Sunday, February 8, 2009

Panama City News Herald Editorial

VIEWPOINTS: Congress is the new face of tyranny
Comments 12 | Recommend 1
February 07, 2009 09:00:00 AM

Let me begin by saying this is not written as a Republican, Democrat or member of any political organization. This is written as an American, an American who was raised with love of country, tears up on the playing of our national anthem, can barely hold up on the playing of taps.

I seem to recall a couple of old sayings: "What goes around, come around" and "History tends to repeat itself." A little more than 200 years ago, our forefathers pledged everything they owned, including their solemn word and their honor to work toward freeing themselves and their neighbors from the tyranny of an oppressive yoke.

Time has passed, generations have passed and history is repeating itself. The only difference is in the location of that tyranny. Tyranny has moved a few thousand miles west from England to Washington, D.C. We should all have a replica of the revolutionary flag that had in its field "Don't Tread on Me" flying in our yards and from our balconies.

From my days in school I remember reading about our ancestors crying out, "No taxation without representation." The only difference I see between then and now is in the notion that we are represented. I am reasonably confident that there may be a few in Congress who represent their constituents, but on a whole it appears they only represent their egos, their self-interests and their never-ending need to possess power.

Knowledge of our history seems to be fleeting. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable." His contemporary, John Adams wrote, "Children should be educated and instructed on the principles of freedom".

Our founders warned us of the potential troubles of democracy. Mr. Adams warned, "But a Constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." George Washington warned, "Guard against the impostures of patriotism." Benjamin Franklin probably simplifies a course of action the best: "Diligence is the mother of good luck"

We need to become more diligent, more aware of our history, if for no other reason than the reminder from Thomas Paine: "If there is trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."

John Manville, Lynn Haven

Voices From Our Past

I believe that to understand human beings it is necessary to think of them as part of the whole living world. Our essential humanity depends not only on the complex biological structure which has been developed through the ages from very simple beginnings, but also upon the great social inventions which have been made by human beings, perpetuated by human beings, and in turn give human beings their stature as builders, thinkers, statesmen, artists, seers and prophets.

I believe that each of these great inventions — language, the family, the use of tools, government, science, art and philosophy — has the quality of so combining the potentialities of every human temperament, that each can be learned and perpetuated by any group of human beings, regardless of race, and regardless of the type of civilization within which their progenitors lived; so that a newborn infant from the most primitive tribe in New Guinea is as intrinsically capable of graduation from Harvard or writing a sonnet or inventing a new form of radar as an infant born on Beacon Hill.

But I believe, also, that once a child has been reared in New Guinea or Boston or Leningrad or Tibet, he embodies the culture within which he is reared, and differs from those who are reared elsewhere so deeply, that only by understanding these differences can we reach an awareness which will give us a new control over our human destiny.

I believe that human nature is neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically evil, but individuals are born with different combinations of innate potentialities, and that it will depend upon how they are reared — to trust and love and experiment and create, or to fear and hate and conform — what kind of human beings they will become. I believe that we have not even begun to tap human potentialities, and that by continuing humble but persistent study of human behavior, we can learn consciously to create civilizations within which an increasing proportion of human beings will realize more of what they have it in them to be.

I believe that human life is given meaning through the relationship which the individual's conscious goals have to the civilization, period and country within which one lives. At times, the task may be to fence a wilderness, to bridge a river or rear sons to perpetuate a young colony. Today, it means taking upon ourselves the task of creating one world in such a way that we both keep the future safe and leave the future free.
Margaret Mead essay 1951.

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