In search of common ground
To the editor:
Although I disagree with some aspects of the content of Bobby Doss’ Aug. 14 letter to the editor, “Stand with Trump to save America,” there are several things with which we agree.
By the very appearance of the letter in the Register & Bee, he and I are fully in accord with the important role that newspapers must play in disseminating information. Thomas Jefferson prevails in his observation: “The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter” (1787).
Not Facebook, not Google, not YouTube, but newspapers remain the most important cornerstone of a free and educated people. Hats off to him for using the medium of a free press to express his opinions, as protected under the First Amendment of our Constitution.
Doss is absolutely right in his assertion of the paramount importance of that Constitution. The preservation of our republic depends upon the rule of law and the adherence of our elected officials to “protect and serve.” And, like Doss, I love America, and continue to pray every Sunday that “Almighty God save our country from every evil, within and without.” It is the perception of those “threatening” evils, where my fellow patriot and I part ways, however.
Although my kinsman, Richard Oglesby, was a founding member of the Republican Party, I do not view the Democratic Party as evil or destructive. All summer long, I have observed members of that party insist upon the primacy of law over personality; of fact over untruth. The disrespect many members of that party (and many Americans in general) display toward our president has been duly earned by the president himself. In almost every instance of his administration, the president has shown himself to be ignorant of law, disrespectful of the traditions of this country, unpatriotic, mean and petty. He has displayed a narrowly personal ambition unknown to American politics since Aaron Burr dreamed of a vast “Empire of Ego” across the Mississippi (and was arrested for his efforts in 1807). Diplomat and former Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze (honored in 1985 by President Reagan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom) said it best: “Overweening ambition contains the seeds of its own destruction. A rigid sense of justice untampered by mercy fails to achieve its goal.” There exists no example in history, of this nation or any nation, where reckless narcissism paired with ignorance and disregard for the law leads to sustained, enduring freedom and prosperity. None.
I also disagree as to our so-called immigration dilemma. The Democratic Party has repeatedly stated that it does not advocate open borders; to continue to assert the opposite is untrue and misleading. I am the product of immigration. My ancestors walked out of the Canadian wilderness to Ohio; came by boat from Liverpool in 1862 (aboard the Etna: steerage fare: $30); docked at Battery Park in the 1850s, fleeing a Germany in political tumult. One of them even sailed to Virginia in 1636 as an indentured servant. No one asked any of these individuals what their bank accounts were, or what their educational background was, or even whether they could speak English (at least two of my ancestors could not).
I suppose Doss has as interesting and diverse a heritage as mine. Why then should we, children of immigrants, deny modern immigrants the opportunities we were granted, simply because they arrive at a different time and from different lands? The Americanization process is strong: The penniless, inarticulate, confused and frightened refugees of today, are the parents of teachers, lawyers, doctors, policemen, servicemen and patriots of tomorrow. This land is not full; we need the energy and optimism of new arrivals. We disparage and castigate these modern versions of ourselves at our extreme peril — as Americans, as individuals of faith, as human beings.
And so, Doss and I disagree on these points. That is our right and our privilege. Our ancestors fought to preserve these rights, as we must as well: No misguided claim of “fake news,” or calls to “send them back” or “lock her up” or even “shoot ’em” should deter us from asserting our love for this country, its principles, ideals or aspirations.