OPINION COLUMNS

Can nation endure on present course?

By Eddie Dunlap | Published Saturday, October 13, 2018

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A political polarization of the United States has come to fruition as feared by the founders of our nation.

Human nature has infected the body of states once again and threatens elements required for the union to sustain any measure of viability in a tumultuous world. Survival of the union may indeed lie within the scope and stated intent of the early founding documents.

The question is can the fallible idiosyncrasies of human nature be corrected before irreversible damage is done?

In selling the Constitution to the people of New York, Alexander Hamilton wrote Federalist No. 1. Hamilton stated, “After an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the union. The safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as a general misfortune of mankind.”

Hamilton watched as a piecemeal Articles of Confederation served the colonies against the British, yet was failing miserably to cement individual vulnerable states into the protection of a more perfect union. Individual states might possess their own independent ideas for themselves; however, a plan for unified protection against invaders, foreign and domestic, was non-existent.

The Declaration of Independence boldly stated why the colonies desired their independence. Yet in its declaration that all men are created equal with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, it failed to define whether human beings could be considered as private property. An idea that slaves were private property in a country, which declared all men are created equal served as a boil festering for more than 80 years. The result was an eruption of pus, vitriol and hate proliferating into a great civil war threatening the union itself.

On Nov. 19, 1863, during the Great Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. In that speech he would resound, ” our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure … that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Greed, vanity – indeed the very essence of human nature serve to severely fracture any notion of true liberty as that desired by our founders. Sending men to the moon, harnessing the power of the atom; as intelligent as humans may become, they have not arrived at an ability to escape the imperfections of their own humanity.

How long can we, as a nation, deviate from our founding roots and expect to survive as a Nation? At the nucleus of our dilemma is the question: What is the appropriate role of government in our lives as liberty-loving and free citizens? This is not a Republican or Democrat question. It is an American question. If not answered soon and affirmatively, our United States of America is in jeopardy. Lest we learn and remember mistakes of our history. As polarized as our society has become, can we, as a nation, long endure? Not without the faith of our founders and a blessing from the Almighty.

Eddie Dunlap is a Decatur resident and has served as president ofthe Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists and on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

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