I was at a NASCAR race this weekend, and I had a firefighter come up to me. And he said, "Glenn, I want to talk to you for a minute." I said, sure. He said, "I'm one of your founding members of Mercury One. He said, I was in one of your cities... and I'm ‑‑ I'm one of the first guys. I want to be the first on the scene to provide help. Which you've ‑‑ you know, what Mercury One was done has really been tremendous (but the country is) on fire. And people are becoming more and more angry, and I don't see what you're doing. You're asking us to what? Is there no time ever to stand up? I asked him a simple question: Why is America great? He paused for a moment. What is it? Is it our banks? Is it our ingenuity? Has it been our work ethic? What is it that made America great? He responded "her people," and he's right. The goodness of her people.
We have been led to a place to where we hate each other and despise each other's view. We can't even sit in the same room with each other anymore. We can't have a civilized conversation.
I talked to somebody just last week who said, I have a gun; my neighbor doesn't. And I'll tell ya if my neighbor ever asks for help, I don't think I'm going over to help him. I said, excuse me? Said, "It's his responsibility. And beyond that, I'm not sure that I wouldn't be arrested for something on his property. So I'm not going to be arrested on his property. So I'm not going to help him. " That's a bad sign.
The reason why I am asking you to be more charitable than any audience has ever been ‑‑ no audience has ever been this charitable. No audience. I was just in New York. We wrote another $400,000 check to another hospital in New York so they can repair some of the damages that happened at Sandy. No audience has ever done this. You are the best of America. Why? Why would I ask you to do that? Because we're in training, quite honestly. If you go back and you look at Martin Luther King and you see what Martin Luther King did, there was political apparatus around him, but he was not a political figure. He was not asking you to be political. He was asking the American people to be decent. When he went and he was speaking around the country, he said during the bus boycotts, while preaching to the black congregations all over the South, quote: We will never gain the respect of white people in the South or anywhere else if we're willing to trade our children's future for our own personal comfort and safety. We are in the same dilemma. We are facing the same things.
So how did he do it? Civil rights. But more than civil rights, they weren't just marching for civil rights. Every union can do that. They marched with love and charity, and they marched, they marched to and through the very gates of hell. If you look back at the pictures, you can see even Martin Luther King was frightened. But they held onto each other. And more importantly, they held onto God and their humanity. The world is going to spiral out of control, and if we do not practice "love thy neighbor," if we do not practice "love those that hate you," at this point if we can't do it now, we never will. And we lose. We lose in a spectacular fashion. We must not allow this to happen.
Our freedom was handed to us. It's not going to be handed to our children. We have to earn it. And they're going to have to earn it. 1783 the war had virtually ended in October of 1781. Cornwallis was defeated at Yorktown. But on March 10th, 1783, the Continental army under George Washington had a list of grievances, people who had been left to die, people who hadn't been paid. They didn't have any shoes. They had nothing. They were betrayed by their congress. No food. Congress had no action on trying to pay them. March 10th was the day that he was given a piece of paper. On it was a written call for a meeting of a general and the field officers the next day and among this call was an anonymous letter circulated among the officers in the camp, a fiery appeal, later known as the Newburgh Address, an unsigned document that urged the officers that unless their demands were met, they should refuse to disband when the war ended. And that if the war continued, they would retire to some unsettled country and leave congress without an army. The next day, the next day the general issued general orders denouncing the irregular invitation and the disorderly proceedings. He was saddened.
On the 15th he faced the prospect of a military coup. They had beaten the most fierce army on the planet: The British. The Navy. They had no chance of ever winning. They won. And now they were being treated like garbage by their own country.
It's my favorite story of George Washington. He walked into the proceedings where he wasn't invited. He was beloved, but everybody was angry with him. "You won't let us fight. We can fight. We should fight. They betrayed us."
Washington had just gotten back from congress where he had somebody just write anything on a piece of paper that said, "We're still working on it. Give us more time." As he walked into the room, he reached into his pocket where he had this letter. He fumbled over a few words and sentences, but he couldn't see because his eyes were growing weak. He put on his glasses and he said, gentlemen, quote, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find myself growing blind.
He took the oxygen out of the room. No one had ever seen him in his glasses. No one had ever seen him as weak and old and tired. Nobody had really thought what he had given up for the country. He folded the paper back up unread, put it in his pocket, took off his glasses and walked out of the room without saying a word. The coup ended.
I wish I could tell you the rest of the story is everybody got what they deserved, but they didn't. Congress still behaved like congress. When the war officially ended, George Washington was pretty much alone. His troops were still angry at him, but he did the right thing.
It is our turn to do the right thing. I'm going to ask you to join me on a journey this week this is what I believe I have been working toward since we were in Washington and it is one that I have prayed that it would go away. And a few months ago I received a feeling in my prayers, "You're blowing it, dude." But that's okay. I will find someone else. I don't want to do it. But the idea of not honoring a commitment that, when asked, I will serve Him, is more than I can bear. And so I will serve.
There are political reasons to do a whole bunch of stuff, but what I am going to ask you to join me has nothing to do with politics. It simply has everything to do with what's right and what's wrong. It simply has to do with the rights that we all found self‑evident, that we were all endowed by our Creator. We were given them, and no one can take them away. Our children, our grandchildren will remember us if we stand and if we stand in peace. There will be others that will work the political process.
When I was in Israel, somebody said to me, "Now Glenn, how does this work on the political process?" And I told them, "I have no idea. That's not why I'm here." I have no idea how things work politically, but I do know this: If we lose the love for one another, the willingness to embrace one another, if we lose the principles and the values that we all knew they were part of us on 9/12, if we lose what makes us Americans and we already have, on my way to Oklahoma to serve people, the things that people wrote. We're Americans in a time of crisis, all of us, all colors, all creeds, all income levels, all of us. We're brothers and we're sisters, and God will not hold us guiltless. Not to stand is to stand. Not to speak is to speak. I will speak, and I would ask that you would join your voice or allow me to join my voice with yours.