Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Summer of Our Discontent

Truly this has been the summer of our discontent. The sunny season of 2009 has failed to extend into the political arena where our discourse has been as harsh and as clouded with outbursts of anger as any time in the last four plus decades. Even the racism of the Fifties and the turbulent social upheavals of the Sixties cannot compare to the personal rancor of the past several months.

The lack of civil discourse seen during the President's speech before a joint session of Congress is alarming, and taken together with the Town Hall caucus of raucous folk seen this summer, is most portentous indeed. Four years before the American tragedy that we call a Civil War (it was anything but....), a savage beating on the floor of the Senate served as an ominous sign of what was to befall our less-than-perfect union.

Given my concerns that the Spanish philosopher and noted aphorist George Santayana will be proven correct again ("those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it") I fear for the future of our Republic for I see the clouds growing over our purple mountains majesty; the thunderheads of our mutual discontent towering on the horizon, a cumulous concatenation that shadows our every waking moment for a storm of mighty evil and horrific consequence is headed our way unless we do everything we can to stop it.

I urge all those who read these words to consider how each and every one of us can act to restore sensibility to our public discourse, to not let the lesser angels of our nature - and the troublemakers who would stir us up for ratings, distraction, and simple anarchical perversity - rule the day.

Let us hope that Santayana was wrong when he also said "only the dead have seen the end of war." To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we have been given a Republic and the next decade will go far toward seeing whether we can keep it.

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