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From the moment the first European foot hit the ground in the New World, America wasn't a place for the faint of heart. Ours is a legacy of bold moves, not the least of which was un-tethering ourselves from the way that everyone-else-on-planet-earth-had-ever-done-government-in-recorded-human-history and letting our "masses yearning to breathe free" be in charge.
On the bold moves front, the Boston Tea Party was hardly for the faint-hearted sissified believer in democracy. Our founders had to really mean it when they stood up to The King And His Taxes, as the cause put their very lives squarely in the balance. Our American DNA holds this founding moment so central because it was when we steadfastly stood for what is right and refused to back down, regardless of the consequences thank-you-very-much.
More than just a few of our fellow citizens have drawn on the American bloodline of the tea party lately, and surely they feel the power of the remarkable story of our founding coursing through their veins when they're doing the tea-bagging.
Then there is the other America, just as American by family tree and love of country despite too-frequent suggestions to the contrary, who simply scratch their heads as they watch the melee and say "huh?" The cause looks unmoored from fact, circumstance and reason and so feels more than just a little bit scary.
Since the start of this whole democracy shindig we've always had crosscurrents in the electorate who don't agree on much of anything. In a country full of people all pursuing life, liberty and happiness on their own terms, while still having to come together to make a group decision as big as who's going to be Top Banana... well, it's no wonder "politics ain't
But what about our current refusal to listen to anyone or speak in a way that a fellow American might understand in a country where lots of people have died to protect the right to hear and speak? Is this worthy of our American ideal?
Our founders were men of big ideas and one of the biggest is that you could make one country out of people as different as we are, not because we agreed, but by the inevitable clashing of our opinions. James Madison called this "factionalism" which secured our freedoms by promoting deliberation and circumspection. Madison thought it did the job of protecting us from tyranny better than the Bill of Rights, a mere "parchment barrier."
They knew we'd fight and they knew we'd fight hard, because they did. But as they fought their fight of ideas for this country they loved, they knew they didn't have the luxury to stop talking to each other.
In this all-hands-on-deck, best-solutions-out-front point in human history, does anyone want to argue that we have the luxury to write off the people taking the other side in today's argument of democracy?
The founders' bequest to us is a country that requires us to continue to talk to each other, no matter how unpleasant. Perhaps as a shout out back to them we might grab a handful of teabags and this time throw them overboard for being in this one together.
How's that for the next bold move?*
*Why not let it start here...Add a page and let the conversation begin.