2016 not 1865

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Executive summary by Jonathan Pie. Please note rough, Brit pub language, but no rougher than a presidential political campaign.

The stunning and also logical outcome of the presidential election coincided with several national anniversaries which modulate for me the Blues raving of apocalyptic certainty versus the Reds we-did-it, game-winning, end-zone Shimmey. It wasn’t only that Donald trumped Hillary. The nation, at nearly every level of government, told that level of government that it wants something done about the way that things are going, being communicated and How who is benefitting. What is to be made of the news industry, whose talents, resources and reputation are devoted to accurate insight of what is going-on, and so completely misidentified the will of the people that they “impartially” observe?

I believe that George Packer had it right in his New Yorker article published on Halloween.

On November 10 the United States Marine Corps celebrated its 241 birthday. Birthday greetings from their Commandant, General Neller, persuade me that there yet remains plenty of institutions valuing self-sacrifice, tradition and commitment to purpose.

On November 11 we celebrated Veterans Day. Before class in the Research Triangle Park, I asked 4 or 5 MBA graduates what does this day celebrate? Yikes! No one knew and the best guess was D-Day. Maybe we should rename it Thank You For Your Service Day which no veteran truly wants to hear because it is interpreted as ‘TYFYS while I was shopping at the mall.’ We haven’t experienced yet The War to End All Wars as was the ambition for the 11.11 at 11 a.m. armistice in 1918. I’m a proponent of national service for every young American. Maybe not military service and surely a ‘larger than the individual’ experience that introduces Blues to Reds, develops marketable skills and demonstrates the wonder of our nation as well as the need to preserve it.

November 19 is a special day for me. The older that I become, the more that I admire Abraham Lincoln. How did he do it?! Those Blues and Grays really did go to war. I’ve tried to memorize his Gettysburg Address delivered on 19 November 1963 and the near concluding segment challenges me.

Maybe it’s useful that I am not yet able to commit the Address to memory as such causes me to read and to re-read its hopeful admonition:

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion.”

Now we have an immediate cause of our own. Its necessity may not be the preservation of our nation and it may be a time to nurture a renewed birth of freedom ensuring “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Happy 235th Birthday to the USA

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Each year we host a bbq on July 4th. Some years there are 6 guests and other years fifteen. This year we were joined by 25 plus the uninvited arrival of a two hour rainstorm that knocked-out the power for 90 minutes. Grilled beneath a portable shelter while most guests chatted in the natural light of the living and dining rooms with wine and candles. With power restored, we were able to maintain our annual tradition of reading the Gettysburg Address except that this year we read the Declaration of Independence less the lengthy roster of “repeated injuries and usurpations.” Seems to me that ‘quartering large bodies of armed troops, imposing taxes without consent, and cutting off trade’ would justify such a declaration, yet the FFs (Founding Fathers) delineated a thorough list. I can almost imagine the delegate from New York beseeching Thomas Jefferson, “Enough already. Let’s get this document done and go home!”

A couple of the lesser known sections:
“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

Complete text here. It’s worth a read from time to time.