Partisanship and rancor are not new. We have not fallen from some republican ideal into a new style of debauchery. Our political battles have been hard-fought and hard-won right from the very beginning.
Although I attended the 1987 world premiere of Nixon in China (and saw subsequent performances in 1988 and 1990), last month marked the first time I had seen Nixon in China in 22 years. A lot has happened in the interim.
The 4th of July is a "feel good" holiday. Most of us are going to find ourselves beach-bound or at picnics with friends and loved ones. On a deeper level, it carries powerful meaning because of the freedoms that were delivered from our Founding Fathers.
So as we celebrate another day off and think of fireworks, hot dogs, and all the rest, let's give some thought to how and why this country was founded. And consider how far we have to go in meeting challenges that would daunt even the best of the Founders.
That this year's Guru Purnima comes the day before Independence Day strikes me as symbolism worth reflecting upon. Both India and America have always stood for something special in the world's eyes, and the two civilizations have enriched one another immeasurably with their gifts.
A product used not just by farmers but also by lots of us common variety home gardeners and lawn groomers has been linked to a variety of unsavory health effects from cancer (in people) to hormonal disruptions (in animals).
Imagine giving our Founding Fathers, some of the most learned and intelligent men in history, a tool like Twitter. Would humility win the day or would the draw of casting immediate stones outweigh etiquette?
When Washington died, the phrase which spread the country was: "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." While this may be almost universally true today, it was not when the man held office.
We seemingly jump from crisis to crisis as harsh rhetoric replaces substantive reform. However, the lack of civility certainly apparent today is far from new. In fact, it is as old as our republic and, historically speaking, much tamer.
Let us not ignore our responsibility to invest in the future by supporting education. We must not allow our representatives to protect tax breaks for the most advantaged while ignoring our responsibility to give the next generation the education they need.