In Praise of America and Her Founders, as July 4th Nears, Once Again

In commemoration of the founding of America, on July 4, 1776, I thought that my words on July 2nd, in response to another poster on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog, were especially apt in honoring our nation and her founders, as we near July 4, 2013. Because of that, I am reposting my slightly edited words, tonight, on “MaryElizabethSings.” Happy 4th of July, 2013!

Other Poster: “. . .we don’t have a political divide in this country, we have a psychological one. . .
Are we all in this together or is it every man fer hisself?
Like the Rev war, the War Between the States, this has to be settled.
One philosophy must be adopted, and the other must be utterly destroyed,
and left to the dustbin of history. Which philosophy do you think that will be? . . .”

My response: “You wrote: ‘One philosophy must be adopted, and the other must be utterly destroyed, and left to the dustbin of history.’

I don’t quite see it that way. I simply think that one philosophy has to prove to be more dominant than the other, in the course of America’s ongoing evolution. I believe that the ‘we’re all in this together’ philosophy will prove itself to be more valued by most Americans in the course of history, but we all must survive as individuals, also. I believe that there will always be that constant pull between those two philosophies as long as we live on Earth, and not in Heaven. I think the ‘we’re all in this together’ philosophy will prove to be more dominant because it has more moral authority, as well as more pragmatic application for the survival of the human species (and all other species) on Earth, especially today. One example of that truth is our common need to control the climate for the survival of all. The necessity for building upon the common needs of all for the common benefit of all applies to many other areas, also, which President Franklin Roosevelt outlined in his ‘Second Bill of Rights,’ which I posted earlier today.

I reflect upon the ongoing ‘pull’ of ideas between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, although neither the entirety of ideas of Jefferson nor those of Hamilton fits neatly into one or the other of the two philosophies you described. As with most ideas, especially with the ongoing evolution of history, there will be a mixture of thought and ideas over the years. The ideas of both of these great patriots were needed to create an America that would endure. The Father of Our Country, George Washington, was wise enough, and able enough, to build upon both of the visions for America of Jefferson and Hamilton, while also keeping these opposing men in a relatively harmonious working state for the nation’s benefit. For much of Washington’s first admintration Thomas Jefferson was Washington’s Secretary of State, and Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s protege and confidante, was his Secretary of Finance. Some think that the combination of Wall Street and New York City, itself, is Alexander Hamilton’s historical national monument. He showed us how to survive financially and he wanted us to use his financial expertise to build an economically secure America in which every person could rise to his own level of functioning, within that overall financial framework and network, while interacting in the marketplace with many others, of varied backgrounds and from all stations in life.

Jefferson’s most monumental ideas were based more on eternal humanitarian truths, such as he wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all people are born with the God-given unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that to secure those rights for all, governments are established among men (and women), deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

One can see President Obama’s vision of trying to establish the framework for the generations of the future through his building upon some of the ideas of both Alexander Hamilton (i.e., business enterprise development in Africa, serving the interests of both the U.S. and Africa) and some of the ideas of Thomas Jefferson (i.e., each nation, and their citizens, deserve the human right of self-determination, not dominated by others). We see President Obama trying to create the more egalitarian world of Jefferson’s vision through his pragmatic philosophy of ‘leading from behind’ and through his efforts to build partnerships with, rather than domination over, other world powers, large and small, for the common good of all on Earth.

How inspiring is the fact that the ideas of leaders such as Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt continue to live wthin us and continue to effect our lives, even today, centuries later for some. How blessed this nation has been to have had men and women of calibre who have had visions for our nation beyond simply their own self-interests. We must not let their visions for humanity, as a whole, die through our allowing the stealthy will of those few of great wealth and power who would seek only personal gain for themselves, alone, to prevail over the enduring will the people. We must be aware. And, we must speak out for, and sustain into the future, the higher values on which our nation was founded – not only for ourselves as Americans, but also that our nation might be a successful model of egalitarianism and democracy for the world’s future generations.”

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: I think that there will always be that “survival of the fittest” inclination within each individual and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It is an instinct that even the smallest insect understands, instinctively, and it has helped civilization to survive to this point in time. However, I hope that, as America, Americans, and all of the people of the planet further evolve, we will understand that our own individual survival is, in today’s world, inextricably tied to the survival of all other human beings on the planet. Unlike the insect, we have been given a mind and spirit capable of higher consciousness.

Moreover, I think it is wiser to try to incorporate the vision of those who essentially disagree with our own worldview within our own vision to help all transcend the narrow, temporal, and short-sighted. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela understood this necessity. George Washington tried valiantly to bring about a harmonious personal relationship between Jefferson and Hamilton as he also incorporated their differing visions for America into a larger vision that he (Washington) held for our nation’s future. This is why Washington was so revered by practically all in his day, why he was elected to be our first President, and why he was correctly identified as the “Father of Our Country.” Washington had developed wisdom, and he had the vision of inclusion of opposing ideas for the greater good, even though he lacked the brilliant intellect of either Jefferson or Hamilton.

This entry was posted in 4th of July, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to In Praise of America and Her Founders, as July 4th Nears, Once Again

  1. dbm1 from Jay Bookman's blog says:

    One problem with this question is that people tend to assume that being for oneself means being against others. This is not true. The rationally self-interested approach to others is that of the trader who seeks to exchange value for value. This does not mean just economic exchange. A non-economic example is that a personal relationship must be of value to both parties to make sense.

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