1.20.2009

PEACEFUL REVOLUTION

BY CINCINNATUS

Today we witness peaceful revolution, a bloodless transfer of power from ideological rivals that reaches back to 1801, when Federalist John Adams turned over the still unfinished White House to his political enemy and lifelong friend, Republican Thomas Jefferson. The campaign that preceded that particular election was, as was common in the day, one of rancor, lies and vicious character attacks (modern politics doesn’t hold a candle to the shenanigans our Founders got up to). For the twelve years preceding Jefferson’s inauguration, the American government had been dominated by the Federalists, who feared what they considered the radical ideals of the Republicans, which they were certain would devolve into mob rule and anarchy of the sort raging in France. They even attempted to dismantle the Republicans through Congressional legislation with the infamous Alien & Sedition Acts. Through it all, however, Jefferson and his Republicans persevered, and on March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson strolled casually to his inauguration as the third President of the United States through the streets of Washington to the Senate chamber. His inaugural address, considered by most historians to be his finest speech, was one of humility, political reconciliation, and broad hope for the nation’s future. If you will indulge me, I will cite the following excerpt:

“During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

Two hundred and eight years have passed since that day, and here we are again, watching the mantle of executive power being transferred from one man to another in peace and by the popular will of the people. No shots fired, no palaces stormed, as they were in the despotic systems of the Old World and the scattered nations of modernity where tyranny is allowed to dwell still. Despite our political rhetoric as Americans, where free and open debate is not only permitted but celebrated, the will of the majority must be and is respected, and all of our best wishes are bestowed upon our new president, regardless of party or ideology. But though we wish our new president well, those of us who opposed his election are no less resolute as a result of his victory. We will be the loyal opposition, Mr. President.

Let we at The Children of the Revolution be among the countless today that will offer you and your family sincere best wishes and congratulations, President Obama.

4 comments:

Tony Cannizzaro said...

Three cheers for the President of the United States. May he govern with sagacity. Let us drink together in the hope that this man, hailed by many as the usher of a new age, will be guided not by the popular whim of the masses, but by the quiet wisdom of our Constitution, which is colorblind and classless, holds no grudges and feels no entitlements, wearing a blindfold as heavy and opaque as the Lady Liberty's, who stands firmly upon its shoulders.

Glasses up.

Here here, here here, here here.

Ben Wheat said...

Harrumph, harrumph...

Hariolor said...

Let us be glad for our bloodless coups. The day may yet come when our freedoms are so far removed from us that we will have to buy them back in blood.

Let us pray Mr Cannizzaro's toast is more than words, and that the rhetoric of our new president reflects not only concern for Americans, but faith in America and the foundational principles that make it what it is. Under Obama we may yet be a prosperous and great nation, but we may not be the nation we were founded to be.

I pray my fears are misplaced.

littleCog said...

here here.

It is a wonder to behold.