Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.
I love being a citizen of the United States. My family has been here for 4 generations and in some cases, 3. I grew up hearing stories of what life was like in the “old country.”
In particular, I remember a story my grandmother would tell about being a little girl, hiding with her mother and her sisters in a cellar, praying the Tzar’s soldiers would not find them during the pograms. She would tell me that a soldier walked down into the cellar, saw her and her family huddled in a corner. The commanding officer up on street level called down and asked the soldier if there was anyone down there… he stared straight at my grandmother, and yelled back…. “No!”
This story terrified me, growing up. As did the other stories about family members who did not leave Austria in time.
So I grew up loving The United States. I have been and will always be so proud to be an American. It means everything to me.
By the time I saw the Costa-Gavras film, “Missing,” starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, I was awakened to a story in which the United States government was the bad guy. This really surprised me as I do not think I had a deep understanding of how the United States plays on the world stage prior to that film. It really opened my mind to realities beyond that which were taught in History classes in school. It gave me a lot to think about.
Flash forward to the present. Here we are on the eve of what promises to be one of the most difficult days in our nation’s history. Today, John Adams’ prophecy will be put to the ultimate test. After serving as the first Vice President under George Washington, John Adams became the very first President to replace a leader in this country who stepped down from his position with dignity and grace at the end of his term.
Some might view George Washington as the Father of our country, while the British, who had assumed control of this territory by stealing it from the indigenous Americans, would view Washington as a terrorist rebel whose revolution over through their rule of the colonies. However you may view Washington, at a key moment in our history, he voluntarily left office, and the second president, John Adams, assumed the role, in a peaceful transformation of power.
I have friends on both sides of the aisle. I see all of us as Americans first and members of a political party as a very distant second. I treasure that there are those who see things politically disparate from those views of my own, because disagreement in civil discourse usually leads to compromise and progress. When there is only one prevailing ruling party, it usually does not bode well for the citizens of that nation.
Today is most clearly the day of reckoning for the American Democracy experiment. For 233 years, we have lived in relative peace with one another (Civil War years withstanding) that has enabled us to thrive in ways that had been inconceivable prior to this experiment coming to fruition. We have been the envy of the world, and those who could come learn and thrive in our nation have arrived and added huge value to our population.
In the Lyceum address Lincoln said, “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
We have been warned by brilliant leaders in our past. It is up to us to hold the line. Today and forever.