Our uncle is dying. He lies, stretched at full length, eyes bulging, limbs twitching, life’s blood oozing from countless slashes. This once proud symbol, the tall man, clad in patriotic colors, stovepipe hat and white beard, will soon be no more.
Ironically, his demise will result from the application of the aspirations and goals he, himself, espoused. The quest for freedom, justice and equal opportunity for all were the seeds of his downfall.
This is not to say that these are less than admirable goals. They were, and are ideals to be desired and fervently sought.
But the founders of this republic, those men who first codified such goals into our guiding documents, could never have dreamed of the danger inherent in definition creep. They could not even suspect that over time the very meaning of the words they wrote would change yet still be applied as if they expressed the original intent.
They could not know that future generations would use those words to destroy that which they had sacrificed so much to establish, all in the interest of seizing power and for personal gain. The founders did not have the benefit of George Orwell’s vision of truth that, simply stated, points out that whoever controls the definition of the words in a language controls reality.
Uncle Sam is dying, a fact that was predictable from the beginning and should have been anticipated all along. America is a once and future great nation. Or not, depending on your ideological view. But in the final analysis, it doesn’t matter. All nations, great or small, all empires, will follow an arc of history. Most will exit history’s stage, not with a bang but with a whimper.
The only constant in this universe is change and America is changing. The noble goal of guaranteed equal opportunity has morphed into a quest for guaranteed equal outcome. The dream of those now entering into the ranks of leadership is that there be no winners, no losers, only participants. That there can be no national borders because as Rousseau put it, “You are lost if you forget the fruits of the earth belong to everyone, the earth itself belongs to no one.”
There can be no longer be a guiding ethos based on the concept of a supreme being because supreme beings tend to restrict human activity with those pesky old morality codes.
Political leaders must be now chosen through universal suffrage, without regard to whether or not the voter has even the slightest inkling of how government works or what powers actually reside in those offices being filled. The founders of this nation knew that only those with skin in the game should logically have a say in how the game is being played.
Wherever total equality is to be found it will be at the expense of individual achievement. Universal equality will always exist at the lowest common denominator of its population base and will insist that no one person have more, do more, or be more than anyone else.
In his death throes, Uncle Sam elevated a man to the position of CEO of America who, love him or hate him, promised to make America “great” again. The arc of history is against him. His effort is best compared to that of King Canute, seated on his throne at the sea side, commanding the tide to turn.
Like it or not, the America we have known will continue to change. Just as 21st century America would be unrecognizable to our ancestors living in the 18th century, the future America will be foreign to those of us alive today and whether or not that America will be great will not be judged by our current viewpoints but by those of the people of that time.
History teaches that all empires have origin, zenith and nadir. From The Persians, Greeks and Romans of ancient times to the British Empire of recent history, all have exited, stage left, into the dustbin of time.
That the America we know will end is a given, we can only hope that it morphs into something positive while avoiding the fate of Ozymandias.
My advice is that we educate ourselves to the issues, vote according to our values, make changes when and where we can, accept that which we cannot change, then relax and enjoy the reality show that shapes our personal journey through history.
Thank you for time you have invested in this and I welcome your opinion or comments.