William Kristol’s (Editor, Weekly Standard) evaluation of our State of the Union, July 4, 2013

William Kristol’s (Editor, Weekly Standard) evaluation of our State of the Union, July 4, 2013

The Spirit of ’76
BY WILLIAM KRISTOL
The Weekly Standard, JUL 8, 2013

“For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

So wrote Thomas Jefferson, in what turned out to be the last words he set to paper, in a June 24, 1826, letter to Washington, D.C., mayor Roger Weightman. Jefferson was regretfully declining an invitation to travel to the nation’s capital to celebrate the 50th anniversary of American independence with the District’s citizens as well as with “the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword.” Jefferson explained he couldn’t travel because of “circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control.” He died at home a few days later—on July 4.

Jefferson had been 33 when he served as the principal author of the Declaration. His fellow member of the drafting committee, John Adams, also died on July 4, 1826. He had been 40 in 1776. The man who was at different times Jefferson’s and Adams’s adversary, arguably the greatest of the Founders, Alexander Hamilton, as a 20-year-old in 1775, admonished his countrymen that “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records.” He then while in his early 20s served as General George Washington’s chief of staff during the Revolution, was at age 33 one of the two primary authors of the Federalist Papers, and at age 34 became secretary of the Treasury.

The Founders were young. That doesn’t mean they weren’t respectful of the wisdom of the ages. “Experience must be our only guide,” John Dickinson instructed his fellow delegates to the Continental Congress. And today, too, as the 237th annual return of Independence Day refreshes our recollection of our rights and an undiminished devotion to them, experience has its claims. Experience, after all, teaches the price of weakness abroad and of bloated government at home. Experience also provides guidance for remedying these problems. The lessons of Reagan and Thatcher aren’t so distant as to be inaccessible nor so difficult as to be inapplicable.

But sober experience won’t be enough to remedy our ills. We’ve never been so weak while facing such dangerous circumstances abroad. We’ve never run up this kind of debt except when engaged in a world war. We’ve never had to repeal and replace a program like Obamacare. We’ve never had to deal with the near-dissolution of the family among sectors of our society. We’ve rarely had elites so out of touch with middle America and, in some ways, with reality.

So the remedies can’t simply be based on experience. They will have to be bold and will necessarily be doubtful. They will have to be of the kind characteristically chanced by the young. This includes the young in spirit, of course. Chronology is not destiny. In 1980 the 69-year-old Ronald Reagan was more youthful in attitude than all the earnest 30-year-old establishment wannabes. In 1940 the 65-year-old Winston Churchill was more youthful in spirit than all the world-weary appeasers born decades after him.

In the 2014 elections, the fading appeal and dogmatic rigidity of reactionary liberalism will be nicely embodied by the Democrats’ congressional leaders, the septuagenarians Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Within the executive branch, a septuagenarian vice president and sexagenarian secretaries of defense and state are fronted by a young president with old ideas, tired views stubbornly impervious to change, and an increasingly cranky temperament.

Liberalism’s standard-bearer in 2016 will most likely be Hillary Clinton, who has maneuvered through four decades in American public life manifesting that characteristic combination of today’s liberalism—a keen attention to personal grasping and advancement along with the profession of glittering generalities and the adoption of fine-sounding policies regardless of actual real-world consequences. About these Bourbons of elite liberalism, one can only echo Talleyrand: They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Against them will stand the American people, resisting as best they can the depredations of modern liberalism, led by whom? With all due respect to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, theirs can’t be the spirit of 2014. And the spirit of 2016 can’t be the spirit of the recent presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney. The animating Republican spirit in these crucial elections has to be more like that of the young Jefferson of the Declaration and the young Hamilton of The Federalist. And of the 23-year-old Abraham Lincoln, who, in his first run for elective office, wrote to his fellow citizens that he had no ambition so great “as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.”

So, to the young and ambitious who are stirred by the admonition that, “It is better to be impetuous than cautious, because fortune is a woman. And one sees that she lets herself be won more by the impetuous than by those who proceed coldly. And so always, like a woman, she is the friend of the young, because they are less cautious .  .  . and command her with more audacity”—to the young in either body or spirit, we say: Run, baby, run.

The Founding Fathers dedication to Moses and the Jewish Holiday of Passover

Revised from an Israel Commentary article of April 2012

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=3171

Published in “Israel Hayom” (Most read daily newspaper in Israel)

March 30, 2012

Passover, and especially the legacy of Moses and the Exodus, has been part of the American story since the seventeenth century, inspiring the American pursuit of liberty, justice and morality.

The special role played by Passover – and the Bible – in shaping the American state of mind constitutes the foundation of the unique relations between the American People and the Jewish State. As important as are the current mutual threats and interests between the US and Israel, the bedrock of the unbreakable US-Israel alliance are permanent values, principles and legacies, such as Passover.

In 1620 and 1630, William Bradford and John Winthrop delivered sermons on the “Mayflower” and “Arbella,” referring to the deliverance from “modern day Egypt and Pharaoh,” to “the crossing of the modern day Red Sea” and to New Zion/Canaan as the destination of the Pilgrims on board.

In 1776, Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense (which cemented public support for the revolution), referred to King George as the “hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh.”  Upon declaration of independence, Benjamin Franklin, the most secular Founding Father, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second third American Presidents, proposed a Passover theme for the official US seal: the Pillar of Fire leading Moses and the Israelites through the Red Sea, while Pharaoh’s chariots drown in the Sea. The inscription on the seal was supposed to be: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” framing the rebellion against the British monarchy as principle-driven. The lessons of the Jewish deliverance from Egyptian bondage reverberated thunderously among the Rebels, who considered the thirteen colonies to be “the modern day Twelve Tribes.”

The 19th century Abolitionists, and the Civil Rights movement from the 1940s to the 1970s, were inspired by the ethos of the Exodus and by the Bible’s opposition to slavery. In the 1830s, the Liberty Bell, an icon of American independence, was adopted by the Abolitionists, due to its Exodus-inspired inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10).  Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), and her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe (“The Little Rabbi”) were scholars of the Bible and the Exodus.  Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery in 1849 and freed Black slaves on the Underground Railroad, earned the name “Moses.” The 1879/80 Black slaves who ran away to Kansas were called “the Exodusters.”  The most famous spiritual, “Go Down, Moses” was considered the National Anthem of Black slaves.

In 1865, following the murder of President Lincoln, most eulogies compared him to Moses.  Just like Moses, Lincoln liberated slaves, but was stopped short of the Promised Land. France paid tribute to the martyred Lincoln by erecting the Statue of Liberty, featuring rays of sun and a tablet, just like the glaring Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the Two Tablets of the Ten Commandments.

In 1954, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. compared the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools to the parting of the Red Sea.  In 1964, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King proclaimed: “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh’s court centuries ago and cried, ‘Let my people go.’”

President Reagan mentioned (Reagan at Westminster, 2010) Exodus as the first incident in a long line of Western resistance to tyranny: “Since the exodus from Egypt, historians have written of those who sacrificed and struggled for freedom – the stand at Thermopylae, the revolt of Spartacus, the storming of the Bastille, the Warsaw uprising in World War II.”

In July, 2003, President Bush stated, in Senegal, “In America, enslaved Africans learned the story of the exodus from Egypt, and set their own hearts on a promised land of freedom.”

In March, 2007, President Obama said in Selma, Alabama that the civil rights pioneers were the “Moses generation” and he was part of the “Joshua generation” that would “find our way across the river.”

(What Chutzpa!  Obama as Joshua! More confirmation of Obama’s classic narcissism and grandiose posturing) jsk

In 2012, the statue of Moses stares at the Speaker of the House, another statue of Moses towers above the seats of the Supreme Court Justices, a Ten Commandment monument sits on the ground of the Texas State Capitol and a similar monument will be shortly erected on the ground of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

In 2012, the leader of the Free World and its sole soul ally in the Mid-East, Israel, are facing the most lethal threat to liberty since 1945 – conventional and non-conventional Islamic terrorism. Adherence to the legacy of Passover, marshaling the conviction-driven leadership of Moses, and demonstrating the Joshua and Caleb courage and defiance of odds, will once again facilitate the victory of liberty over tyranny.

 

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative”

Addendum Comments:

On Apr 1, 2012, at 12:12 PM, cody flecker wrote:

Actually Uriah P Levy was the first Commodore in the US Navy serving in the war of 1812. His nephew was Jefferson Monroe Levy, and it was he who bought the run down home and estate of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello) at an auction. Jefferson Monroe Levy while not a religious Jew was at best an observant Jew. He was one of the founders of the American Jewish Congress, after the pogroms started in Russia in the latter part of the 19th century. The Admiral that you are referring to was Admiral Rickover who was the father of the modern nuclear fleet.

Also, Your article failed to mention that Judah P Benjamin was the highest elected Jew in the Confederacy 100 years before those honors were again bestowed upon a Jew (Henry Kissinger)

Regards,

Cody Flecker

Thanks and …  How about Benjamin Cardoza, Supreme Court Justice (Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (May 24, 1870 – July 9, 1938) was a well-known American lawyer and associate Supreme Court Justice and actually the first Hispanic  on the Court well ahead of the present Far Left Justice Sonia Sotomayer  that erroneously declared for that honor. 

Haym Solomon was the guy that financed George Washington through the American Revolution. Admiral Hyman RICKOVER, FATHER OF US NUCLEAR NAVY, developed nuclear powered submarine, died 1986

And, I am sure that are hundreds if not thousands of others of whom we can all be very proud.