My Thoughts About Where We Are and Where We Should Go
i have wrestled with my desire to remain out of this fray. i am not, not taking sides. i am sure the radicals on every side will not take my comments that way and either point to it as promoting their contentions or ridiculing it and me for being for the other side. But folks, as Peter Finch’s character Howard Beale declared in prophetic movie “Network” (although the media hasn’t yet reached the extent of the film plot) declared, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” It is my time to take my stand, even though i may be the only one standing in this position.
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On September 17, 1796, George Washington presented his farewell address as the first president of the United States of America. In that address, he warned, “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
During the following term, Washington’s successor, John Adams pointed out “a division of the republic into two great parties … is to be dreaded as the great political evil.”
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On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
His plan for reconstruction reached out to the former Confederate states to provide a peaceful transition to becoming one nation again. The plan was not well received by Congress but likely would have become reality had not the assassination occurred.
The Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, became president. Although Johnson, a Tennessean did not agree with the plan in that he thought it was too lenient, nevertheless attempted to carry out Lincoln’s plan. However, the cabinet and congress wanted revenge, to teach the South a lesson. This resulted in the failed impeachment attempt of Johnson and much harsher treatment of the South.
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Washington and Adams’ fears have reached fruition. The constitution has been polluted by party interests becoming more important than our nation and our citizens. It has now reached trench warfare mentality resulting in protests and violence. I have had dear, intelligent friends on both sides of this line of liberal and conservative war insist their right to protest was part of the second amendment only to attack the other side for protesting. Violence on both sides and in our law enforcements response is unacceptable It is time for our politicians to join together and work to create the best laws and policies to make our country better, not act like little brats incapable of logical thought.
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I recognize my thoughts on this will be attacked, but I believe had Lincoln remained president, Reconstruction would have been much more successful and the great divide between blacks and whites (I still despise those two terms for describing human beings) eventually would be much closer to true equality in the South. But Lincoln was dead, and blacks in the South were abused and considered second class citizens in reaction to the vindictive revenge unleashed on the Southern whites. Even today, there are people who spout hatred of the other race.
Perhaps I am naïve and acknowledge hate of human beings of different race, ethnicity, religion, and political beliefs have been ably demonstrated throughout history and are certainly rampant in our country today, both directly and indirectly.
Execution of Lincoln’s plan might have diminished that hatred to only a few. Unfortunately, we will never know.
We have the opportunity with the terrible assault on our constitution on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 having just occurred, to once again reach out, as Lincoln did, to work together to make our country stronger and much, much better.
However, the pointing fingers began as the assault was underway. The capitol police are under attack because many Monday morning quarterbacks believe law enforcement could have done better, and they are searching for the guilty. Anger on both sides is boiling over. Media and politicians are comparing the response to responses to the other side’s earlier protests and violence. One good friend has decried that the enemy of this country are all of the white males, of which he and i are in company. I think it was these white males with many faults created by the beliefs of their time that created this Constitution with the idea of independence, quality and the inalienable rights for all of its citizens. Their idea was limited by not including all who were not white, male, or property owners.
But the ideas of freedom and equality grew and more and more white males have attempted to have those inalienable rights extended to all with significant success even though we still have a long, long way to go. As those rights were extended, women, blacks, native Americans, and many others have been allowed to participate as they should have been all along, and they have joined the effort to attain true equality for all.
The recent digging of trenches by both sides has been deeper and created a deep and dark divide among our citizens. I am not aware of anyone sitting down with the other side to attempt to find the root causes of the divide, the fear, the hatred. No one seems able to do that because they are too occupied with pointing their fingers, throwing their rocks over the wall, making unsubstantial claims (we used to call lies) and calling their allies to join the fight with them.
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One more thought: Parts of one side of this divide decided to show disrespect for our flag. The other side adopted our flag as a symbol as if they owned it, as if it did not belong to all of our citizens. Then this group so offended by the disrespect others had shown began to desecrate our flag by modifying Old Glory to make their political statements.
The flag is the representation of our Constitution. It is not the property of one party. The Constitution grants the right of free speech. As Dave Carey once explained, we in the military were sworn to defend the constitution and therefore we defended the rights of our citizens to have free speech.
Our politicians and their followers have twisted that to somehow inexplicably to believe they have the right to say or do anything they want, including disrespect and desecration of our flag, the symbol representing our Constitution, not a president, not a party, not a movement, but our system designed to achieve equality and protect our inalienable rights but suspend that belief for the other side.
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I was hoping this terrible insurrection would lead to our politicians to reach across the aisle to make things better, but their need for power, money, and reelection will not allow them to wander far from their party’s winner-take-all attempts. The media, looking for viewers and listeners to make more money and gain more power, are fueling the fire rather than reporting the facts.
And we, myself included, are going along with this insanity, finding fault, spewing invectives against those we perceive to be a danger to our beliefs. There needs to be accountability. There needs to be justice. There needs to be inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
And we need to reach out and work together to ensure our constitution, the greatest idea for governing a country ever written, remains intact and operates the way it should.
God bless America. Right now, we need his blessing and help in finding our way out of this morass.