By Jon Park
As I sit to write this, it is July 4, Independence Day. I am reminded that 237 years ago, 56 men who put their John Hancock to a piece of paper, signing what could have been their death warrant.
Those now famous words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Those 56 men did not come to Philadelphia in total agreement. Some thought it was too much, others not enough. Some thought it not wise to attack King George. They argued and debated the merits of the document. Some of the signers did not like some of the other signers — John Adams hated Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson said Adams was “distrustful, obstinate, excessively vain, and takes no council from anyone.”
And yet, those 56 men came together, some, hands shaking, to sign that document. 56 men mutually pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for the greater good.
Can politicians in this day and age come together for the common good? To watch what happens in Washington, D.C., Frankfort and in New Castle, I wonder.
Last year at the 4th District GOP Lincoln Dinner, outgoing U.S. Congressman Geoff Davis gave an impassioned speech saying just that — that the problem is the extremes of both parties, who will not seek common ground. Those who believe that compromise is a bad word.
Politics has always been dysfunctional. But it seems it has ramped up. Instead of coming together for the good of the nation, the commonwealth or the county, a lot of time is spent spewing half-truths, distortions and name calling. The ruling party’s “It’s my way, or the highway,” mentality cuts off debate and does not consider the opposition’s point of view.
It is time that We the People say enough is enough. That we elect men and women who can take basic kindergarten principles and play well with others. Those who can find compromise for the good of those who elected them to lead.
I believe that if 56 men who knew that they could be killed for signing that document could find courage, compromise and common ground to do the right thing, then our elected leaders 237 years later should be able to do the same thing.
If not, it may become “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
Jefferson’s words not mine.