Courage Boys: A Man of the People

Courage Boys features stories to inspire and leave you feeling hopeful. Making a difference is not only possible, but something we’re all capable of accomplishing. These are the stories of ordinary people making the decision to be extraordinary with bravery, resilience and principle. This is Courage Boys.

A Man of the People

A young poet sat by a Paris window, watching the people below, and asking himself the dangerous questions for the time in which he lived. And then he wrote them.

He was a French celebrity at a time when wealth determined freedom. He had a bright future as one of France's greatest writers. The political landscape of France was changing, and the young man was put to use by the then-president Napoleon Bonaparte. One day, he was sent out among the people to plead the king's case to an angry group of poor protesters. He reasoned that France's president should instead be a king. But the people shouted him down.

The poet found he had no sway with the common man, and it affected his work. Around this time, he quit working on his novel. It seemed that he couldn't answer the question that he himself posed on page one, now a decade earlier.

The famous poet couldn't conjure enough passion for the oppressed. Napoleon Bonaparte continued to gain strength, and our poet, the now official state poet, became a celebrity endorser of sorts. One day he made his request of his powerful friend. He asked for a free press.

The request was rejected, and the poet realized something was wrong. That to speak would condemn him, but to remain silent would damn him.

He split from Napoleon Bonaparte and joined the people against the monarchy. Shortly after, Bonaparte led a coup d'etat and became the all-powerful king of France, known as Napolean III.

Overnight, the poet became an enemy of France and fled for his life. During his exile, his family fell apart, his daughter drowned, another ran away, his son was losing his sanity, and his wife left him.

Now, two decades had past since he started his novel, and the poet returned to that old manuscript. He returned to the question on page one that he had written as a bourgeoisie, looking down at the people.

Is that which is said of a man as important as the man's actual deeds? This time, the answers flowed. His empathy for both the rich and the poor, sinner and the saint, poured itself into the page.

A year later, the huge manuscript was finished, the poet, Victor Hugo, called it "Les Miserables."

The critics hated it, but it stirred the people. It was officially banned in France, yet everyone fought for their own secret copy. Publishers were scared of it. But Hugo urged them on, writing, "Certain men, certain castes rise in revolt against this book. I understand that. Mirrors, those revealers of truth are hated. That does not prevent them from being of use."

Napolean III died, and after nearly 20 years in exile, Victor Hugo returned to France. There he lived the rest of his days as a national icon. Hugo's funeral was one of the largest in French history. Over 2 million people lined the streets. He asked in his will to be buried in a pauper's coffin. And he was, in a little wooden box in the pantheon.

And so, courage, boys. For the wretched of this earth, there is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise.

Christmas has arrived early for mainstream media. They have their first sentencing of a major player in President Trump's inner circle. Yesterday, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan. How did it come to this and how did Cohen explain himself to the judge? We start there next…

President Trump's former attorney, 52-year-old Michael Cohen, is going to jail. Well, it will probably be one of those federal prison camps with a dorm that's more like a college campus. But he's going to be locked up. A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison for financial crimes, and two months for lying to Congress. He also ordered Cohen to pay $2 million in financial penalties. The judge called Cohen's misdeeds a "veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct."

RELATED: Michael Cohen's plea deal won't lessen Trump's support. Here's why.

The judge said:

As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better. While Mr. Cohen is taking steps to mitigate his criminal conduct by pleading guilty and volunteering useful information to prosecutors, that does not wipe the slate clean.

Cohen pled guilty in August to eight criminal charges in two different cases. One brought by special counsel Robert Muller for Cohen's lying to Congress about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow. The second was for bank-fraud, tax, and campaign finance violations brought by federal prosecutors in New York.

President Trump said recently that Cohen has simply been lying to get a reduced sentence for crimes that have nothing to do with him. Cohen was very emotional as he apologized to the judge, saying:

It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light. Time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass.

The left thinks that Cohen's sentencing marks the beginning of the end for Trump's presidency. They may be ultimately disappointed in that regard. But this does intensify the long national nightmare of the Muller investigation that seems to have no end in sight.

How long until we follow in Europe's footsteps?

JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/AFP/Getty Images

Christmas should be a time of happiness and celebration the world over. But in Europe, it is now the season of terror. The sounds at Europe's famous Christmas Markets of "Merry Christmas!" and laughter are rapidly being replaced with the sounds of "Allahu Ackbar!" and gunfire. Two years ago ISIS attacked a Christmas Market in Berlin, killing twelve and injuring another forty-eight. And tragically, the sound of automatic gunfire and the chant of "Allahu Ackbar!" was heard at another Christmas Market in Europe yesterday afternoon… this time in France.

Two people are dead and thirteen are battling for their lives right now in Strasbourg, France. The attacker walked into the city's Christmas Market shortly after 8pm, shouted "Allahu Ackbar" and began shooting indiscriminately. He then proceeded to battle the police in four separate locations while he fled the scene. As of this moment, he still hasn't been caught. The city of Strasbourg is on full lockdown, and France's terror level has been elevated.

RELATED: Paris pandemonium: Here's what happens when people feel ignored

A man of Middle Eastern descent has been identified as the suspect. He was already on a terror watchlist and had been deported from Germany recently with twenty criminal convictions. He's well known in Islamist circles and was reportedly radicalized after spending time in prison. Apparently he was too radical for the Germans… but not for France.

What is it going to take for progressive governments like France to wake up to their failed policies? Nearly 300 people have been killed in terror attacks in France over the past three years. 300 in three years! But despite that, the French government refuses to address immigration, they continue their open border policy and - more importantly - they refuse to listen to their people when they try and tell them that they're scared to death over this issue. Instead they get a lecture on Islamophobia… "that's the real problem."

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime.

This is one of the reasons why the Yellow Vests are tearing the country apart. The government refuses to listen to their fears on terrorism, unchecked immigration, open borders, the failing economy, high taxes and out of control spending. Wow... do these issues sound at all familiar? How many years behind France are we? Just listen to ourselves.

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime. People have lost the ability to engage in peaceful protest. Street demonstrations have turned into street brawls. Have you seen the images from places like Portland lately? European governments are losing the social contract with their people. After years of broken promises and outright lies from Washington, how long before that happens here?