Posts Tagged ‘Erie Canal’

Y’all Come Together Now, Y’Hear!

July 15, 2011

A clarion call for the Political Right and the Progressives to come together to forge an American consensus for the nation’s future.

Y’all Come Together Now, Y’hear!

by Jon Foyt

Here’s some common sense advice for a nation deeply divided about its basic values, its future and its continued well being as a democracy: Hey, Dear Leaders all, y’all come together and craft viable plans for the nation so that we all can meet the future head-on and prevail.
Consider this exemplary event: back in 1808 in Upstate New York in a community near what today is the city of Syracuse but was then only a dark and dismal swamp, two men and the voters who elected them influenced dramatically the course of our nascent Republic’s development.
As background for this little historic scenario, y’all recall that in the early years of our nascent Republic two opposing governing and political philosophies were continually debated amongst the male property owners of the thirteen states. The Federalist had one philosophy and the Jeffersonian Republicans quite an opposite view. The arguments between these parties grew vitriolic, as well as being elegantly debated by orators of the day.
Loosely categorized, the Federalist point of view sprung from the dominant European tradition that those in charge of society, namely the kings, the nobles and the lords of the manor were somehow chosen by a Higher Authority to own the land and to run society. The opposite point if view prevailed, otherwise we might have had King George Washington and a court of noblemen instead of President George Washington and a popularly elected (albeit in those days limited to male land owners) body of the people.
Now back to our 1808 true story for your consideration: Joshua Forman, an avid Federalist, and John McWhorter, an equally avid Jeffersonian Republican, campaigned for the New York Legislature on a combined “Canal Ticket.’ Elected, they carried out their mandate and together wrote the speech that Joshua gave before that Legislature later that year, following which the body appropriated the first monies for the survey of what was to become in 1825 America’s First Super Highway, the Erie Canal, which opened up the then Northwest to cheap transportation and trade and kept the British confined to the wilds of Ontario.
During the ensuing years following Joshua’s speech, the nation entered into a brief phase devoid of political parties as we know them today, a sort of common unity of purpose for the expanding nation, an era during which the nation put aside philosophical differences about how to govern this new land and this fledgling country and turned its attention, politically and economically, toward the West and toward forging the beginnings of what today has become a great nation.
You may observe that 200 years ago was a much different, and perhaps simpler time, and of course you would be right. But looking back, these two Americans did what was needed to be done in their era. Jump ahead 200 years from today and look back and ask: did Americans of 2011 and 2012 do what was needed in what today is “our era?”
So, fellow Americans, how about the suggestion that we in Rossmoor, as matriarchs and patriarchs of this nation, have a mandate to come together as did Joshua Forman and John McWhorter, back in 1808, to look forward toward the future and not to join with much of the popular media and the down and dirty political debate that wallows in the weeds of a dark and dismal swamp of aberrant and caustic name calling, racial slurs, birth certificate challenges and religious attacks aimed directly at the President of the United States of America, accompanied by wanton character bashing. Such aspersions, as delivered to us daily only widen and deepen what has become a non-productive national chasm, its dismal depths clung to by a far right warped ideology that eschews the truth and an opposite and stubborn decades old political dress that needs a new and brilliant bow, or at least the addition of something cobalt blue and brilliant.
Couldn’t this year of 2011 be the appropriate time for us all to rise above the mundane media muck that we’re hit with daily and come together in common purpose as all of us did on the Fourth of July celebration in the beautiful Dollar gardens and reach out together to claim the brightness that our future surely offers?

Jon Foyt is co-author of The Landscape of Time, a novel about the creation of the Erie Canal. His email address is: jonfoyt@mac.com