By Valerie Maez
What is it that creates courage inside a person that they are willing to assume a risk against
diminishing chances of success? Webster’s unabridged dictionary defines courage as:
1. The quality of mind, or spirit that enables one to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. with
3. have the courage- to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
There is a school of thought that courage resides in everyone based on the primal instinct of
self preservation. One fights to survive. Or to defend their offspring or mate. I think those
individuals who subscribe that to courage are confusing the fight or flight instinct with courage
itself. Courage requires an assessment of a given situation, and a decision to act based on
one’s belief system. Sad, as it may be, some lack a belief in anything, beyond self-interest. A
belief system that considers all decision making to be centered only on what is best for the
individual is the very definition of narcissism. That pretty much eliminates those individuals
actions from being courageous.
Corporate raiders of Wall Street often portray their actions as having the courage to be
decisive and take action. No. Their actions may be assertive, and audacious, but they lack
benevolence, which is a prerequisite to acting with courage. They are driven by self-interest,
no matter how much money they may eventually contribute to charitable causes in order to
provide a veneer of respectability to their lives. That is not to say all Wall Street investors are
corporate raiders, but the financial industry has its bad actors and real consequences for
transgressions seem fleeting.
It has been particularity difficult these last few years for many of us that believe in
independence and freedom. These are the kind of times that try our souls, with no guarantee
that people of good faith will be rewarded. To quote a country song, it seems like the devil is
dealing the cards. There is plenty of government and non profit money flowing around if your
willing to dance to their tune. Jesse M. Unruh, a California State Assembly Speaker who
served in Word War 2, once famously said of government and lobbyists, “If you can’t eat their
food, drink their booze, screw their women, take their money, and then vote against them,
you have no business being up here.” Perhaps a bit graphic, but relevant to the basic
problem of so many of today’s status quo leadership. They vote the way the money flows. I
know a very snarky person who likes to say that life is a contact sport. To quote a line from
another popular Country song, “he’s got cards he ain’t showing.”
There is no problem that America cannot solve, if her people will find the courage and will
power to step up and face them. The summer of 2020 saw cars and trucks driving Main Street
in Cortez on Saturday mornings participating in a grassroots display of patriotism to counter
the riots in cities across the Country by Black Lives Matter organizers. It didn’t take long for
that crowd to thin. Some probably were just wanting to be a part of something that was
happening. Others, perhaps became fearful of a narrative being spun about the Montezuma
Patriots in local media, who have clearly displayed a bias. Also, never under-estimate the
power of a negative whisper campaign that appeals to the worst side of human nature.
The week of December 6th, Sherry Simmons, one of the co-founders of the Montezuma Patriots, went on trial on a charge of harassment and following of Black Live Matters provocateurs. She was found not guilty of that charge. Deputy District Attorney Will Furse, who served two terms as Montezuma County District Attorney before being term limited and who failed to convince voters to grant him an extension for a third term, announced he was challenging Judge JenniLynn Lawerence rulings during the trial. He plans to re-file the charge against Sherry Simmons. No word on whether the actual elected D.A. agrees with this action.
Courage in the face of criticism.