Time makes more converts than Reason.
Perhaps one of my favorite sentences in Common Sense, and it’s on the first page of a pamphlet that set a convulsive group of colonial territories upon a course which would bring astounding concepts and hard-fought liberties to a people who’d had quite enough of being manhandled by aristocrats holding power via ‘birth right’ and not by consensus of the governed.
Ironically penned by an Englishman, it gave a wary populace the grist they needed as the mill of independence lurched to life, groaning and creaking under its own weight, yet setting powerfully clandestine machinations in motion. God touched Thomas Paine upon the shoulder and nudged the muse of inspiration within.
Yet I am hard pressed to declare witness to the same fire-in-the-belly spirit today, at a time when we conceivably need it most. Certainly there are voices straining to be heard, almost whisper-thin and inconsequential amongst the thunderous appelations of media prophets (and profits). Content and editorial decisions are based more upon ratings and sponsor appeasement than upon proper distillation and dispersion of critical knowledge to the public; massive capitalist juggernauts blindly cruising upon the dwindling waters that gave it industrial, economic, and global significance.
A sobering number of “Americans” have no idea whom the Vice President is—even more stunning are those in our schools who don’t know the three branches of government. Pretty safe bet that far more people know who our current president is, if for no other reason than he more preferentially befits minorities than any other in our history. Don’t misconstrue what I’ve written—I’ve watched President Obama speak and watched the inauguration. I’m incredibly proud that America has finally elected a non-white to her highest public office. I, along with a disenchanted multitude, are waiting to see the promised “change we can believe in.”
But what do you believe, America?
It would seem to me that Reason can’t be coaxed from those whose Time is spent avoiding or ignoring that which they glibly take for granted. Ratings for American Idol are still through the roof, yet voter turnout typically hits a high of 40%, if that; the registered yet non-voting majority indignantly take any opportunity to chest-thump about their constitutional rights—rights which I most confidently bet they can’t begin to enumerate.
Video games thrill and entertain, blowing up and slaughtering enemies of all ilk, yet the virtual combatants have little (if any) idea what the fight is for outside of point totals and online aggrandizement.
Where is your fight, America? Do you not realize that our vigilance has been usurped by those who only wish to extract your cherished liberties for their own self-indulgence?
Are you comfortable with your exchange of freedom for perceived security?
How can you abide complacency and watch yourself being dressed down from within, much less in front of a leering and delighted global community.
Stand up my dear America!
Let go the teat of corpulent power and reclaim your voice along with the rest of your countrymen and women. Demand that those who claim privilege of public service do just that, perform public service, not self service.
Do you still believe in yourself America, or do you prefer to struggle and let those who should be attending you continue to look askance at your feeble exertions to right yourself?
I urge us all, a dangerously carefree and trusting nation, to bear presence of mind to our very foundations, that the cause of America is indeed the cause of all mankind. Without perpetuity of God’s grace and his bestowment to us thereof we can only imagine those things which have long held berth in our collective hearts: The natural rights of man as granted through providence, the sweet and expansive perfume of freedom, and the absolute necessity and reponsibility to self-govern.
Society and government are, and always should be, separate entities. We are the government; it is comprised of us only by virtue of our saying so. It MUST serve us, not the twisted inverse. Should we continue to feed its gaping maw it will only become more bloated, lethargic, and self-serving.
Let us do something about it. Reach across to our brothers and sisters and once again grasp their hands in friendship and unity, and work with one another to get done what must be done. Long enough we have procrastinated and allowed the feral beast to gorge upon our very souls. Confront and subdue it we must, with one loud, clear voice, lest it haunt us eternally as a thought of necessity instead of celebrated accomplishment.
If the sands in history’s hourglass are perilously close to culmination, then we have precious little time to contemplate reason. Raise your voices, America . . . from sea to shining sea.