Skip to main content

Why I'm here (this blog's raison d'etre) - Part II (of II)

Is everything as it's always been? I touched on this point last week. American political life has from its very beginnings been filled with animus and rancor. The election of 1800, pitting John Adams against Thomas Jefferson, two American icons, was filled with the very worst tactics of political campaigning: mud-slinging, backstabbing, and scare-mongering, making it not much different from the American presidential elections of the 21st century. The election of 1824 between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson was a particularly nasty affair, featuring all sorts of slanders and outrageous fabrications.

This thought reminds me of an op-ed written by a conservative columnist years ago, in which he argued that the voting patterns in Tennessee in the 19th century were basically the same as they are today. The gist of his argument was there's nothing to be improved upon and we should be content with the way things are (since that's the way it's always been).

So, there you have it.

I start today with the reminder that we should not allow ourselves to be duped by the particular historical moment in which we live, thinking that something we are currently experiencing is novel, unique and never been done before. Perhaps it is novel for us, but not for humankind in general. With this context in mind, we can nevertheless state with some confidence that we also live in an age of great change. One need look no further than the technological advances in nearly every field of our lives that have taken place just in the past decade to demonstrate that things are in permanent flux.

That being said, I feel justified in suggesting that our current political malaise is something new. The state of political and social discourse has disintegrated perceptively over the past 10 years. Everyone is enraged about something. What's worse? Our political representatives seems to be contributing to it, instead of acting as voices of reason or setting a standard of behavior that we should want to aspire to (or at the very least, be proud of). When's the last time you were proud of a politician? Think about that one, we'll be doing a poll in the near future.

Rules of the blog: The only thing I ask of my readers and contributors is that they leave their name, city, and state with their comments. I do this first and foremost to promulgate good ideas and share them with others, giving credit where credit is due. I also insist that we do observe a certain level of civility in our dialog, a standard anticipated by the first commentator last week. Therefore, I expect everyone to conduct themselves like polite adults. I will be deleting anonymous postings and profanity as soon as I see them. Do you have your nose out of joint because you feel like it's your right to express yourself as you see fit? Good. We'll be talking about that, too.

As a final note for today, please remember that we celebrate one of this country's least-known holidays this coming week. Flag Day, on 14 June, commemorates the adaption of the flag of the United States on 14 June 1777. That means our flag will be 240 years old on Wednesday. Perhaps you will honor the day with a donation to Liberty's Promise, my organization that helps immigrant youth learn about American civic life. You can donate using the button at the top of the page or the button the scroll bar to your right. It would be a great gesture on behalf of our next generation of new American citizens. We would greatly appreciate your support. Thank you!

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, my fellow bloggers! I'm new at this, so I would like to ask you cut me a little slack. I am from Woodville, RI, where it's dark and quiet-just the way I like it. I deleted my comment of a few minutes ago because , well, I didn't like it. Indeed, the Presidential election was much more contentious than I have ever experienced and I think that holds true for just about everybody. Well, we have something in common already. Great! But, as mentioned by our host commenting on a written article, we shouldn't expect anything different because it has always been this way. Well, maybe because it's been tolerated, in some cases encouraged, all these years. And, of course one side always points the finger at the other and screams "It's THEIR fault" or "Their doing it ,too" Maybe WE need to demand better. I won't pretend to know how to do this and it wouldn't happen overnight even I did. I can't help but possibly that someone, or some group WANTS us to be in this melee. Just a thought from off the cuff. I any event, I would like to thank Bob P. for his reminder on Flag Day. May we all fly it proudly and with patriotism in all its' many and diverse forms. I expect some will fly it upside down (a signal of distress dating from WW2, I believe) and some will burn it which upsets me very much. However, I won't tell anyone they can do neither because it is YOUR and MY right to free expression. Isn't that what this blog is supposed to be about? Here's hoping this blog great success via quality discussion amoung civil citizens of our great nation!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I should re-phrase and make it clear our host DID NOT suggest we should expect no better in our elective process and was referencing an article written by a wholly different individual. I apologize for any confusion.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why I'm here (this blog's raison d'etre) - Part I (of II)

Is the United States in terminal decline, or is the American Republic so durable and its institutions so well-created that nothing can undo it? If the answer is the latter, this blog will have a short existence. As soon as I get a little more evidence for it, I will close up shop and occupy my time some other way. If it's the former, it's about time "We The People" did something about it.

On the face of it, this is a question for historians, who, by virtue of their training, can (or ought to be able to) see long-term trends. Much of what we experience today, after all, has been seen before. That's why George Santayana remarked, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This is a point lost in our 24/7 media frenzy, whose purveyors promote the novelty and urgency of the most minute and trivial of events as though it's all new and of the greatest import.

I will say more about this at some future point. For now, a lot of people (…

It's not as bad as folks say

Really, it's not. All you need to do is type, "What makes America great?" (or some permutation thereof), into your Internet search engine. You will be presented with millions of results featuring list upon list extolling the benefit and value of our Republic. Some of these lists are light-hearted (but not without merit, have a look at any of the 100 great things about America that was published, up until recently, by Forbes.com), but others are entirely thoughtful and compelling (see, for example, Daniel Krauthammer's excellent essay in the May 8th issue of The Weekly Standard, "What Makes America Great? The question at the heart of the debate over nationalism").

I bring this up because I've just been re-reading Geoff Kabaservice's op-ed from the Saturday, June 10th edition of The New York Times, "Our Failing President's Great Performance." Kabaservice, who has his degree in American History from Yale and is currently a research consul…