By Dan Rather
Dan Rather’s Facebook Page (7/3/18)
As we approach the Fourth of July, my mind bounces between our uncertain present and the challenges of the past.
This is a time to rededicate ourselves to keeping the flame of faith buring…faith in the American ideal, faith in the American people to meet the challenges of troubled times, and faith in the potency of action to make the faith possible in the first place.
We must remember we’ve had good presidents in the past, and some great ones. We’ve also had some bad ones, and some very bad ones. The judgement of history ultimately will leave its mark on our present age. But one thing our history also teaches, a lesson that bears repeating and one for which I have seen ample evidence, is no president is more powerful than the American people.
Each fresh set of generations is tested anew. Our test is now; are we keepers of the flame or destined to be those who extinguished it?
If you think times are tough and things are hard now–and they are for many people in many ways –brush up on what our fathers and mothers, grandparents and great grandparents went through beginning about a century ago – a devastating world war, the Great Depression, a merciless drought, followed by the desperate years of a second world war fighting Germany, Italy AND Japan in a massive two-front, two ocean conflict, followed in turn by yet another terrible drought, emergence of the Cold War with Russia and a hot war in Korea.
Remember the lynchings and the deadly silence on those who defined love differently. Remember the dismissal of women’s rights and the desperation of those who lived in poverty without any social safety net. I know there is a sense that decades of recent progress are in danger of being erased. But as someone who lived through an America much less inclusive and just than our current time, I feel the battles of the past were not fought in vain.
“Down many times but never out,” has long been the mantra of an American people who have refused to lose faith, and who have refused to lose the nourishment of that imperfect faith of our founding ideals, a faith that is living still, desperate to be reinvigorated.
Do we still have it? Can we still “bring it?”
I, personally, have no doubt that we do and we will. But it’s true that each fresh set of generations is tested anew. Our test is now; are we keepers of the flame or destined to be those who extinguished it?
(Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with lnk to www.thecommonercall.org )