Monday, September 13, 2010

From the weekend: three perspectives on being an American

Sorry, couldn't get the right light inside... but this is a group of folks from various states and nations visiting the room where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were ratified in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. If you click on the pic to enlarge and squint, the chair you will see dead center is the one George Washington sat in to preside over the Constitutional Convention. The top rail has a sun-on-the-horizon image, which led Ben Franklin to wonder, "Is it rising or setting?" After the Constitution was ratified, he opined that it must be rising.

Alex Haley, California:

"Our character is not what we are, or what we do, under any given President or Congress. Our character is that we can have different Presidents, and different Congresses, and that we change a good part of them every two years. That is the essence of America, what makes her enviable, and what makes her great."

Chris Johnson, Missouri:

"It’s summed up in three words that really are a far better national motto than E Pluribus Unum could ever hope to be.

Leave me alone.

At the end of the day, what does a man really want? He wants the chance to farm his spread or run his business, feed his family, bring up his kids and worship his God however he understands Him. And that’s pretty much it."

Janet Daley, UK:

"What is unique about the US – and indispensable to the understanding of it – is that it is a country of the displaced and dispossessed: a nation which invented itself for the very purpose of permitting people to reinvent themselves, to take their fate into their own hands, to be liberated from the persecution and the paternalism of the old cultures they had left behind."

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

Chris Johnson's comment is sad. He speaks of the state of nature, not a truly effective nation that can secure the social contract that we all really want and need to enjoy any liberty.