Thursday, January 5, 2012

America the Beautiful

The New York Times recently included an interesting article about the genesis of the poem (and song), America the Beautiful.

Among the comments was this one:

"America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!"

Thank you; my favorite stanza of this poem, and a relevant one in our times, as it was in the times of Bates.

Wittingly or unwittingly, the lines touch upon a broad subject, one with which this nation still must come to terms: every freedom FROM something must become a freedom FOR something better. Freedom to act freely must be followed by learning the wisdom not to act wantonly; the "soul" that strives for self-betterment must control the temptation to trample upon others; the freedom to possess is not the right to beggar another. A people free from tyranny has, more than any, the great obligation to willingly build a just society, and accept the obligations and self-control that come with that.

We are adrift as a society. Let us hope that the price of finding our course will not be terribly high.

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