Year by year, the Congress and the Senate must become of less account before all decent men.
There is a sword hanging over America's head and it was put there by the Founding Fathers. Most of those who freely refer to those men have no bedrock idea who they were. Someone should write a book, if it hasn't already been written, about what happened to those men who signed the Declaration of Independence. How many lost their property, how many lost their families, how many were tortured by the British, how many were killed.
To stand up against the most powerful nation in the Western World took unimaginable courage and faith, what Schopenhauer called "reckless optimism." If we had lost the War of Independence George Washington would have been tortured and hung on the street in London, and he knew it.
And why did they do it, that disparate crowd of men who frequently disagreed with each other but who came to agree about what they had to do, to make a nation, a new land, a land of the free and courageous, a beacon to the world that personal rights and self government were achievable ideas. And along with that commitment came a challenge sent to the future, sent to us, from the hearts of men who risked everything.
When Charles Dickens visited America he observed American institutions and our way of life and found how much it had degenerated even in 100 years. Slavery was everywhere, rudeness, hypocrisy, dishonesty, corruption, all things he didn't expect of find. He wrote "Year by year, the memories of the Great Fathers of the Revolution must be outraged more and more, by the bad life of their degenerate child."
The current state of politics in this country is a betrayal of the gifts of those original thinking men and women. The avowed agendas of the recently elected members of Congress are a disgrace. Other nations are saying without equivocating that they don't want us in their lands. Worn out useless contracts are being brought out for acceptance by people who have not learned the ways of good government. Our future as a world leader and beacon is uncertain. Politicking has become a macabre joke, third rate entertainment. There are "decent men," intelligent adults in this country, somewhere. The sword doesn't need to fall. But it's hanging there.
(This is not a contest.)
At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?
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