The Fifth Crucible

A nation that does not honor truth becomes a footnote in history, and adds itself to the long list of failed civilizations.

Webster’s definition of a crucible is a severe, searching test or trial. There are many biblical references to the refining of the Lord’s word or a society’s character through the purification process of a crucible. The United States of America, four times in its history, has gone through a challenge of circumstances that tested who we were as a people. In the process, our ancestors were forced to explore their core beliefs. In surviving the crucible, they were required to determine the extent of sacrifice they were willing to render for the munificence of the generations. Those were our times of a crucible. There have been four of them.

Each time our ancestors went through the crucible, on the one hand they established principles for which they were willing to die. And on the other hand, the result of their courage to withstand the crucible produced a lasting legacy that benefited the world.

The first crucible of our country was in 1776 when the colonists declared independence from Great Britain. By this action, the principles the patriots sought were freedom and that birth was not destiny. They in actuality were challenging the existing world order. This was not something that came about casually. There was great debate. There was conflict of ideas. There was consternation in pursuit of purpose. There was great angst about the future. They confronted and stood against the greatest power on earth at the time. Victory by no means was predictable. The result of their courage was the implementation of the Constitution. Its framework for freedom benefited the world. 

The second crucible that our country faced was in 1860 when our nation dissolved into civil war. Again, in the events leading up to war, there was tremendous emotion about conflicts of culture and perceived ways of life. Societies imbedded inside the United States could not, for their own sake, see through the fog of obfuscation. They failed to yield to a cause greater than themselves and fell into the pit of selfish, self-seeking conflict. They refused to see how much they had in common in principle. It was a time when the leaders of our country could see no resolve or reconciliation except through war. The union survived; freedom was advanced. And the result of the strife was the abolition of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation which benefited the world.

The third crucible that the United States confronted was World War II. Evil incarnate threatened the world. It was a time of great fear, for the very essence of freedom was at stake in the horror. America sacrificed as a nation, person-to-person, to support the effort to defeat Nazism. It required total commitment. Our country, along with its allies, proved once again that when people march together, anything is possible if principle is their motivation. As a result of the victory, the United States became a world leader economically, politically, and militarily. The U.S. Dollar became the world’s reserve currency. Economic stability took root which benefited the world.

The fourth crucible was a new challenge to the United States. As a result of the Korean and Vietnam wars, America questioned its own identity. Who were we as a people? There were protests of the draft, Wall Street, and the integrity of the leadership of our government. Again, we survived the test. As a result of this challenge, the United States became more sensitive to civil rights, women’s rights, and equality in the workforce. A reexamination of the judicial process and a complete review of foreign policy took place. As a result, the United States by example proved to be a shining light for due process and equal protection under the law benefiting the world.

The definition of a sovereign crucible is when the people are required to question the status quo, who they are as a society, and what they want from their government. There have been many momentous events in U.S. history: the Louisiana Purchase, the War of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine, the Industrial Revolution, establishment of the Federal Reserve, World War I, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the technological revolution, and the globalization of the world economy to name a few. But none of these events were crucibles in that they manifested a process wherein America’s citizens redefined or recommitted to principles in which they believed and were forced to reflect inwardly on the definition of their character.

The United States now finds itself facing its fifth crucible. It is a culmination of all prior tests. We question as a society Congressional leadership, Wall Street executives, the intent of our foreign policy, religious liberty, economic equality, the value of life, the definition of family, and the purpose of the generations. There is no consensus for the moral authority of our own President. Resolution seems impossible. The debate is intractable. There is no call for a cause greater than ourselves.

In the Revolutionary War, our forefathers established freedom. In the Civil War they expanded freedom. In WWII they protected freedom. In the Korean and Vietnam Wars, they advanced freedom. The culmination of the process of this next crucible will define us as a nation for eternity. Now is the hour in history for our generation to service and maintain freedom.

In all defining moments of history, ultimate achievement depends upon commitment and joint sacrifice of all. Commitment emanates from a belief in eternal principles. Sacrifice emanates from the courage to defend these principles at all cost. In every great trial that our great country has encountered, ultimately, society pulled together in one effort to seek a cause greater than themselves for the inheritance of their children. Without cause, without principle, without courage, a society is reduced to a minor tributary on the main river of life. A nation that does not honor truth becomes a footnote in history, and adds itself to the long list of failed civilizations.

There is no threat from ISIS, no racial turmoil, no economic fear, no clash of cultures that we cannot resolve through principles that bind us rather than policy that divides us.

Once again, the world seeks leadership – leadership by action and leadership by example. The United States has always passed the test of the crucible and left a lasting remnant of a principled foundation for the benefit of the world.

It is not just that our forefathers and our ancestors passed on to us a more prosperous life. They passed on to us the integral elements of character. To them, nothing else mattered but the nurturing of freedom. This is our generation’s time to continue the tradition of facing the crucible, maintaining freedom, and providing leadership for the benefit of the world.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?