by James T. Murphy
January in these parts is cold and long. One looks forward to the end of the month, if for nothing else than to determine how many resolutions are still intact. As brevity maintains a reader’s concentration, and interest, so too are a lesser number of committments on New Year’s Day likely to be realized.
No doubt though but that the beginning of a new 365 sunrises instills a sense of renewal, and nowhere is that feeling more expectant that in Washington D.C., unless of course your are a fan of the NFL’s New York Jets or Jacksonville Jaguars, in which case, yes you are expectant at the beginning of each season, but not in the sense meant here. Expectations are a funny thing; they can be a harbinger of pleasantries, but also a precursor to the same old thing. Let us hope that in the case of Washington, and on behalf of the aformentioned fans, this year marks the start of a turning trend.
Listing the achievements of the most recent Chief Executive from New York (following in the footsteps of Van Buren, Fillmore, Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, insofar as birthplace is concerned in any event), would on some corners, we are told the majority of them, only cause the aforementioned lack of interest. Reciting all the possibilities of Delaware’s favorite son, the First State’s first president, may likewise willfully blind the minority, thus rendering a great many apoplectic, or worse, indifferent. What Dick sees as reform, Jane may see as sedition, but no matter the political positions, one thing stands out, that the Union is alive and functioning, either with your approval or with a fear that all manners of tallying need to be reviewed, for the good of all.
Stop for a moment to consider the system itself. Every four years voters are given sway to execute choices with either wisdom or folly, this time depending on another’s perspective. Sometimes wisdom prevails, but mostly in hindsight. Folly on the other hand is all too obvious at its onset, and this applies not only to elections of course but also all manners of behavior, or misbehavior. Nevertheless, and strengthened by the midterm trip to the polls/mailboxes, the overall intelligence of the Constitution has to date prevailed, not so much because of the exercise, but rather as a result of the mindset as it were, that of freedoms, Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly, at al; without the intelligence of this arrangement, all would be lost.
Take happiness as an example. If happiness prevails on so-and so’s corner, it infects all manner of thinking, and thus becomes a reality. If unhappiness runs rampant, it can only dominate until an event of greater apprehension occurs. At such a time sadness and woe is re-defined; what was once unhappy recedes to merely unfortunate. For instance, ask any Afgani refugee you may meet about discrimination, the absence of opportunity, restrictions upon public discourse, etc. What you will come to learn about are the ills which would restrict and even destroy freedoms, which are sometimes taken for granted to those what got, and which in America are all pervasive, inescapable of practice, at least. This does not infer however that the U.S. does not suffer pains from likekind maladies, but rather in the global sense we are blessed with the unmistakeable priority of recognizing each individual’s worth and potential. It may not seem so at times, but that is what elections are for, to assure the voice of the people. The point is that the system is the mindset in this case. It is the politics that distracts.
To be Resolute in all things American then requires more than a desk. It shouts out for a legislative and executive branches that work together on behalf of all the people, and when necessary take the instruction and/or approval of the judiciary to heart so that the Freedoms remain intact and inclusive, to the greatest numbers, and within the bounds of the possible, and the humane. In the meantime we should resolve to treat each other as we wish to be treated. That’s one Resolution that, when genuinely in place, would seem hard to remain unfulfilled come the end of January, and beyond.