Four Score and Four Years Hence: The Optimism of Much Sturdier American Generations Fades Toward Black…?
With the busy holiday weekend there was no “normal” or “schedule” to my Sunday morning but eventually I did get around to my habitual Drudge-Instapundit-Powerline-Redstate progression to get a feel for what was going on in the world. It was at that third stop (1) that Mr. Johnson directed me once again to the Calvin Coolidge speech marking the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (2). This time I printed it for a more proper read.
Packed with wisdom, warning, and optimism, I suspect the good Mr. Coolidge couldn’t even imagine a perfect storm of voter ignorance and apathy that could result in our current federal leadership triumvirate:
Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection. (Emphasis added)
Assurance? Confidence? Secure? Adequate? Not so much in 2010.
He provides some historic perspective…and we should fully expect the dismissive arrogance from Lindsey Graham our current aristocracy:
But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility…The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.
In looking back, he seems to be describing the more recent movement as seen through anything but the MSM’s narrow band make-the-inside-the-beltway-creatures-feel-better narrative filter:
It was well advised. It had about it nothing of the lawless and disordered nature of a riotous insurrection. It was maintained on a plane which rises above the ordinary conception of rebellion. It was in no sense a radical movement but took on the dignity of a resistance to illegal usurpations.
It is worth the time to read the entire speech.
Looking over the much underlined pages of his text this morning and other “printed” presidential addresses in my trusty notebook, the thought strikes me of how remarkably unremarkable in a historical context the prepared remarks have been to-date from President Obama. Beyond his now tired substance-less style, I suspect tomorrow’s historians aren’t going to have much to work with. Long after the spin of a friendly media looses momentum and the cold, hard perspective of time focuses, history will most likely not be very kind to America’s first occupant of the Office of the President Elect.
Barack Obama has a long way to go to catch up to Calvin Coolidge.
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