This week’s Friday56 choice is…
Happy Friday !
Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw is a formidable book that delves into the former Navy SEAL’s hardships. More importantly, it explains how he overcame those hardships and challenges, something the current Texas Congressman applies to American society. This book isn’t about the challenges, but about the solutions.
The titles for each chapter explain how Americans can find the strength to handle everything from daily frustrations to difficult hardships. The introduction, “Stay Outraged,” to the conclusion, “The Story of America,” shows how people must navigate their life with humor, a sense of duty, respect, and perseverance.
For a little perspective, the first chapter delves into his injuries. Having served as a Navy Seal for a decade, Lt. Commander Crenshaw was wounded in the Helmand Province in 2012, losing his right eye and requiring multiple surgeries to save his left eye. He earned two Bronze Star Medals, one with Valor, the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in November 2018, where he represents the Second Congressional District of Texas.
With Mother’s Day recently, it was heartwarming to read his feelings about his mother who died after battling cancer for years. In the book he writes, “Going from kindergarten to 4th grade knowing that your mother is dying, that the center of a small boy’s world is collapsing is an experience I wouldn’t want to wish on anyone. But from this grief came learning. I got to experience the nature of a true hero, and the example she set was the most powerful fortifying and selfless thing I’ve ever seen, including in combat. Lying helpless in a hospital bed, I had to wonder whether my mother had asked the same desperate question I was currently asking – would I ever see my family again? I figured that if she could suffer through that question and the unknowable answer, so could I. My mother spent a half decade staring death in the face, burdened with caring for two small boys whom she would not live to see grow up. She lived day to day in ever-increasing pain. The cancer afflicted her, and the cancer treatments afflicted her, too. Six rounds of chemotherapy on top of radiation treatments are a brutal experience for even the strongest constitution. Self-pity is never a useful state. But if anyone had a reason to feel sorry for herself, it was her, and she never complained.”
Congressman Crenshaw told American Thinker, “Perspective is important. I had to live through blindness, but my mother definitely had it worse. The book is dedicated to my mom and wife. She was the first true sign of strength that I looked up to as a young boy. After being diagnosed with cancer when I as five, she died when I was ten. She never complained, never had self-pity, and she never saw herself as a victim. Those values were instilled in my brother and myself.”
Another important lesson can be applied to all Americans who are going through the COVID 19 pandemic, where the world’s fortitude comes to mind. This book quote is very applicable, “The most devastating mental state I could ever wish upon someone is a sense of helplessness, a sense that they are not in control of themselves or their destiny.” Sound familiar?
He directly commented, “I hope people see that what is required is mental toughness, honesty, and the ability to confront risk head on. The Queen of England’s public address really stuck with me when she said, ‘I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.’”
Furthermore, he writes “What I took out of that, something I wrote about in my book, is being a victor instead of a victim. To be helpless, to change your circumstances, is to totally disempowered, and to be disempowered is to be resentful, depressed, and unable to succeed. It’s akin to being a bystander in your own life.”
Protesters of the lockdown in some states are basically saying this. According to Crenshaw, “This gets to the issue of personal responsibility, where people advocate to control their own destiny. The problem with some states is that the Governors are putting forth rules that do not make any sense to these people. There is a need to balance the lockdown with some reasonable measures.”
A book quote applies to what is happening with the #MeToo Movement, “It is about the outrage culture, and the newfound tendency to reflexively assume the worst of intentions when reacting to news or commentary or political discourse, and default into an emotionally driven hatred of the ‘other.’” It is interesting how many Conservatives support due process, while the Democrats support the individual depending if the accused is Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or presumptive Democratic Nominee Joe Biden. The Hawaiian senator is also one of those who’ve loudly proclaimed that all women accusers must be believed, without question, throwing due process out the window, and infamously asserting, “I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.” Not to mention, all the top Democratic VP prospects, all of whom are women, and are unable to rationalize their earlier stances with Kavanaugh versus the accusations against Biden.
The Congressman stated, “I do agree there is a clear hypocrisy. People are not consistent. Is there hypocrisy among politicians, sometimes? It always seems to apply to the other side, but not to theirs. Yes, there are biases. Honest debate makes us better, but this does not always happen. Character assassination is not a substitute for ideas.”
Asked about the SNL incident where Pete Davidson made fun by saying, “This guy is kind of cool, Dan Crenshaw. You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie. I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever…” Crenshaw’s reply was calm, “Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.” He was then asked to come on SNL where Davidson apologized.
Why was his reaction so measured? “In that case it was clear he was going after Republicans and it was politically biased. But it wasn’t clear he hates wounded veterans. Where our culture falls short is that people assume there might not be good intentions, assuming the worst of intentions. The reason they asked me to come on is because of how I reacted. Instead of acting as the outraged victim, I chose my own narrative. I did not want to express self-pity and to blame others.”
One of the chapters is entitled, “Who Is Your Hero?” Why didn’t he name anyone? “For me, it is not about individuals to look up to because they can disappoint you, no one is perfect. But, to look at someone’s success to build a hero’s architect, not a person.”
He hopes readers will understand, “Establish a culture that can last with the need for individual liberty, equal opportunity, personal responsibility, and mental toughness. Do not accept a lesser version of yourself and be a victor as opposed to a victim. I think this book quote summarizes my feelings, ‘It is about the importance of building a society or iron-tough individuals who can think for themselves, take care of themselves, and recognize that a culture characterized by grit, discipline, and self-reliance is a culture that survives.”
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.
Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules for Life meets Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s Extreme Ownership in this tough-love leadership book from a Navy SEAL and rising star in Republican politics.
In 2012, on his third tour of duty, an improvised explosive device left Dan Crenshaw’s right eye destroyed and his left blinded. Only through the careful hand of his surgeons, and what doctors called a miracle, did Crenshaw’s left eye recover partial vision. And yet, he persevered, completing two more deployments. Why? There are certain stories we tell ourselves about the hardships we face — we can become paralyzed by adversity or we can adapt and overcome. We can be fragile or we can find our fortitude. Crenshaw delivers a set of lessons to help you do just that.Most people’s everyday challenges aren’t as extreme as surviving combat, and yet our society is more fragile than ever: exploding with outrage, drowning in microaggressions, and devolving into divisive mob politics. The American spirit — long characterized by grit and fortitude — is unraveling. We must fix it.That’s exactly what Crenshaw accomplishes with FORTITUDE. This book isn’t about the problem, it’s about the solution. And that solution begins with each and every one of us. We must all lighten up, toughen up, and begin treating our fellow Americans with respect and grace.
FORTITUDE is a no-nonsense advice book for finding the strength to deal with everything from menial daily frustrations to truly difficult challenges. More than that, it is a roadmap for a more resilient American culture. With meditations on perseverance, failure, and finding much-needed heroes, the book is the antidote for a prevailing “safety culture” of trigger warnings and safe spaces. Interspersed with lessons from history and psychology is Crenshaw’s own story of how an average American kid from the Houston suburbs went from war zones to the halls of Congress — and managed to navigate his path with a sense of humor and an even greater sense that, no matter what anyone else around us says or does, we are in control of our own destiny.