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August 8, 2022

Funny Papers Again Column | Will America’s Past Dictate America’s Future?

We have just celebrated this country’s 246th birthday, a new country born with the words “We the people of the United States of America …”; this was the first time the name appeared to the world. This new country was democratically governed, economically capitalistic and a republic in structure; all operating under a national Constitution.

This unique blend became known as The American Experiment, and like all experiments there have been adjustments, as national circumstances required such legislative measures. Some of these national issues have been greatly and hotly debated as the future of democracy has been under a cloud more than a few times in the past two millennia and two score years ago.

The newly formed Union had its first crisis during the second term of her first president when George Washington struck a trade deal with former enemy England over ally France, which had half the citizens demanding the Father of the Country be hung for treason.

By the time the political landscape had developed into only two major parties the issue of slavery came to the forefront in the 1840s when the ever-expanding nation was adding state after state and citizens of these new legislative bodies were split on the issue of ownership of human beings. Only after rigorous debate in Congress did the Compromise of 1850 keep the lid on things for a decade; in which time states prepared for a war many were sure to come until the issue of slavery was forever settled. And that war did come.

The slaughter that took place on battlefields across thousands of miles of the American landscape was to date the most separated the people of the United States have become. During that time, as a nation, we became so separated we came to the point of killing our fellow countrymen and decimating vast areas of land and city, putting millions of non-combatants in harm’s way.

This Civil War resulted in a re-united country free of slavery, but not free of prejudice and racism. Those issues would not come to the forefront of American for another 100 years; and continues to be a major factor in society to this day.

But before the turbulent 1960s split the citizens over a Southeaster Asian war, this country suffered through a debilitating financial crisis known as The Great Depression; only to be saved from that frying pan to be tossed into the fire of a war on two fronts when blindsided by an attack in the Hawaiian Islands.

Prior to that catastrophe, the country split between those urging America to come to the aid of England and Europe and isolationists who believed our country had no business fighting foreign wars.

As mentioned, the War in Vietnam was the central issue that pitted Americans against Americans throughout the 1960s until the mid-1970s; a time during which the most voted man in American history, one Richard Milhous Nixon, went down in political flames.

And now we come to the present time. The post Bush-Obama-Trump years finds our citizens more separated than since the 1860s; separated to the point that politically fractional confrontations have resulted in deaths across the land, the U.S. Capitol Building included in the number. And current events keep the separation between peoples at fever pitch while the world looks on and wonders if this time America will pull through this crisis as she has in the past.

Well, folks, that is up to you and me. I wish us luck.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield Columnist
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