The debate — no, strike that — the fight over the nation’s debt goes on and on, and while it’s raging, our nation’s fabric is being torn apart.
Benjamin Franklin, wasn’t it? who said, If we do not hang together, you may rest upon it that we shall hang separately. Maybe it was Thomas Paine. At any rate, it was a true patriot. But there seems no longer to be any sense of together, of common citizenship, of one nation, indivisible — And all those who wrap themselves in flags and call themselves patriots may not be so — indeed may be the opposite.
So what is to be done? One simple solution might be for everyone to just SHUT UP and listen a while. We are drowning in noise, the noise of talking before thinking, of shouting to drown out the other — before us daily on television is the spectacle of countless Neroes, fiddling while Rome burns —
But I get overheated easily, and therefore am not an effective person to argue for cooling down, for reasoning, for courtesy, for civility. Let me have someone else do it for me. Once again, as I did in an earlier post, I call upon the philosopher Jacob Needleman:
“Shouting is not thinking. ‘Come let us reason together,’ the prophet says, God says to Isaiah… I think the moment you start thinking together with someone, immediately their eyes light up… I must confess I spoke to — I won’t say who, but I spoke to some members of Congress not long ago. We had a very quiet evening together and we started opening up, just what you and I are doing now. And they said, in effect, you know, ‘We never get a chance to do this. We’re in there trying to, you know, speak to television cameras or make points with electorates or with lobby groups, but we never…’ I said, ‘You mean you never come together and just reflect together?’ And they said no. To me, that’s the dirty secret of America at the moment. That’s the problem.”
Let us come together and reason together… let our eyes light up as we begin thinking together… Even at the eleventh hour there may be time …
And above all let us remember who we are, we, not I, not you — WE the People of the United States of America —