These are interesting times

in the United States.

Those of us who’ve lived long enough have, of course, seen these before, more than we can count and, of course, each presents itself as “the” crisis of our times as if there was no before or after. For those who are younger without that history it must surely seem that way.

The genius of the American experiment is not that everything has always been perfect. In over two centuries there have been injustices, crimes, scandals, and any number of cringe worthy moments. It’s as historically blind to say these never happened as it is to say everything has always been riddled with them.

Rather, the wisdom of this Union lies in its capacity for self correction. Within its mechanisms has always been the means to face and correct what has gone astray, even if those mechanisms are, in and of themselves, riddled with human frailty. Of course, some things took too long, decades too long, but the point remains; they did happen and they still can.

Contrast this with the experience of those states where totalitarianism, of the Left or the Right, has been proposed as the avenue of utopian social change and been implemented on the promise. The record is clear, massive human rights abuses, a complete lack of respect for human persons and property, wealth for those in control with poverty for the masses, and death on an industrial scale.

Is our Union perfect? No, there is perfecting to be done. However the mere understanding that such perfecting can be done is why this Union, its constitution, its laws, its customs, and its potential for improvement, should be preserved if for no other reason that, even flawed, it is still the better alternative to any other and especially to those proposed by people who believe they can create the future by vandalizing the present.

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