our political framework; but in Europe, the primary impetus was the exaltation of human reason, while the American system demanded that reason be tempered by virtue. This model of moral reasoning produced the sustained rise in America’s global prominence throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. As our knowledge of the physical world has advanced, we have been forced to re-examine many of the assumptions of our forebears; meanwhile, the increased pressure produced by a constant barrage of information from sources scattered
our Founders courageously penned a document accusing the most powerful monarch on the globe of unforgivable tyranny and bravely affixed their names as a sign of solidarity. It is no wonder Benjamin Franklin quipped, “we must all hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.” Brutal warfare ensued for five more years before the decisive victory at Yorktown in 1781, and another six years passed before the Constitution was drafted in 1787. Perhaps most impressive in this unprecedented shift of political power was the formation of the Bill of Rights in 1791. This document was specifically created to address the most persistent objections to the rights and responsibilities enumerated in the Constitution. Rather than use the pressing political uncertainty as an opportunity to garner power, our leaders clarified and amplified the fundamental rights of the individual to ensure its citizens, not their government, remain in control; therefore, the first amendment protected the individual’s freedom of religion, speech, press, and the right to assemble and peacefully seek a redress of grievances. As our political future dangled in the balance, our forefathers remained stalwart in their commitment to this new model which declared the Creator as the Source, the individual as the Aim, and the political institution as its Defender. For this new system to work effectively, the Aim must stay firmly connected to the Source, and the Defender must suppress its natural inclination to wrestle power from those it was created to serve. John Adams underscored this point in 1798 when he conceded that “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” This precept, I would argue, is the key difference between the American Revolution and the principles undergirding the French Revolution. In France, the Third Estate demanded Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity and built their demands atop the shoulders of the great Enlightenment philosophers. In America, these same Enlightenment ideals were woven into
1960; hence, we are experiencing a shaking of the other pillar as well. We have traded pastors for podcasts, replaced fathers with Facebook, and asked the media for meaning. The mention of these facts is not intended to cast disparagement nor induce panic; rather, it provides some important context, I believe, is helpful in understanding the reason behind the trends. Nature abhors a vacuum, so, in the absence of an easily accessible, more trustworthy source, the human heart clings to the nearest alternative on which to cast its hope for identity affirmation; there is always an ample supply of golden calves eager to fill the void. It should come as no surprise when these modern-day Towers of Babel break ground and commence construction. There is a longing within us, part physical and part spiritual, to find a place of rest in the face of conflict. As we rebel against the proven pillars of a bygone era, we increasingly find ourselves moored to the flimsy foundations offered in their place, only to discover they are the inept creations of an emperor who has no clothes. At risk of oversimplifying, most all of us are seeking three basic things: a place to belong, a place to contribute, and a source of meaning. Modern political affiliations are fantastic outlets for belonging and contribution but are woefully inadequate as purveyors of purpose. Similarly, social media can provide a wonderful platform for sharing information, but it is merely a counterfeit at facilitating real interpersonal communication. In sum, I encourage you to engage politically. Take full advantage of the many benefits of political affiliations. Stay informed on matters of social import and, above all, let your voice be heard at the ballot-box. My only caution is that you keep politics in its proper place as you plan your future and make decisions that affect your reality. Rightly viewed, politics can add richness and vibrancy. As a golden calf, however, it will become rancorous and divisive, and lead you to wage war against your neighbor for something as silly as a yard sign.
Loyal friendships, tried and true Abruptly over, because they vote Blue Civility ceased, long since dead
around the world and the impact of economic globalization have eroded away our emotional buffer. Now unfortunately, rather than seeing the rapid updates to our understanding of the Book of Nature as supplemental to the Book of Faith, they are overwhelmingly pitted against one another as irreconcilable, warring factions. This false dichotomy has led many to accept one Book and completely reject the other. Sadly, and unnecessarily I might add, this has sparked a steady erosion of the trust granted to our local communities of faith, and their leaders, in the important role they play as one of the key pillars of our outsourced ‘sense- making.’ To further complicate matters, the overall well-being of the American family has suffered harm as well. Tracking the percentage of children who grow up in two-parent homes is one of the best proxies to gauge the health of the family. The latest figures show a 20% decline since Once discovered that they vote Red In days ahead, regrets will swell With passion cooled, showing friendships felled From sleep arise, as time expires Flee, my friend, from these pits of mire
BUSINESS & POLITICS
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