On This The Day After

There is so much post-election noise being generated. Rightfully and at times vibrantly so, but it can be disheartening because while the democrats nurse their wounds and talk about “listening” to the voters and the republicans trumpet their collective victory as a mandate for change, it’s just sounds like so much hooey.

It’s hard to envision any change, at least not the kind that’s constructive and bipartisan. The next two years look like they’re going to devolve into both parties combating each other and pointing at the other side as the “party of no.”

Which leaves me feeling pretty glum and exhausted by and about it all.  And on this the day after I got on a plane and flew to San Antonio for a business trip. Around the corner from my hotel is a little place called The Alamo — a literal shrine to heroes and to liberty. And on that hallowed ground is a plaque featuring a letter from the post’s commander William B Travis. It was a call to arms and a plea for support and assistance, and a defiant refusal to surrender.

Across 175 years, standing before the chapel within which the last defenders were killed by General Santa Anna’s troops, Travis’ powerful words spoke to me directly, moved me deeply and helped dial down the volume of all the post-election hooey by reminding me that despite our political differences, first and foremost we are Americans:

Commandancy of the Alamo

Bejar Fby. 24th 1836

To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world

Fellow citizens & compatriots I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a Surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the wall. I shall never Surrender or retreat.

Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & every thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is  receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his
country. Victory or Death

William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt