by William H. Huff (July 1, 1998)
There are those who build bridges, those who burn bridges, and those who repair bridges.
President Bill Clinton has told us he wants to build a bridge for us, to the 21st Century. To be fair to him, he wants to build it with our help. He seems to want to "build" on his past success by continuing the theme of "change" that became the non-substantive chant of his first presidential campaign. It must be working according to whatever polls are significant to his White House wonks.
As Mr. Clinton tries to distance himself from his own past on a daily basis with an ever-growing hoard of attorneys and apologists, he provides for us a metaphor of what America is doing. Unable to cope with her past, she is gradually condemning herself to a dysfunctionally rosy outlook for the future. False hopes that she can be great, without being good, are making her more and more pitiful to look upon, not only by her own most well-informed citizens, but by the rest of the world. She still possesses almost of all of the great documents and political tools to return to her original glory. The depth of denial has increased with each decade of her deliberate and willful ignorance. I do not speak of denial by ordinary citizens that have been reduced to a treadmill existence and carefully spoon-fed an education for "competition in the global marketplace." The mental nutrition available in a typical history or political science course is not quite up to the MDR that was standardized during the Founders’ generation. Law schools are far worse.
Anyone who doubts America’s public and pervasive ignorance of our original values and philosophies need only spend a little time here at lexrex.com and breathe in a little of what made America rise to the heights of national greatness; a status that was well deserved. We don’t need to commiserate anymore about our ignorance. We need to roll up our sleeves and return to the study of the law and the Constitution.
Yes, before we can build an American bridge to the 21st Century, we must repair the bridge to the 18th. Whatever we choose to ignore from that period will continue to haunt us until we acknowledge and learn the aspects of political technology that were mastered in that period.
If you "Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow," there is no time left to think of the past, and in particular, the most important aspects of history - that teach us that those who ignore it are condemned to repeat it. Sadly, we live in a generation so ignorant of history that they may repeat it without ever knowing. This is a generation that is primed for false messiahs.
The Republicans will get no free rides here. Americans must realize their "Contract With America," has as much Constitutional substance as Mr. Clinton’s "Bridge to the 21st Century." A government that has outgrown its Constitutional size cannot afford to talk substantively about its past. Its history must be continually revised as one must have clothing let out to accommodate gradually added pounds. The mirror provided by Madison, Jefferson and others, may be too painful to look upon at first, but look we must, if we are to survive.
Before anyone thinks we advise the Perot "fixin’ it" approach, we must insist that the national awareness of these matters is now at its lowest ebb. We are at least as ignorant as we have ever been, and therefore in a state of national jeopardy and imminent danger.
What we can do is gradually get out of our national denial by beginning to get out of our individual denial. Lexrex will provide the Bridge to the 18th Century. We will continue to rebuild it, piece by piece with larger and larger information and educational projects, and more useful tools for restoring the knowledge of the past, particularly in the realm of political technology.
There are already many Americans committed to this task, some of which have never had access to the documents available here. We are already seeing their excitement grow as they pick up these tools once more and as they confirm that they were not going crazy. The America they were trying so desperately to remember, really existed, in fact, she still exists.
When Mr. Gore speaks of "reinventing government," is he, or is he not, talking about a government that exists only within its Constitutional bounds? Do we hear him beginning many of his sentences with "as James Madison said..." or "according to Samuel Adams [not just a popular contemporary beer] the government’s responsibilities are limited to such and such?" What contemporary politician can articulate a sound position based in sound and profoundly American political philosophy? Who among all of these bright boys can prove their own political philosophies are consistent with the real Jefferson, Madison, or Washington? Who will help us restore the bridge to the 18th Century?
The main reason our politicians are not speaking from a Constitutional perspective, is that they do not have a Constitutional perspective. The people, in general, don’t want them to have a Constitutional perspective mostly because the people have never known where the glory that is called America came from.
Where can America go to get an honest and comprehensive understanding of her true heritage? Where can she go to get the tools to make sure her heritage remains her legacy? It will not take more than a few minutes of exploring lexrex.com for the citizen of good intent and average intelligence to realize he has come to the right place. We will continue to work hard to get the critical information on-line and accessible. In this way, we will provide one of the most indispensable tools for restoring the "Bridge to the 18th Century." Anyone is welcome to work with us, or challenge us, or even develop greater resources than these. In the end we will all benefit in that America will not be lost or stolen.
"You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not." - John Adams
"But we want no excuse for the supposed mistakes of our ancestors. Let it first see it proved that they were mistakes. Till then we must hold ourselves obliged to them for the sentiments transmitted to us so worthy of their character, and so important to our security..." - Samuel Adams
Even Samuel Adams, not only honored, but substantively referred to the past, recognizing the immense value of true history. He didn’t burn bridges, he rebuilt them. Can we do less?