I have made a pilgrimage to the houses of democracy and dipped my toes in the ocean of ideas our fore-fathers shed their lives-blood for, only to drown in the sea of hope they inspired in the generations of Americans that followed in their footsteps. I went in search of an absentee spirit only to discover a wellspring of poetry carved in cold marble that warmed my heart and instilled within me a peace and tranquility that all but obliterated the chaos that reigns inside of me.
As I sat on the cold, unforgiving marble of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial reading the five quotes carved into the walls out loud to my daughter, I became misty eyed and hoarse. Mr. Jefferson’s words have never failed to move me but on this occasion, at a time when I have worked myself beyond exhaustion, my defenses were at an all time low.
So, where does this leave me at the dawning of a new year?
I am going to post here those quotes on my blog. The quotes that brought tears to my eyes and hope to my soul, I hope they move you as much as they have moved me.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We...solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states...And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.
Almighty God hath created the mind free...All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion...No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.
God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
And lastly, one of my all time favorite T.J. quotes.
I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
Happy New Year my dear readers. I hope the coming days and months bring you happiness, joy and prosperity.