Do, or Do Not, There is No Try

Can Do! Give it the old college try. I’ll take a shot at it. Swing for the cheap seats. Give it your best. Go for it. I think I can, I think I can.

What do all these sayings have to do with one another? They are all about the American Spirit. They are all about what makes America great. Where would we be if we didn’t give it a shot? To make the attempt? And even to go down swinging, if necessary? One of the greatest children’s stories, The Little Engine That Could (also known as the Little Blue Train), teaches our children to strive for what they want, and to never give up. There are shelves full of books about positive attitudes out there. Are there any books about thinking negatively? It is easy to be negative and give up. It is much harder to think positive and go for it.

What is it about the American Spirit that drives us to attempt the difficult or impossible? To go for it when the odds are stacked against us? We have so many examples throughout our brief history. What if the Pilgrims said "nay, that would be too hard, what with crossing the sea and starting a new life in uncharted lands?"

Look at some other examples. Lewis and Clarke braving the unknown lands. Benjamin Franklin standing out in a thunderstorm with a kite. Taking on the greatest military power on Earth for our Freedom. Twice (don’t forget the War of 1812). The Confederates taking on the might of the Union. Yes, they lost. But the spirit of trying was in them. Taking on WWI and WWII. They said that the Panama Canal could never happen. Douglas MacArthur’s maneuver at Inchon, a huge gamble. The Manhattan Project was supposed to be impossible. And folks just giving it a try. Thomas Edison. FDR running the country while in a wheel chair with polio. JFK pledging to go to the moon. It is the American spirit to "go for it." To make the attempt, despite the consequences.

Where does this leave us today? We have a party, the Democrats, that do not want to try. They mock President Bush for attempting to bring Freedom to the People of Iraq. They mock his inaugural speech for discussing bringing Freedom to those countries that do not have it. Where is their spirit? They would rather cower in the dark, worried about attempting the difficult or impossible. Worried about world opinion. Worried about looking bad. Worried about failure. If you do not try, you cannot succeed. Perhaps the Iraq elections will not succeed, in whole or part. Maybe they will be a failure. But, where would we be, and who would we be, if we weren’t like the little engine that could, saying "I think I can, I think I can"?


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