It occurred to me today that this is not the first time in American history that the people have been divided … seriously divided. There was the beginning, when the majority of citizens living in the “New World” either had no idea what all the fuss about “Revolution” was about or were more concerned with the feeding of their families to take time out to get involved.
Still, there were a few, a handful of comfortable and established “gentlemen” who, perhaps, had nothing better to occupy their time (the 1%’ers?) who grew anxious to enjoy the freedom they dreamed about. They dreamed of personal freedom for each individual, not just a few. It was a handful of discerning Americans who worked tirelessly to turn the tide of opinion toward the Dream of Personal Freedom. YES! Freedom to grow their business, their commerce as they saw fit – to grow their fortunes. However “corrupt” we might imagine their motives way back then, any amount of reading into the lives of ANY of these men reveals men of substance, both materially and personally. Whatever their personal motives, each of the folks among the “Founding Fathers” pledged the lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause of American independence.
The nation split even deeper over the issue of slavery leading into the Civil War. The ugliness of this issues turned brother and sister, father against son, and cousins against one another. These were very personal issues, and it involved the most basic of issues – personal liberty, but for whom? It also called into question the opening words:
- that all men are created equal,
- that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
- that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
EACH MAN (woman and child) is created equal under the LAW – the US Constitution. To make matters more interesting, these “rights” are endowed … by their Creator – not the government, not the state, not any individual, but by their Creator the unalienable rights we are so familiar with. This means no government can “legally” remove these rights since it is not the Source. Yet, in the era of the Civil War, African slaves were not considered human, and therefore not endowed by the same Creator with the same rights. It was a handful of discerning Americans who worked tirelessly to turn the tide of opinion toward the Dream of Personal Freedom for each individual.
Today, once again, our nation is badly divided. Once again, the issues boil down to personal independence which we now comprehend must be administered by a firm code of ethics or moral compass, or it results in anarchy. Independence for ALL, but not more for some and less for others. We’re stepping on each other’s freedoms these days, and it is painful. Growing pains? Some sort of moral code must be put into place to “define” acceptable and unacceptable behavior. There IS a right and wrong in behavior, and we, as a society, must define it and FAST!
What is desirable behavior? Kindness? Honesty? Compassion? Self-reliance? Responsibility? Whatever we believe is GOOD, we must then decide to work toward, to embrace as behavioral goals. If we believe integrity is a worthy character trait, we can decide to work to that goal in our our behavior.
The politicians cannot fix what they did not break! They broke the budget and they can fix that, but they didn’t break the greed that infests each of us. Instead of requiring the government to carry those suffering under the economic distress, I suggest WE-the-PEOPLE, one by one can help. It doesn’t require billions in bailouts, only two hands and one open heart willing to help. I may not have money to give, but I can make a dinner for a neighbor. I can give someone a ride to the pharmacy. It’s not the billion dollar philanthropists that will turn our nation around. It was a handful of discerning Americans who worked tirelessly to turn the tide of opinion toward the Dream of Personal Freedom for each individual.
Can we hurdle the various obstacles hurled at us to divide us, and pull together, like so many times in the past, to overcome the divisions – real &imagined – that threaten to undo us? Is personal freedom still within reach for each of us and our children and grandchildren? Or are we defeated?