Monday, February 2, 2009

Plus Sa Change, Plus C'est La Meme...or, SSDY

I live in an old house, by New World standards, and, in my town, the oldest. Built of stone in pre-Revolutionary America, it has weathered the storms of time, both atmospheric and political, and remained, by some miracle, solid if not terribly straight, steadfastly refusing to buckle under either.

Thomas Paine, in his 1776 treatise, "The Crisis", wrote, "These are the times that try [our] souls." Written as part of a series of 16 pamplets over the course of the American Revolution, his intent was to inform, rally and motivate, in this case, the troops at Trenton. It is devastating to realize that the same is true today: our nation and indeed the world faces dire straits and rough waters ahead as the economic forecast blows closer to tsunami than soft breeze, and scary words like New World Order, Middle East Conflict and Economic Meltdown threaten to pull us down on the dangerous undertow from the illusory waves of hopeychange rhetoric that promised to lull America's furrowed brow back to the familiar complacency to which it had grown so accustomed. We hear, too, words like Foreclosure and Ford Foundation, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Warburg, Bailout, World Bank, Brzeznski and The Fed, and wonder where our money went besides the pockets of Enron heads, bonuses for bank breaking C suite cabals and Bernie Madoff's cache cow. And, thankfully, too, we hear familiar, comforting words like Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Federalist Papers, Bill of Rights, Amendments and Committee of Safety.

It occurred to me suddenly yesterday, while writing a letter, that we in present day America share more than a few similarities with pre Independence America, and that there are many among us upon whom this irony is not lost...that after 250 years, we are once again facing some of the same issues that led to our declaring independence from the British Empire, except that THIS time, we have a blueprint from which we can draw solutions--IF those in power are willing to take their oath to defend it seriously enough to uphold it. Tax issues, First and Second Amendment rights, trust in government, universal suffrage and human rights are just a few of the issues which continue to challege us as a People and a Nation.

At the time of the American Revolution for Independence, and Thomas Paine's 'The Crisis", the house in which I now live was already at least ten years old. The people who lived here at that time had no Constitution. They had little else but grit, conviction and a supreme unwillingness to be used, bossed and beggared by distant, uncaring imperialists.

From Indiginous Peoples to Immigrants, Americans have long come here to make better lives, to be able to live as they choose and answer to no one, and the same holds true today. Americans are by and large a hearty lot, bringing strength in their diversity, courage and their desire to succeed through willingness to work. The individualist spirits of America and its people have become legend as a beacon to those who would withstand the test of hard work to overcome the yoke of tyranny.

Those were scary years, with Patriots and Loyalists at odds, each taking actions they felt best; they certainly heard about, read about, talked about and thought about the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the Committee of Safety, the Bill of Rights. The people who lived in this house or members of their family fought in the War for Independence and worried about how they would survive in a nascent country in the dead of winter with the threat of the King's soldiers banging at their doors, forcing them to house foreign troops taking their food or arresting them for treason. Surely they were anxious about their future and that of their new country, just as I now am concerned about some of the same things as I live in that same house.

I know how it turned out for them: those documents and those people did bring forth a great nation, after many years of war, privation and turmoil. Living near the Hudson River between New York and Albany, the people here saw a lot; the town was burned during the War of 1812 but survived to host some of the oldest stone houses in the state.

Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, George Clinton, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington all traveled through here on their ways back and forth to the Newburgh and Trenton encampments, to New York, Albany, Philadelphia and beyond; in some ways, the average yeomanry was probably better informed than are much of the populace today. They had a reasonably free Press, and television was centuries away from existence.

As I watch my Goldens play in the the falling snow outside my window on lands that were farmed those centuries ago, I take comfort in the strength, courage and conviction of the American People and our Troops, and the knowledge that our country was born and survived what seemed like unbeatable odds when this house was new; and as we face some of the most serious times in our history since, I know that as always, our American spirit will once again prevail.

As for taking action--today, as then, there are many of us who continue to fight for our Constitution, both here and in lands far away. "Constitutional Radio" is just one of many efforts afloat to educate and remind ourselves and others about its beauty, perfection and importance in maintaining our nation of laws. I hope you'll click on the Constitutional Radio logo at the right for a link to Blog Talk Radio's 'My Two Cents Presents Constitutional Radio with the Central Park 7, tonight and every Tuesday at 10:00 PM EST, and join us all in the love of country.


  1. Thanks for this post...Very little perspective ever broached on the TEE VEE...

    And thanks for "Constitutional Radio"...