America awash in ideas; may the fray continue

Jun 25 2013 - 4:10pm


In historic terms, the American Revolution is a sad and tragic event that didn't have to be. Americans were----at it's outset----an untamed and violent people. They were the sort who usually journeyed west at first (bipolar perhaps) compared with those who stayed behind. It became a war about ideas, but only as it progressed and, more so, in retrospect. There's is no reason there could not have been an American Gandhi, no reason independence and self-government could not have been achieved by nonviolent means.

Some of my co-religionists disagree with me, pointing out the revelation that says, "And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." I'm always sad when I hear this argument. It indicates our failure to understand whose blood is redemptive and whose blood is not.

That said, the foundation of our country was poured in the midst of war, or better said, in the clash of ideas that the Revolutionary War came to represent. America has always been a study, an ongoing dialogue between very different sorts of individuals. One side or the other cannot claim it.  

America cannot be found entirely in the liberal or conservative camp. America is in the dialogue, the ongoing discussion, the advance and retreat of social tides. America is wide open to ideas, fresh formulations and new interpretations, but it also values and frequently returns to the old ways, the tried-and-true creeds of our past.

America is awash with ideas that keep us young and involved. If you're conservative----or if you are liberal----you shouldn't pray for the victory of your ideas, but that the fray continues.

Douglas Donaldson



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