July 4th Reminds Us To OverreachJuly 4, 2010 - Author: newscoma - Comments are closed
We are a nation of people that for over 200 years has set impossible goals and reached them. A president said we would land on the moon within a decade, and we did. Another president was so immersed in his convictions and idealism that he had to deal with the secession of the South and a brutal war that often had family members fighting against each other.
Idealism? Political strategy and pragmatism? In the end it’s what the history books tell us but I do believe without idealism that the other stuff really doesn’t matter.
In recent years, political idealism still exists but is put into constraints by political strategy. Maybe it’s always been that way. Outrage is not new to our generation. When Bill Clinton left office, we forgot the surplus and focused on a damaged dress but history has been much kinder to the elder statesman than his opponents would have thought ten years ago. It reminds me that now in a world of instant communication that we are so busy being irritated at our leaders that we aren’t seeing everything that they are saying. We can overreach and it’s not easy but it can be done.
A press release recently drew some state reaction this week from the TNDP. It reminded me that we take a few steps forward and go a couple of steps back. The thing is that I remember JFK saying we could make it to the moon and that he overreached. It worked. It are those that overreach that make history. It’s the political structure that sits on the sidelines safely, thinking more of reelection than setting a bold agenda that forgets the lessons of time and that there is a great responsibility to change a mindset or a social/financial more that oppresses.
We always live in a world of the possible and those who still want the status quo will fight for what they think is theirs and not on a world that really is everyone’s.
The Declaration of Independence was where our forefathers overreached, thinking long-term for a nation that escaped religious tyranny and oppression to create a republic that would focus on the equality of man. Of course the definition changed and it continues to change. We have fought wars, seen technology bring a world together where the world is more attached, shone arrogance and humility and we look to what is next.
What will my generation’s legacy be?
I believe it’s time we decide to overreach again. I see the Declaration of Independence as a guide to possibilities, a map to being the very best we can be.We should remember everyday, not just a day of picnics and watermelon and beer. There were no corporations then calling the shots, I remind you.
From the episode 100,000 Airplanes from The West Wing, Sam Seabourn tells a reporter about FDR’s State of the Union address where the country faced a new war with a vicious enemy. The fictional account has Pres. Jed Bartlet wanting to include that he wishes to eradicate cancer within a decade after he spoke to some oncologists who said it was possible but we lived in a world where we just didn’t know. Bartlet’s staff knew that politically it wouldn’t fly as their leader was facing censure and that the American people didn’t want to hear “I don’t know” but wanted concrete answers which aren’t always a given anyway.
It was a perfect case between idealism and political realities. He said:
“In 1940 our armed forces weren’t among the 12 most formidable in the world, but obviously we were going to fight a big war. And Roosevelt said the U.S. would produce 50,000 planes in the next four years. Everyone thought it was a joke. And it was. ‘Cause it turned out we produced 100,000 planes. Gave the Air Force an armada that could block out the sun.”
Overreaching is good. It’s important and it is in the spine of our nation. I hope that we can find that overreaching on social issues are important as well, that those who think larger and higher than their counterparts who play it safe, never make history.
Happy 4th and God Bless, my friends.