Last week, we were with some friends and the topic of good movies came up.  One of the movies that made it into the discussion was, “Darkest Hour.”  If you are not familiar with the movie, it depicts the events leading up to Great Britain’s evolvement into World War II.  The current British Prime Minister at the time,  Neville Chamberlain is no longer the right man for the job and although Lord Halifax is his most likely successor, he realizes that he is not the right man for the job.  It is Winston Churchill who becomes the new Prime Minister. Parliament is ready to negotiate with Adolph Hitler as his forces head into Western Europe.  Churchill knows that negotiating with an evil foe is not the right course of action and he is careful in his consideration as to what is necessary of his country which is still feeling the after affects of WWI.  he weighs the options and there is a scene in the movie where he takes the train and talks to everyday British citizens to listen to their thoughts.  Whether this scene actually took place or not, I do not know as the director could have added it for affect, however, Churchill convinces his colleagues that there is no other choice for Britain. The rest is all history.  Had Britain not had the attitude, “Don’t Back Up,Don’t Back Down,”  the map of Europe as we know it, could have looked much different and many wonder if most of Europe maybe have become German speaking and who knows what kind of government would have been in control if Hitler has succeeded in his conquest of Europe and would he have had an even farther reach.  The thought of how the war would have gone is frightening.  Just think back to your history classes and what was going on, how people were treated.  War is violent not just for those fighting it but for those innocent citizens left as collateral.  Any person was fair game for German/Nazi soldiers.  Read any of the accounts of how citizens suffered from rounding up women and children into a churches and setting them, on fire, to taking over a convent in the French countryside and abuse of the nuns to children and pregnant women used along the way. Having fought in the trenches of WWI, Winston Churchill know the cost and knew the gamble involved to his people, but he also imagined what might be if they didn’t engage or DID back up and back down.

    The phrase, "Don't Back Up, Don't Back Down," is a line from the Jason Aldean song, “That’s the Only Way I Know.”  The song refers to the American spirit of the small towns in the south, many of which are farming communities with hardworking people who just don’t quit until the job gets done.  That phrase also applies to many hard working Americans across the country…

At the Country Music Awards a few years back, Luke Bryan and Eric Church each sang a verse along with Jason Aldean of his hit song.

“Well, I grew up in one of them old farm towns

Where they hit it hard 'til the sun goes down

Nobody really seemed to care

That we were living in the middle of nowhere

We just figured that's how it was

And everybody else was just like us

Soaking in the rain baking in the sun

Don't quit 'til the job gets done

That's the only way I know

Don't stop 'til everything's gone

Straight ahead, never turn round

Don't back up, don't back down

Full throttle, wide open

You get tired and you don't show it

Dig a little deeper when you think you can't dig no more

That's the only way I know”

-From Jason’s Aldean’s “That’s the Only Way I Know”

Written by Ben Hayslip and David Lee Murphy

    Interestingly, Tom Petty’s song, “Don’t Back Down,” has a similar meaning.  Petty and Jeff Lynne wrote the song after Tom and his family were the victims of arson when their house was caught on fire. Incidentally, they never were able to identify the arsonist.  Tom his  family were traumatized and the song was his way of dealing with not letting the bad feelings he experienced prevent him from moving forward in life. Tom Petty died the day after Jason Aldean performed at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas when a shooter opened fire on the concert goers. Ironically, shortly after, Aldean was invited to be a guest on on Saturday Night Live and her performed Tom Petty’s song, “Don’t  Back Down" as  a tribute to Tom and the victims of the shooting during Aldean's concert in Vegas.

   Throughout history, there have been numerous moments when individuals, groups or nations have had to exercise the “Don’t Back Up, Don’t Back Down” attitude. Looking back, one could see this attitude from the inception of the United States, when it was just a far off land, referred to as “the new world.”  The Pilgrims and early settlers came to pursue religious freedom.  They wouldn’t back down when it came to their faith, even if it meant leaving their home country and what they knew.  It was worth getting on a ship to go to an unknown land for their freedom. Then think of the colonists, fed up with King George and the heavy arm of the British Crown.  They fought a war for freedom. The war was long and hard fought, but the colonists, “Would not back down,” and that attitude won the war and their independence from Britain.  About one hundred years later, the Civil War was fought for freedom for all, to end slavery. Since then, there have been even more battles, such as the battle for the right of women to vote and the battle for equal opportunities for all. Anything worth achieving may involve ruffling some feathers. Sometimes it’s not a full blown war or battle, but just a moment that calls for not backing up from what one believes or not backing down.

Ronald Regan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher were not only the leaders of their country, but were all considered statesmen as well.

    The battles and causes a society goes through are taken on and fought by people who want more and want better for their futures and for that of their children.  Sometimes these battles can be fought with civility through debate and discussion.  It takes maturity and mutual respect for these controversial causes to be successful.  Skilled statesmen (or women) have successfully maneuvered these waters without war, think Ronald Regan, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev, to name just a few.  The word, “Statesman” is seldom used these days.  It’s a word that comes to mind when thinking of the Founding Fathers, as in someone who takes a break from their profession or business to serve their time in the service of wisdom for their country.  One who has logged life experience in their chosen field or profession, managed a business/practice, had to make payroll, work with regulations and laws to make a living, well understands how an economy works and is well versed in what has success and what doesn’t.  Individuals with this experience in all facets of life would make excellent leaders, legislatures and jurists in our government, bringing their wisdom and knowledge to the table for a designated term to serve the country and then at which time, a new crop of experienced individuals could serve their time. To make these rolls not a career, but to keep fresh individuals who could give the country THE BEST in terms of experience, knowledge and wisdom.

    For a country’s success, smart and well-informed  citizens are necessary to vote for qualified leaders.  A press that tells all the news in a fair and balanced manner, uncensored is crucial.  Curious reporters who look to uncover corruption and illegal activity are valued and imperative. For a media to hide facts about an institution or candidate is criminal as is spreading falsehoods and should involve penalty or loss of employment.  This bad behavior is best to be discouraged and frowned upon. Likewise, for a leader or political party to be allow to silence or wage criminal charges against their opponent is wrong and unlawful.

    Unavoidable for a country’s safety and security is law enforcement who can do their job with penalty for those who do wrong, break laws or harm citizens.  Law enforcement should be able to do their job without one hand tied behind their back, with equal enforcement of the law for all citizens, no matter who they are.  Lady Justice is blind folded and anyone NOT abiding by that should be removed or disbarred from their job.

    Our Constitution is the rule book and the book of law for our country not merely a suggestion.  It is the greatest instruction manual for a governing body written by man.  It has stood the test of time and has provisions for  the most difficult of circumstances.  It takes strong citizens to have the attitude of “Don’t Back Up, Don’t Back Down” when it comes to these issues for the success of a society. It is for each and all to do their part at the level they are able to, to protect a society, whether it is reading and researching to vote the most qualified people into office, serving one’s time utilizing their skills or giving of their time in applicable ways. Not doing so could be the end of the freedoms and life we know if we sit back and do nothing.

As Dan Bongino says, “Cutesy time is over.”  We may be in a battle that we don’t yet realize the magnitude of until it’s too late.  Consider what you believe and what’s right and what’s wrong. It matters! It’s time to draw the line.  Our future as a country and the future of our children and grandchildren will pay the consequences of the choices we make.  Churchill knew the consequences of his choices and the long term affects, we just may be at similar precipice.  Are you ready?  Will you back up and back down?  I sure hope not.

Dan Bongino is a former Secret Service Agent and the host of The Dan Bongino Show daily from noon-three.