bullies at school were kept in their place. He seldom had to throw a punch because he was clearly someone that a bully did not want to engage.
It’s a real shame that the United States has apparently lost that place of deterrent on the world stage. We obviously have some bullies in the world today, and we need a strong deterrent. We don’t need more fighting, but we need to be a deterrent that is so tough and formidable that no one would want to challenge our position. It’s time to get serious now and realize that all of the partisan bickering and fighting is just weakening the country. While it’s fine to debate, discuss and bring different points of view, we need leaders to come together and focus on what’s best for the people and not pursue personal agendas.
When that bully comes at you, and you aren’t ready, all those internal fights over social programs, economic policies, environmental concerns and Supreme Court structures won’t matter much. When you are fighting for your mere existence, things take on a new perspective. Don’t wait for the fight to be at your front door to get yourself prepared. While we may have lost our position as a deterrent today, it’s not too late to refocus and start moving back that direction. Bullies won’t stop until they face a deterrent. The world needs a deterrent now!
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