Paul Elisha: Of States' Rights And Scoundrels
Since this commentary was aired, nearly a year ago, last June, the hoodlums in ‘The People: Yes’ poems of Carl Sandburg, have become emboldened. The House-Divided, that Lincoln warned against, has become an American sanctuary…, a refuge for rowdies. A hooligan hierarchy has infested it, while hard-pressed defenders of freedom waffle over how and when to do what they know they must. This pundit’s re-edited update is offered, now, in the ardent hope that it might help.
We have come to that point in our nationhood, where our cohesion is at serious risk. To paraphrase John Dunne, none of us is an island, entire to it self, everyone is a part of the main, because we are all involved in humankind. He was right, because in Latin, ‘homo’ translates as ‘a male or female person or fellow creature.’ Yet, despite all of our inclusive rhetoric, there are still those among us, who would reverse the elective process in this fragile democracy to the most despicable meaning of “States’ Rights,” in which those of color are excluded and denied inclusion, except as sub-human members of the work-herd, as the ‘State’s-Rights’ politicos once considered them. To undo the hindrance to which they would condemn us, we should recall what founder Thomas Jefferson believed and stated in 1774, that: “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.” He affirmed that our future depended on all of us, by including former slaves in his own family, with the inheritance of all rights and rewards.
As Ruth Fulton Benedict once noted in her speech to the New York State Legislature, “Those who helped to build our culture are not of one race. Their goal is a world made safe for differences.” Our cohesion now rests on resolving differences, far greater than skin-deep. We need to rescue this republic from the reckless leadership of venturesome venders, who’re only conversant with such three-letter words as ‘gas,’ ‘oil’ and ‘war’ and have sent too many of our most productive citizens to corner the market on them. The best thing such self-serving profiteers could do for this country, now, is to die for it. Alas, they only know how to send others to do this, to gain even greater power and profit.
In his prize-winning biography of George Washington, our first Chief-Executive and Jefferson’s opposite, as the proponent of a “strong central government,” Historian Harlow Giles Unger noted that after days of debate, even Washington agreed that his most fitting title should be merely: “Mr. President” and with that, both sides in the continuing ferment that divided them, got on with the many bedeviling differences that confronted them. What confronts us now is still what awaits resolution and needs all of us together to solve. A world of many colors, languages and beliefs watches and awaits our answer. Some pray we’ll fail but most want and need for us to succeed. Whether with a ‘Mr.’ or ‘Madam’ President, of what ever color, we must show them we can.
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