The Heart of Courage

After yesterday, I was inspired to look up the etymology of the word courage. It stems from the latin “cor” which means heart. The word has been around since at least the 1300’s.

The heart/courage connection makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The two have been intertwined throughout history. We say, “She had the heart of a lion.” Being told you have a brave heart is a great compliment indeed. “Take heart, my friends,” means have courage in the face of adversity. Follow your heart.

The reason I am thinking of this right now is that it took great courage, yesterday, for all those representatives to vote to impeach Trump after having been locked in rooms for hours, clutching gas masks, while a mob was trying to get to them, many of whom talked of lynching and other forms of assassination. They could hear the guards screaming in pain as they were attacked. They could hear glass breaking and doors breaking and gun shots.

I would have been terrified. Americans usually don’t experience threats to their lives in their homeland, especially as perpetuated by fellow Americans. (Well, unless you count those who are forced to walk among fools who refuse to wear masks in public in the midst of a pandemic.)

When the congressmen emerged, it was to see destruction and theft and death and hate symbols and defecation. It was to see that one of the most honored buildings in this country had been trashed. It was to learn that they weren’t adequately protected, and things could have ended even more horrifically than they did. Whether they realize it or not, I’m sure that the entire congress now has PTSD, and that’s going to back up on them sooner or later.

And yet, those representatives showed up yesterday, to the very room that they had to be rushed out of during the insurrection. They impeached Trump. That took guts for miles.

Yeah, nothing will probably come of it. The senate isn’t cooperating, and there’s not much time left (thank God). But the importance of recording, for all the generations to come, that insurrection is outrageous and unconscionable, made them act, despite knowing that there are people out there who will surely want them to die for it. It took a great deal of courage, indeed.

I particularly admire the 10 republicans who chose to do the right thing. Not only are they risking their lives but also their livelihood. They will be the focus of hate for acting based on facts and their personal integrity, even if it meant they were forced to go against the majority of their peers. It takes a lot to speak truth to power. What heart! What courage!

I couldn’t be more impressed if I were twins. Even though we’ve seen the worst of America during that riot, perhaps there is hope for us yet. I’m heartened by that. Very heartened, indeed.

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2 thoughts on “The Heart of Courage

  1. Lyn

    Americans usually don’t experience threats to their lives in their homeland, especially as perpetuated by fellow Americans? Speaking truth to power… are we leaving out Americans of color who live with threats to their lives as a rule, or forgetting the millions of American domestic abuse or school shooting victims for whom each day of life in their homeland might mean death at the hands of a fellow American? For many of them, just surviving another day is an act of courage. Threats to American lives in America are much more common than we’d like to admit. Maybe that’s why the very public courage, that the majority of congress displayed, was so unique and hopeful for a country that has been in denial, for too long, about the daily threats to it’s citizens lives, on so many levels. Sadly, I fear, we’ve haven’t seen the worst of America during that riot. Ignoring this reality is what got us here. Those Congressional advocates set the example and it’s up to each of us to honor their bravery by following it. Standing up and addressing it is a positive first step, but hope and faith without personal action rings hollow. We all need some durable, comfortable walking shoes because it’s a long road, and many steps, to get to the ideal, pretty picture we’ve painted ourselves as.

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