Guest opinion: Now is not the time to pick apart America’s past
Summit County Republican Party vice chair
Note: This editorial reflects my opinion, and not the opinions of my fellow council members.
I am writing in response to Michael Andrews’ guest editorial in the May 1-4 edition titled, “We can learn from the Founding Fathers if we recognize they were not infallible.”
Let me first say, I am questioning his motives for writing. I am getting tired of the chipping away at our traditions, our documents, our heroes and our history. I see no point to his editorial except to raise doubt about the righteousness of our system.
We have a big problem in this country with people applying 21st-century attitudes to the founders from 1776. Mr. Andrews makes the point that our founders were “elite” men, the upper class of their time. There is a reason for that. Only the elite had a classical education. They studied Latin and Greek. They read Plato and Socrates, Rousseau and John Locke. They had the legal background needed to create this structure. Many of their compatriots could barely read.
Mr. Andrews made a point that no women were at the Constitutional Convention. I would argue their opinions were represented by their husbands. No one who knows anything about Abigail Adams could question her influence. But she also kept the home fires burning, raised the children and kept the family business from going under. (Kind of like a lot of women today.)
What is remarkable about these men is that even though they were the elite of their times, they looked out for “the little guy.” They built a system of liberty and justice and encoded it into law.
But not for all, Mr. Andrews points out. He references 1619 as the start of our slavery. Well, people lived here then, but we weren’t even a country for another 150-plus years. Domination was never the document’s intent. And I’d remind you that slavery is an old concept. Probably even older than the Israelites and Egyptians. This is NOT to justify it — because it was NEVER right to own another human being.
The whole world looked on with amazement at what our founders managed to create. There had never been a document like it. To quote Lin Manuel Miranda in “Hamilton:” “And the world turned upside down!” Many countries have followed our example, others have tried to tear us down.
Mr. Andrews said our Constitution was only ratified by the needed 10 states. So what? It was ratified — and that is what is important! Not everyone was able to foresee what was good for their own state and the fledgling nation.
Mr. Andrews says the Founding Fathers “were not icons of virtue.” They were “mortal men striving to create a nation that would survive.” This makes their document — that transcends survival and stands the test of time — even more amazing!
He says the Mike Lees, the Mark Levins, the Constitutionalists “simply know not what they speak.” I disagree. We need these people who study our history, our original documents and our intent. And we have a Supreme Court to back them up and apply our Constitution to the 21st century.
The only common ground I can find with Mr. Andrews is that “political hostilities and intense passions (of the past) were as high as they are today.” Patriots always rise when they see their country is in trouble. Now is not the time to pick apart our past or wait to see what others do. Now is the time to fight for America and the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Founding Fathers.
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