[Note: This was going to be about another topic but as writing sometime does, the topic went a different way. Palmetto Bug]
People are condemning the job the government does. Congress’s rating is low. Some conservatives are preparing for revolution – a “shooting revolution.” Some are Occupying Wall Street and other places. People challenge the government’s collection of taxes. They search for any weakness in opposing candidates on any level. An elected official was shot and gravely injured. People died there. Both sides bemoan the lack of civility in rhetoric. People refer to the government as an enemy.
What people forget is that “WE, the people” ARE the government.
Our Founding Fathers didn’t agree, they compromised to make our government. Jefferson and John Adams were both close friends and bitter enemies. Burr and Hamilton dueled to the death. Calhoun and Lincoln would have disagreed had they been contempories.
One of my more favorite professors (I had two at the top and others really, really close) told us about recent scholarship regarding Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. People should read the last line as, “. . . government of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE, shall not perish from the earth.” This is instead of the usual emphasis on “of, by and the.” So if you are complaining about the government, you are complaining about yourself. Change the government; start with the person in the mirror (Yes, from MJ).
Don’t appeal to Jefferson and Adams, or Hamilton and Burr, or Calhoun and Lincoln for what we should do. They would have laughed at the idea as ridiculous and it is. They are not the government; they are dead. WE, the people are the government.
WE have the control of our destiny. WE have to compromise to live together. If our government falls apart, it is because we could not find a way to do it together. We have already had our revolution and our civil war. We don’t need another war with Americans fighting Americans, brother against brother. Nothing is inevitable.
Divide and conquer is the warriors maxim. We seem to be doing dividing ourselves. We divide ourselves by race, religion, gender and innumerable other criteria. I have seen both liberal and conservative claim that only they are the true Christians.
Rather than divide us, we need to find ways to work together. Not your way or my way, but our way.
All of this to say if America fails, it will be your fault and my fault. I will express my views and you yours. I know I can’t change your mind and you won’t change mine. So let’s stop trying to say who is right. What’s the old saying, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle?
Isn’t that what compromise is? Isn’t that what our Founding Fathers did? Isn’t what that what Americans always do? You are not my enemy though we disagree. I am not yours. We must compromise to get along and to move our country along.
If America fails, blame the person in the mirror. My mirror, your mirror, and all the other mirrors.