Monday, August 26, 2019

America: Who We Are

“By the twentieth century, America had be­come a proud land—the American with history as his witness, self-assured. So it was doubly surpris­ing after World War II when the Republic was at the apparent zenith of her power, that Americans found themselves reeling under the hammerblows of events. Emerging out of the 1950s, the Repub­lic plowed into heavy seas.

Campuses, college towns, and inner cities erupted in flames and violence. A gulf opened up between youth and aged, hip and square, black and white, conservative and liberal and radical. Various and sundry revolutions tore through the nation like a series of earthquakes—drugs, rock, and rebellion against the establishment among them—shaking the Republic to its foundations.

With the suddenness of lightning, President John F. Kennedy, the image of our youth, was struck down. The nation mourned and was never the same. Then the Martin Luther King and another Kennedy assassination followed.
And darkness covered the land. Or was it a brooding spirit? Who could see the outworking of an inner design, the gleam of hope, or the turn­ing of the tide?

By the mid-seventies, the storm had largely subsided. But the nation was rudderless and in the doldrums. Vietnam and Watergate troubled the national psyche and left most Americans un­sure of their purpose.

The Ford years were aimless and lackluster. During the Carter term, U.S. prestige so declined that our allies no longer considered us leader of the free world, but let us know we were now an "equal partner." Soviet imperialism was unchal­lenged because it was presumed to be unimpor­tant or not to exist.

America, it seemed, had become a helpless, hapless giant. The capture of sixty-six Americans in Iran was the height of ignominy. Or was it? It turned out, in fact, to be the turning point. First there were tremors of shock and indignation. Then the seizure galvanized a growing but largely unnoticed wave of patriotism. Yankee ingenuity, humor, and determination returned.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan mobi­lized American resolve to resist Communism. And suddenly the apparently dormant American spirit awakened to the dawn of a resurrection.

President Carter was out of step with the new mood. The electorate swept him from office and installed a man who promised to lead America to a restoration. Ronald Reagan, fortieth American president, rode the resurgent American spirit to a resounding victory.

Although one of Ronald Reagan's campaign themes was the return to American greatness, his election was more of an effect than a cause—he was riding the wave, not causing the tide. Some­thing subtle, yet more powerful than any man, is and always has been propelling the nation for­ward towards some unnamed goal.

Even though the pomp and circumstance of American heritage is back in style, the new patrio­tism is still more of a feeling than a conscious artic­ulation of values. There is still confusion about what course of action We the People should take. The problem is not one of indecision, but one of identity—when you know who you are, you know what to do...”

George Washington Acknowledges the Invisible Hand of God

In George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, he makes reference to the invisible hand of God that helped form the then fledgling nation: 
“ would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage...”

"By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, altho' death was levelling my companions on every side."
George Washington July,1755