Is America in the Throes of Death?
When lecturing on the American Revolution, I start by pointing out a fact we have lost sight of, or perhaps never truly understood. There was a sense of purity in the War for Independence. It wasn't fought over oil, resources, wealth, women, insults, or even power. It wasn't waged by the rich and fought by the poor.
The colonists weren't being systematically brutalized by the British. Prior to the outbreak of the war, many of the Boston colonists were friendly with British soldiers policing their streets, including John Hancock, Joseph Warren, and Paul Revere. The colonists were British. They imagined the relationship between England and the American Colonies as that of the "Oak and the Ivy" growing together.
For at least ten years before that resounding first shot was fired, the colonists worked to bridge the gap that was threatening a separation from their Mother Country.
What was that gap? The God-given rights of the individual. It was basic. It was plain. It was simple. And, for them, it was paramount -- worth sacrificing all they had and were to assure these rights for generations to follow. Vital enough to die for in order to achieve.
Fathers fought with their sons. The rich fought with the poor. There was no absolution if they lost. Men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, or John Adams would face certain death.
Not one of the men -- or women who supported them -- expected to defeat the British. How could they? Great Britain had the mightiest army and navy on the face of the Earth. This did not deter the Americans. I continue to stand in awe of their selflessness; of their courage; of their resolve.
How do U.S. Citizens today compare to those of 1776?
Yet, even the Founders, in birthing the infant nation had tunnel vision, focusing only on the rights of the White citizen. Unspeakable atrocities would follow because of their neglect of the Native American, Black American, Asian American, and even those immigrants from "less desirable" European countries.
As the nation matured, it certainly experienced "growing pains." Despite this, it continued to strive toward maturity.
Somewhere, somehow, the growth was stunted. We stagnated. Now, we decline.
Has the "Great Experiment" of 1776 failed? Is this nation in the throes of death?
Do we celebrate on the 4th of July in 2018 or should we mourn?