Where have all the real men gone?

November 3, 2008 by  
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A life surrounded by rare newspapers helps provide a tether to the past as a stronghold against the prevailing winds of revisionist history; a hidden advantage the hobby provides which would be difficult to find within the list of benefits offered by any other collectible.  Case in point:

Tomorrow’s U.S. presidential election has caused many of us to ponder the past, the present, and the future of our country, and to grapple with the decision concerning how we might vote.  This reflection has led me to  wonder how we have come to be where we are in this beloved country of ours.  One side-bar of being surrounded daily by “history… as reported from the day it occurred” is that the contrast between our forefathers and ourselves is laid bare.  Old newspapers reveal harsh and sometimes violent differences in opinion, partisan politics, and hostile political verbal exchanges in the public square.  Sounds like today.  So what’s the difference?  Although there were extreme differences in political ideology, there were absolutes which rarely faltered.  Regardless of their differences, our forefathers, for the most part, were united in their belief that:

1)  the Constitution was designed to be a document to be interpreted through the eyes of “what the country was not permitted to do to its citizens” rather than “what the country should do for its citizens”.

2)  the “pursuit of happiness” meant that citizens should be able to flourish through determination, a strong religious mooring, and the sweat of their brow.  Class and specific religious affiliation were not to predetermine one’s socioeconomic status… future… hope.

3)  regardless of religious affiliation, the Judeo-Christian ethic was essential in providing the foundation for the Republic – and the degree to which its citizens and leaders embraced this ethic would largely determine the long-term success (or failure) of this experiment is self-government.  Even the deists embraced this thinking!

Most importantly, they were united in their desire to create, nurture, and protect a government which would provide a better world for their children, and their children’s children.  No one had a sign on the back of their gold plated carriage which stated:  “I’m spending my children’s inheritance”.  Rather, they would have denied themselves everything if it could in some way make a better tomorrow for future generations.  They gave their very lives for this cause… and would do it again if able.  And they weren’t the only ones who grasped the principles of hard work, solid mooring, and self-denial.  How many millions more left everything, risked death on the open sea, and passed through the mass of humanity at Ellis Island, all for the opportunity to kiss the dirt of a country which they knew would give them the hope of providing a better future – not for themselves, but for their families as they progressed through future generations?

Now, partisan politics is paramount – voting our conscience is what we claim, but the voice from within has long been silenced by our pursuit of self gratification.  Queen, one of the many flamboyant bands of the 70’s and 80’s, described us well when they sang “I want it all… I want it all…  I want it all, AND I WANT IT NOW!”

However, it’s not too late.  We can still be “…the champions my friends…”, but we need to return to the dream of our forefathers, gather our moorings, break a sweat, and start thinking of our children’s children.  With the election at hand, why not examine yourself, seek truth, awaken the voice from within (or even better, the VOICE from within), and vote your conscience rather than simply the party line or for what is expedient?  It’s time to sacrifice.  It’s time to be men!

What other collectible would have solicited such reflection?

Note:  This post is focused intentionally on men.  I’m convinced most women still have their natural God given “motherly instincts” intact.  Even if subdued for a time, their desire to do right by their children is poised to leap into the future like a roaring lion.  Thanks women.  🙂

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Harper’s Weekly with Thomas Nast’s 1st Republican Elephant: November 7, 1874

Harper’s Weekly with Thomas Nast’s 1st Democratic Donkey:  January 15, 1870

Harper’s Weekly with both images as shown above:  September 19, 1908

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One Response to “Where have all the real men gone?”

  1. Steve on November 3rd, 2008 6:48 pm

    I am put off by those wanting change – at any cost. Our culture can be summed up by the phrase, “What’s in it for me?”. Sinatra sang, “I’ll do it my way”, Nike says, “Just do it.” Kids can look up “cheat codes” to find a way to win faster at video games. There’s no more waiting until you can afford something – use a credit card. Who we elect tomorrow is an image of where America is going. May God continue to bless America.

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