I love history, especially when it is about my own country, and I have read a lot of it over my years. At times, it feels encouraging to know that what I perceive to be catastrophes in what is happening today has happened before (sometimes worse) and somehow we overcame and moved on.
The downside of reading history is that it tends to be a myth buster. I am coming to the end of “Undaunted Courage”, the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition, by Stephen E. Ambrose. It documents the whole experience from when it was first a dream of President Jefferson, his sell job to congress, and his choice of Lewis to lead it. The political climate was not pretty and Thomas Jefferson lost some of his hero-osity for me. Congress also came off looking pretty nasty at times. Already there were signs of egoism and bitter division between parties. This was only 30 years into being a country!
So my reflection this morning is not whether we lost something of our purity over the years or whether we have matured in our efforts to become a true democracy, but whether we ever “had it” in the first place. Readings I did about the revolution revealed division and violence between factions, deliberately misinforming the populace, intense animosity among the leaders, and manipulation for personal monetary gain.
I miss the rose colored glasses I once wore.