Tuesday, November 6, 2012

John Adams and the Election

Well, no, he's not one of the commentators; he died a long time ago.

We just finished watching the movie of the life of the second US president, John Adams, based on the book by David McCullough. It seemed like a good choice for these election-crazy days. The movie begins with the Revolution that gave birth to the US and follows Adams' life until his death in 1826. I learned much about our early history that I did not know. The most striking thing I learned was that political maneuvering was well in play even in those early days of our country's formation.

That's discouraging and yet it also gives me hope. The country survived all sorts of manipulative moves, back-stabbing and backroom deals. Warbirds were held in check; rabid partisanship was held in check. Compromises were made. People were unhappy sometimes with the results, but often the results managed to put the government on the straight if unsteady path to forming a union all could live with and in.

After the ascerbity, name-calling, and pure fiction being thrown about in this campaign, it was a relief to find out that, guess what? It happened over 200 years ago too, and we survived to see this day, where we can still say "we" and mean our whole country. Even though angry, strident voices proclaimed doom and destruction if one or the other candidate won today, my bet is that we will continue on our winding, bumpy path to the greatness this country can become.

John Adams was a grouchy but intelligent old man; Thomas Jefferson was an idealistic, intelligent but scheming sort. Together the two of them with their very oppositional views guided the United States through those turbulent birthing years. And then died on the same day, July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. They worried, as we do today, about the future of this land and argued to the end of their lives about its governance. As we still do. When we stop arguing and become complacent, perhaps that is really the time for concern.

For now, it's onward to the next step, whether it be left foot or right foot first. Forward we will go, one step at a time.

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Rob Hunt said...

Well said a meeting of the minds is what this world needs. A third alternative is needed not my way or your way!

Nance said...

in my dispair . . . you brought me hope. thanks, Sue!

Nance said...

doesn't that just give you chills, that they died on the same day. And July 4, at that? and we Americans do, plow ahead. one step at a time; one day at a time. we getter done.

Jenny said...

I love this, what a great idea! I see a new family tradition for election nights: watch a historical American movie.

I.d love to share this post with friends but I want to be clear on your copyright - can I post a link on Facebook or email it to friends?

Sue said...

I agree, and i love your last paragraph. Well said.


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