Thursday, August 16, 2012

'More American Reserve Power'

This political season seems a good time to scroll back to a vintage ad first depicted on KintlaLake Blog here almost 18 months ago.

The year was 1919. The advertiser was Remington UMC, the campaign was "For Shooting Right" and post-war nationalism was the proud refrain. Remington placed a series of unapologetic ads in popular sportsmen's magazines like Outing and Forest and Stream.

The opening paragraphs of one of those ads -- "More American Reserve Power" -- should ring clear and true with every independent citizen-patriot:
"The strength that comes from the hills was never worth more in this country than it is today. Both to the man himself and to all about him.

"No poison-pollen of Old World imperialism gone to seed can contaminate -- nor any attempt of crowd-sickened collectivism undermine -- the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."
I can't get those words out of my head. While the current campaign for President of the United States insults my intelligence and promises to assault individual liberties, strangely it's the century-old work of a Remington copywriter that resonates.

The passage offers me no solutions, of course -- it's merely rhetorical refuge from my frustration with a government gone mad and a People gone to sleep.

In a 1788 letter to Col. Edward Carrington, a Virginia Delegate, Thomas Jefferson wrote,

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground. As yet our spirits are free."
I see a nexus between the Remington ad and Jefferson's letter. Without expressing resignation, both acknowledge the enemies of Liberty, and both celebrate the wellspring of true independence:
"...the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."

"...our spirits are free."
The key is this: Liberty resides in the individual spirit. Political winds may swirl around us and the burden of bureaucracy may bend our backs, but we remain Americans -- citizens of a nation, not subjects of its government.