George Washington, General during the American Revolution and 1st President of the United States of America, cast a set of ideals on the role of the Presidency – and on living in this country – that should not be forgotten as we press forward here in the US over 200 years later. Where did these ideals come from? – the ‘Rules of Civility’.
These “rules” were a series of 110 fundamental ideals by which to live by, which stemmed from 16th century Jesuit teachings. While many of these rules reflect the simplest proper etiquette, scholars argue that they also encourage a confident public presentation at all times, and under all circumstances – the outward ability to stand above the rest even in times of crisis.
Unquestionably, every President since Washington has had to live up to the ideals he imposed on the Office. In Washington’s days, the layperson sought this out as well, and stood behind their belief systems and respective leaders. This is what our country was founded upon, and what keeps us unique in the global picture today.
But even in this uniqueness, recent times have exposed major flaws in our system. Today, our land of ‘opportunity’ has been misshapen by greed and selfishness. Rather than be willing to pay into the system (taxes) which has afforded us opportunity to pursue our dreams and goals, we are surrounded by schemes to capitalize on the lower and middle class, robbing the nation of its ability to afford reasonable and sustainable support and infrastructure to make ends meet. We’ve entered into a catastrophic landslide, where now ‘opportunity’ is viewed as the ability to avoid persecution, and benefit from a system of giveaways, without ever achieving margins of success that will afford giving back. This corruption runs deeper than can be imagined, and is a fatal flaw with the United States.
I agree with free market capitalism; I agree with affording opportunities to better the quality of life for oneself and for one’s family; I agree with taxation scaled to afford the nation’s infrastructure and resources to those in all walks of life; but I don’t agree with extending this greatness of America to those who have forgotten our ‘Rules of Civility’.
Those who are able to look beyond our shattered present-day likely see another time and another era of greatness. Can we fix what is already broken? Perhaps, but we should also consider that perhaps not – we may need to start over. Radical change has sculpted human civilization since the beginning, with major settlements and cultures nearly vanishing in what is an instant in geological time. It is with great certainty and necessity that our future will be one that has finally discovered responsible cultural evolution, free of greed and selfishness, and has applied lessons of today to a new global resourcefulness and consciousness – one where we explore and exploit our ‘Blue Planet’, taking life to where it has not yet been corrupted…the ocean may very well be our only hope as a species.
This 4th of July, think long and hard about why we are so privileged to live here, and proudly extend that civility that is embedded in our heritage to your neighbors. Think ahead, cooperate, think opportunity, and share a renewed ideology for this Blue Planet.