Saturday, July 1, 2017

I Wonder What They Thought Would Happen?

Around about four-hundred years ago refugees, castaways, and a few members of the lower European nobility began getting shuttled off to America to get them out of the way.  They were usually those who had little potential for advancement, had differences with the organized Church, or were criminals the kings and queens wanted to get rid of without the mess of a beheading.
While this lot was not predominately criminal, as was the case with the settlement of Australia, the American migration did have its fair share.  From this pool of refugees, we somehow became a nation unlike any before us.  We took the strength, determination, and resilience of the common man and woman to forge a nation from a continent whose scope was unimaginable to those who remained in Europe. 
Along the way, as we expanded towards the great Pacific, we brought diseases that ravaged the natives.  In some cases, we learned to live together, but in many there was tremendous conflict as we came to dominate a land we viewed as our manifest destiny. 
Before that westward expansion could really get started we had to assert our independence from those who sought to rule from afar.  This began with the rebellious men and women in the Massachusetts colony who railed against the increasing taxes on imports from England and the troops necessary to enforce their collection.
I wonder if the men who made the decision to send their poor, their huddled masses, to the New World had any idea that within a hundred years or so we would grow to be a nation?
Now, some 241 years later, we are a mighty power who is struggling with the very problems we had in 1776.  What is the role of government, and can a government insulated from an increasingly polarized people rule effectively?
As we gather to celebrate our declaration to King George, and his Parliament, let us remember the words of Thomas Paine, whose work Common Sense helped fuel our rebellion in words the average man could understand.  In his work, The Age of Reason he offers advice I think worth your consideration on this holiday.
“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.”   
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

2 comments:

Mitch DeLaRosa said...

Hi, John. I too have been thinking about the Founders this 4th of July weekend who, as you posted yesterday, 241 years ago, were holed up in a hot, sweltering Philadelphia building hammering out the final details of a document that would change the world. As of late, I am fixated on the words I want my friends and neighbors to key on during our trying times: "...to secure these rights [of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness] governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." The "consent of the governed" is getting lost in the noise on TV these days. Like it or not, like HIM or not, on November 8th, 2016, the consent of the governed was to put Donald J. Trump, with all his talents, shortcomings, and bragodocio, into the Whitehouse to accomplish what he promised and also to start "draining the Swamp" in Washington D.C. Now "the Swampsters," be they national media, long term bureaucrats, Congressman, Senators, and their staffers, seem to be acting as if "the governed" got it wrong by electing Mr. Trump, and somehow it is their duty to "right the wrong" and work to throw him out of office or at least cripple him politically so much that in the next election, "the governed" will GET IT RIGHT. By doing so, the Swampers show absolute contempt for the document we honor this 4th of July. They wrap themselves in the Flag and embrace democracy in their words, but their actions broadcast in ear-piercing volume that an oligarchy where THEY control the action is the best way to go.

John said...

Thank you Mitch for your comment. The establishment or establishments in this case fear change. Theodore Roosevelt was not wildly popular with either his own party or the Democrats when he arrived at the office of President. He had been selected as VP as much to get him out of the way as anything.

Unfortunately for ALCON, as I noted during the campaign our President has the thinnest skin of any candidate for the office since Aaron Burr. That personality trait will make the next three years extremely tumultuous for the nation.

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