But myths become dysfunctional when they cripple instead of inspire. The cult of the founding fathers has become masochistic, as we invoke them to rebuke ourselves for having such petty politicians. We put the founders on an imaginary pedestal to look down on our own politics as beneath their contempt. It is all too easy to pick on Mrs. Clinton as no Jefferson or to denigrate Mr. Trump as a sad declension from Hamilton’s lofty heights. We castigate ourselves for not risking our lives, or property, for some higher ideal.
And that’s a good thing. We don’t have to make the sacrifices demanded by a bloody revolutionary war waged against our loyalist neighbors and a mighty overseas empire. We need to preserve our free institutions and values rather than create them in the first place. We have to manage a superpower rather than struggle to endure as a third rate country in the midst of rival empires. We cannot repeat the founders’ showy performances, for we must play less heroic political roles far downstream in the flow of time and events.
Our politics are not always worse than theirs were. The revolutionary era was no golden age. To preserve the union, the founding fathers felt compelled to preserve slavery. Today, women can vote and lead. In the founders’ era, a husband could beat his wife provided the stick was no thicker than his thumb. And despite the multiplying insults of modern politics, we have not yet resumed shooting one another in duels. We distort the past and discredit the present by inflating the founders’ virtues and denying our own.
Fonte: Alan Taylor, NYT
segunda-feira, 17 de outubro de 2016
No tempo deles...
Para quem se interessa pela "falta de civilidade" da actual campanha presidencial americana, o NYT tem uma op-ed de Alan Taylor, um professor de História, muito interessante sobre rivalidade na época dos "Founding Fathers":