The movie Braveheart stands as one of the classics of all time. Embodying the courage of William Wallace in his fight to overturn English rule over Scotland, the movie is a testimony to the power of an individual who is willing to risk it all for freedom.
In honor of those like Representative Tom Graves (R-Ga.), and Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who are battling both their own leaders (the Scottish noblemen) who fear for their position, as well as Obama and Harry Reid (the English), a few of the key lines from brilliantly written Braveheart are published below. Note while William Wallace was a historic figure, the lines come from the brilliant mind of screenwriter, Randall Wallace.
The first rule of the “noblemen” is explained in brutal honesty – survival. Never pick a fight where the battle must be joined with winners and losers, but instead find the middle where you can benefit the most.
Robert the Bruce’s Father: [the elder man stops laughing] It is time… to *survive*. You’re the seventeenth Robert Bruce. The sixteen before you passed you land and title because they *didn’t* charge in. Call a meeting of the nobles.
Robert the Bruce: But, they do nothing but talk.
Robert’s Father: Rightly so. They’re as rich in English titles and lands as they are in Scottish, just as we are. You admire this man, this William Wallace. Uncompromising men are easy to admire. He has courage; so does a dog. But it is exactly the ability to *compromise* that makes a man noble. And understand this: Edward Longshanks is the most ruthless king ever to sit on the throne of England. And none of us, and nothing of Scotland will remain, unless *we* are as ruthless. Give ear to our nobles. Knowing their minds is the key to the throne.
Mel Gibson’s William Wallace succinctly defines the difference between the nobles and those who are willing to fight.
William Wallace to the nobles: There’s a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.
The nobles discover that their army/grassroots is unwilling to fight for them any longer.
William Wallace to the nobles: And if this is your army, why does it go?
Veteran: We didn’t come here to fight for them!
Also, William Wallace explains the place of the nobles to Robert the Bruce who he admires.
Robert the Bruce: I’m not a coward. I want what you want, but we need the nobles.
William Wallace: We need them?
Robert the Bruce: Aye.
William Wallace: Nobles.
William Wallace: Now tell me, what does that mean to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don’t follow titles, they follow courage. Now our people know you. Noble, and common, they respect you. And if you would just lead them to freedom, they’d follow you. And so would I.
William Wallace seeks to encourage Robert the Bruce to join the fight even though the odds against winning seem overwhelming.
Robert the Bruce: Now, you’ve achieved more than anyone ever dreamed. But, fighting these odds, it looks like rage, not courage.
William Wallace: It’s well beyond rage. Help me. In the name of Christ, help yourselves. Now is our chance. Now. If we join, we can win. If we win, well then we’ll have what none of us has ever had before: a country of our own.
Looking into the face of a well-armed enemy, who they have been told cannot be beaten, the grassroots begin to become faint of heart.
Young Soldier: Home! The English are too many!
…William Wallace: I *am* William Wallace! And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny. You’ve come to fight as free men… and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?
Veteran: Fight? Against that? No! We will run. And we will live.
William Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!
I bet you thought this speech delivered riding on horseback back and forth in front of the army was longer.
Robert the Bruce ends up betraying William Wallace and all he stood for, but in his overwhelming regret he seeks redemption.
Robert the Bruce: I have nothing. Men fight for me because if they do not, I throw them off my land and I starve their wives and children. Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk fought for William Wallace. He fights for something that I never had. And I took it from him when I betrayed him. I saw it in his face on the battlefield and it’s tearing me apart.
Robert’s Father: All men betray. All lose heart.
Robert the Bruce: I don’t want to lose heart! I want to believe as he does… I will never be on the wrong side again.
There is a nobility in fighting the impossible battle, and sometimes you even win. History is replete with heroes who risked everything to lead their people to freedom. Some names, like William Wallace and George Washington, we know. Most history has forgotten.
But the most important point for those who are fighting this political battle over Obamacare and the direction of our nation need to remember is that no one remembers the names of the nobles who compromise freedom for their own little piece of grass.
No one respects the ‘leader’ who declares the battle lost before a single person has seen the field.
And no one follows the self-important who have forgotten the very trust that they were given and the people who provided it.
William Wallace was turned over to King Edward Longshanks and tortured in the hope he would disavow the rebellion. With his last breath yelling “FREEDOM” for all to hear – a truly noble man.
Hollywood’s heroes, like William Wallace, resonate because deep down people want leaders who fearlessly strive for what they believe, and not noblemen who are noble in name only. The people want larger than life figures who will fight for them. And ultimately, they want leaders they can trust so they can live their lives, raise their children and enjoy their limited time on this green earth free from worry about an avaricious government.
Today’s noblemen of D.C. face choices in these upcoming weeks that will stay with them for a lifetime. Obamacare will either be implemented or it will be gutted.
While some may take the Braveheart analogy as too simplistic, it will be impossible to explain the nuances of the day to someone a few years from now unable to access health care because of the Obamacare doctor shortage.
Now is when the decision is made and there will be no turning back. It is time for Republicans to choose whether they will claim their historic legacy as our nation’s freedom party, or if they will recede into the history books replaced by those who are willing to take the mantle of freedom fighter from them.
I pray for courage for them, so they don’t run from this historic battle for our nation’s future.
Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government.