Are we all dreamers? Do the words of the song “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables describe how you feel today? Do you feel that your dream is also in the past tense?
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
Many on the left, the political elites of both parties, the media and academia have accused Tea Party folk of being “dreamers” and “idealists”. The proper response to any such accusations or insinuations should simply be: “And your point is?”
Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and the other well-remembered founders were exactly the same. As were the long forgotten men who bled and died to make the dream a reality. They had a dream of a nation where people could rule themselves, and guide their own destinies. They had an idea for what they considered the ideal level of government.
Were they pragmatists? Were they willing to compromise their principles? Were they willing to negotiate? Well, yes, in fact, they were. The ringing, idealistic phrase in the Declaration of Independence, most remembered and emulated in the founding of other governments around the globe that tried to create their own dreams has always been:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”
Yet even in the document that justified their armed rebellion, there was negotiation and compromise. Pragmatism that not merely tarnished the dream, but condemned their new nation to centuries of pain and condemned millions to lifetimes of tumult. The southern colonies would not agree to support a call for independence from Great Britain until one article, a part of the Declaration that enumerated and specified George III’s tyrannies, was deleted.
What was the paragraph that was deleted from Jefferson’s original draft? It begins:
“[H]e has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation hither…”
Yes, one can argue that without deleting the reference to human slavery, the nation would never have been created. Each person must examine their own conscience to decide if the price of forcing millions of blacks to remain slaves was worth the price of freedom from tyranny for the millions of non-blacks in the country.
Was the decision of the founders pragmatic? Of course it was. Their lofty ideals were shunted to the side to achieve the ends that they desired – for themselves. This is not an accusation of hypocrisy, but an acknowledgement of the reality they faced. They could get most of what their ideals demanded, but not all that was demanded.
Unfortunately, some thirteen years later, when drafting the new Constitution, they doubled down on pragmatism. Article 1, Section 9 allows the importation of slaves to continue until 1808, and never mentions slavery in any other way.
Until after the Civil War.
Again, this is the work of the pragmatists, the compromisers and the negotiators, not the dreamers. Good job, fellas.
But the damage done by these pragmatic men and women is not limited to the, at best, uneasy race relations that have haunted our nation for 400 years, since European fortune hunters came to Jamestown. The damage continues to this day. How often have we heard from the left, the liberals and Progressives, the race hustlers, the radical feminists, the apologists for radical Islam, even RINOs, the phrase “Be reasonable.” A fairly accurate translation of that phrase into bald, everyday English would be, “Do it my way, or else.”
Demagogues don’t always scream at you à la Adolph Hitler.
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame
Sometimes they speak softly as they destroy the dream you grew up with. They tell you that “These poor people need our help”, when in fact “these poor people” need to help themselves. They tell us that we must give up some freedom “to heal the planet” when the planet is pretty healthy. They tell us that government is the answer to every problem we have and every problem that they can imagine we might have, and all we have to do is give up a little more of our freedom and liberty because holding on the dreams of the founders isn’t “reasonable”. They ignore the fact that the government is, more often than not, the cause of the problem, not the solution.
Of course their view of reasonable might involve limiting your right to speak your mind freely, or associate with whom you choose. It might involve reducing your ability to defend yourself by eliminating your ability to be as well armed as the average criminal. Being reasonable might mean working harder (if you can find a job) to support those who are better off financially when they are not working.
And these demagogues keep nagging and whining and complaining until the dreamers give in and are “reasonable”. Once that happens, they move on to the next thing on their agenda, and it starts all over.
What really drives these Progressive pragmatists to distraction is finding out that an enormous number of Americans don’t agree with their dreams of domination. They also believe that the dream of the founders doesn’t need to be “pragmatized” to death. Tea Party members and those who agree with them, the freedom lovers, the dreamers, and the idealists refuse to accept the words in the last stanza of the song from Les Misérables:
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.
For them, the dream is certainly not dead. What needs to happen now is that Tea Party folk need to bring the dream back to vibrant life, and every person who reads this article should celebrate the re-energizing of the dream in America, not plan to attend its funeral.
After all, Oscar Hammerstein wrote the lyrics to a song from South Pacific, which sums it up nicely.
You gotta have a dream,
If you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?