Always things of a human nature, like the tides, the moon, and the sun, ebb and flow.
Always the past alludes us mortals, who turn our heads skyward for some grain of evidence – yet the sky is unyielding to our questions. So we stumble through the days of uncertainty until fate dictates the curtain close, and all is black again.
Each of us who have been born on the soil of the great land that is the United States of America has shared the honor of participating in one of the greatest human experiments of all time.
Finding its origins in the Code of Hammurabi five thousand years ago, and filtered through time, the basis of personal responsibility and, indeed, personal freedom manifested itself through oration after oration. The compilation of written laws, the concept of personal responsibility, the daring equity of many documents such as the Magna Carta, old English Law, and the culmination of the chance, in the defiant, desperate deed of unruly settlers, sparking, in Patrick Henry the ultimate declaration:
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! — I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Time and complacency weather the finest steel, and so too has our union been etched and lost her gilded shroud. We, given the opportunity of finding Utopia, instead, have dwelt in the shadows of the machinery of our great republic. We have found ways to fool her and to manipulate her, and to bend the great collective experiment to serve our agenda. Always, the whole must be the primary consideration, but it finds itself indentured to the few.
The Civil War tested our resolve to stay the course, prompting Lincoln to ask:
“…… a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proclamation that all men are created equal ………..testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.”
Our nation was tested many times by war and by complacency, by manipulation and by money. At times we looked like we might collapse, but time after time, the principals of liberty drove men to act as men should act to uphold this great experiment. A current was building, though, even as we grew and with all of the prosperity of our nation, some, still, were left outside of the comfort of Mother America.
“Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.”
Now, you and me, look at our great state! What have we allowed to pass. What have we done to the greatness, the honor, the tenure of integrity? Was it but a beautiful diversion, or did it really exist?
Were we not a nation so great that we reached out to all men and said to them; “You will not suffer torture, nor death, nor genocide. You will not suffer hunger. You will not suffer fear of aggression of neighboring states, for we are the great state of the United States of America and, we will protect you.”
Could it be that we, the great republic, are torturing our prisoners? Could it be that children go hungry in our streets? Could it be that we are afraid of a small band of fools, who, through some convoluted interpretation of religion, want death for America. Have all of the veterans of World War II died, and left nothing of honor, or valor, or bravery? Is it, as wounded and damaged as it has become, even worthy of the kind of drive that Patrick Henry laid out in his speech in Richmond, Virginia, so long ago?
I pray that this is not the end of the great experiment. I pray that, Like Rome, some future people do not tour the remains of our capital and wonder what great legions once built such a monument, and to what end?