I have been examining this odd painting this morning - “One Nation Under God” by Jon McNaughton- www.mcnaughtonart.com/artwork/view_zoom/?artpiece_id=353 - which is yet another in the long line of attempts to show that somehow the men who wrote our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were ordained by God, and should be treated accordingly.
I rebel against this, with every fiber of my being.
It isn’t that I don’t revere these documents. I do, with a passion that, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote, “ . . . with the love I seemed to lose with the lost saints." It is a great, and all-encompassing love that I feel, and a pride, that these men brought forth these documents.
As a society, we have conflicted views of the Founding Fathers. On one hand, we have the Jon McNaughtons, The Tea Baggers, and the GOP crowd, who seem to honestly believe that these men couldn’t have written these without help. And they deify them, make them larger than life, and deny any blemish on their characters as some sort of liberal revisionist history.
And then there are those who point out that they were slave holders, and adulterers, and drinkers and god knows what else.
Well, so what?
As a people we should revel in every mistake they ever made. Not that we should try to emulate their actions, or even that they were right - because they were wrong on so many levels - but they were human beings, every but as human as we are.
We screw up. We can’t keep our pants up. We drink too much. But things haven’t changed that much. What they did, we can do. It’s done every day across the country, across the world, in thousands of countries and communities, by men and women who have the same failings - and many even worse - than our own Founding Fathers.
I’m not terribly interested in anyone’s private life, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses. But we have this tendency to weed our brilliance and creativity - does she drink too much? Did he have an affair? Even if it didn’t involve public money?
If you want a society run by plaster saints, well, you pretty much get what you deserve.
Did the men who created our country mess up in a lot of ways? Hell, yes, and one of the prices we paid was the Civil War. But for all their mistakes, they were flesh and blood, and privy to the same temptations and confusions and indecisions that bedevil us today.
Maybe we should have a holiday honoring that.
Election of 1800 Trivia
During the election of 1800, some preachers warned their flocks that if Thomas Jefferson were elected, Christians would have to hide their Bibles in the well, because he would no doubt have them confiscated.
Well, he won, and he didn’t.
Quote of the Day
A fanatic is someone who won’t change his mind, and won’t change the subject. - Winston Churchill