Thank you for returning to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. We’re glad you’re here!
I’ve spent some time reading and studying, trying to make sense of all the changes going on around us so quickly. American Founding Father Roger Sherman and President Woodrow Wilson captured my attention for different reasons. See if you can draw parallels in your mind between Wilson’s presidency and what is going on now. We tend to think this is novel, but America has been through some interesting times before.
Our second article in this week’s newsletter is about Roger Sherman. I fill you in on how he came across my “radar” to write the piece. You can find it also under “Articles” on the civcsandcitizenship.org website..
Thanks again for your participation and interest. Let’s begin.
“Everything old is new again.” People revive trends and fashions from yesteryear that we think are new but “it’s all been tried before,” as some say. Think of it as a modern twist on a resurrected idea from the past.
Lately, I hear people saying that our country is changing so fast that when they wake up they wonder what country they are in. Young people seem to believe these changes are novel concepts and that older Americans need to “get with the times.” Chances are, what is happening now is a rise of seeds (ideas) planted long ago. These ideas have been tried, failed, and are still being tried with the belief that this time they will succeed. But, it is sold as a fresh, better way to be America.
Take, for example, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th American president. He was a champion of big government and progressivism. Wilson suffered a stroke during his second term in office which left him partially paralyzed. It is said that his wife ran much of the government after his stroke. The public was largely shielded from Wilson’s condition.
There was talk of Wilson running for a third term (constitutionally legal at that time). Wilson wanted to make his League of Nations proposal a campaign issue for the next election. He was met with lots of political wrangling and even opposition within his own party. His health was an ever-present, behind- the- scenes issue. Dr. Grayson, Wilson’s physician, thought his health would not sustain the election and a third term. The press showed Wilson favorably as he began to take car rides in public. Privately, there was talk of Wilson, should he be elected to a third term, resigning from office once the League of Nations was a reality.
Does any of the above ring a familiar bell?
My goal is for us to recognize:
-Political parties’ aim is to win power; things go on that we don’t know.
-Political parties are not always loyal to their members.
-Behind the-scenes politicians and confidantes have major input.
-The press uses words and images to influence the population.
-Objectivity is hard to find, but an essential pursuit in a free society.
-Speaking truth to power is necessary but not always well-received.
-The public personna is not always the private one.
-Americans cannot elect the government to “take care” of them.
-We the People must daily decide to be a free people.
I see present-day parallels after spending an afternoon reviewing history. It’s easy to conclude that “everything old is new again.” Our Constitution, however, has timeless principles that work and should not be ignored. I say this often: when confronted with the choice to leave my future up to the politicians, the press, or the professor, or to stand on principle, I choose to stand for the Constitution.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸