Being a somewhat old fashioned and sentimental Southerner, this most precious of American anniversaries in particular, with its historic songs and red, white and blue symbolism, leads me to think about patriotism and wonder what it means to America’s leaders today, compared to what it meant to the heroes of the American Revolution we celebrate.
History tells us some of what it meant to be a patriot in the years leading to the American Revolution, when “radical” politicians like Patrick Henry worked to legally expand broad voting rights at the local level while bravely resisting the distant British Crown’s taxes.
Another of those patriots, a wealthy man who preferred science and the arts to politics, who along with his family was chased from their home at Monticello when Cornwallis’ Redcoats invaded Virginia and attempted to arrest the author of The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson proved to be historically invaluable to our nation as he continued to serve in the political world with a sense of honor, duty and purpose for many years to come.
What would Jefferson say about the ridiculously obvious, partisan voting districts resulting from politicians’ gerrymandering to ensure their positions and their paychecks are safe from the will of the voters?
What would Henry say to today’s political leaders about the rampant voter suppression being legislated in state houses all across the country?
I suspect the leaders of the American Revolution would see these efforts by modern-day politicians to climb into their towers of power and pull the draw bridges up behind them as something much more akin to the feudalism they stood against than the patriotism they exhibited.
Where are the patriots in America today? Who in Montgomery or Washington is selflessly serving the people out of a sense of honor, duty and true patriotism and who is serving themselves?
James R. (Jim) Moore