top of page


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

firmness and

without fear.

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.

87 views0 comments


bottom of page