By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
Most of the time, I try to take a conciliatory approach to politics, looking for the areas where people can agree.
Sometimes, however, it is difficult to believe how wide the rift has become between the views of what America stands for.
Gone are the days of the American statesman and perhaps with it any possible chance at binding the two Americas into one.
We’ve been here before.
Perhaps the largest chasm in the views of where our country should go came at its founding, but there was a key action that perhaps made it easier to move forward.
Not everyone was on board for the Revolution against Great Britain.
Only about a third wanted to form a new country. Another third wanted to remain a part of England. And yet another third really didn’t care either way.
In a nation of about 2.5 million people at the time, that meant about 800,000 wanted independence, and another 800,000 wanted to stay a part of England.
So much for democracy.
There are some principles that trump election, and they light the torches of freedom. They overcome fear thoughts like losing your life or your fortune or your sacred honor.
Certain rights aren’t up for a vote, and that includes the right of self-government. It also includes the fundamental freedoms of the individual.
There is a reason only 33 percent of the people were able to pull off the biggest military upset in history — they had a clear vision of what it meant to be an American.
They put fear aside and risked everything to establish a new nation.
Fear is a powerful tool for the status quo. It freezes good people into doing nothing because of not knowing what comes next.
Even if some did not like the king, they had to question, “Why trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away?”
Still, the idea of freedom and the rights of humanity overcame, and America did in fact fight for and win its freedom from England.
The idea of a new nation built on the foundation of self-government still might have failed if there was not another key component to the revolution.
Once victory was achieved, the new nation still had to become one in belief of self governing, and something had to be done with the loyalists.
Those who not only didn’t believe America should be free, that America could be the beacon to the world, that man could govern himself had to go.
More than 300,000 loyalists headed to other British colonies and territories. Of those that remained, their property was confiscated. Much of it was later returned, but the message was clear, believe in America or leave.
Those that remained were now committed to the experiment in a new republic, and those that would have worked against it and its principles were gone.
This is critical to the success that was part of the noble experiment that continues to this day.
We should make the same offer to those today that do not believe America can be a beacon to the rest of the world. Those who believe America is what is wrong with the world should be invited to do what the loyalists did — leave. If they do not believe in the idea of America, they will prevent it from being what it was intended to be.
Likewise, communities cannot build with a bunch of people working against it.
Social media shows us how many critics we have here. If these people do not believe in our community and its future, why are they here?
No community was ever built on criticism but on a vision for its future. Those that do not agree with the vision should go somewhere where they do.
Complaining is destructive. Offering solutions is risky, but they can change a community and the world.
Either join the cause or get out of the way. We are moving forward.