Love Letter to America (EP.102)

Love Letter

Summary

The Declaration of Independence in 1776 (Revolution 1.0) was the Founders’ Love Letter to America. Revolution 2.0™ is mine.

Dr. Martin Luther King called the Declaration’s breakthrough vision for a new nation “a promissory note”. I have called that vision a “statement of direction.” Whatever the descriptor, let these words sink in: “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.”

I am in love with that vision, with the people who risked everything to give that vision life, with the people who have not only kept it alive for us, but have delivered on its promise the past 2 ½ centuries, and with you, my brothers and sisters. We are the inheritors of both this breakthrough vision and the responsibility for continuing to deliver on the promissory note, to continue to more forward with the Declaration’s statement of direction, to fulfill the promissory note.

I categorically reject, based on facts we will discuss together, the idea that our country, America, is anything less than the deliverer of that unique, powerful and overwhelming loving vision; it delivered that vision to itself and to the world. For the next 10 minutes, we will unpack what I mean when I write that Revolution 2.0™ is, “A Booster Shot”, and why Revolution 2.0 is, at its core, a Love Letter to America.

Transcript

The Declaration of Independence in 1776 (Revolution 1.0) was the Founders’ Love Letter to America. Revolution 2.0™ is mine.

Dr. Martin Luther King called the Declaration’s breakthrough vision for a new nation “a promissory note”. I have called that vision a “statement of direction.” Whatever the descriptor, let these words sink in: “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.”

I am in love with that vision, with the people who risked everything to give that vision life, with the people who have not only kept it alive for us, but have delivered on its promise the past 2 ½ centuries, and with you, my brothers and sisters. We are the inheritors of both this breakthrough vision and the responsibility for continuing to deliver on the promissory note, to continue to more forward with the Declaration’s statement of direction, to fulfill the promissory note.

I categorically reject, based on facts we will discuss together, the idea that our country, America, is anything less than the deliverer of that unique, powerful and overwhelming loving vision; it delivered that vision to itself and to the world. For the next 10 minutes, we will unpack what I mean when I write that Revolution 2.0™ is, “A Booster Shot”, and why Revolution 2.0 is, at its core, a Love Letter to America.

We have forgotten how utterly revolutionary these principles were in 1776. Until the late 20th century, democracy alone was rare and generally short-lived.

The radical principles set forth in the Declaration were clearly a statement of direction, a promise made to America. There would never have been an America in the first place if the Founders had insisted on full acceptance of these principles from the beginning. With numerous ups and downs, deep embarrassments and moments of intense pride, and at great cost to our country in terms of time, treasure and blood, we have steadily advanced that fantastic, dangerous, breakthrough vision for ourselves and much of the world. Along the way, and by no coincidence, these principles created what is today the world’s most diverse nation, and the strongest and most financially successful one the world has ever seen.

This bears repeating: Along the way, and by no coincidence, these principles created what is today the world’s most diverse nation, and the strongest and most financially successful one the world has ever seen.

I love you, America.

As the inheritors, the beneficiaries, of that legacy of initially dangerously radical principles, benefitting from the ongoing supremely hard work of fulfilling the promise of those quantum leap principles, we have the happy responsibility of standing up for that vision. We have the happy task of continuing to build on that unique and powerful legacy. Revolution 1.0 needs a booster shot of renewed belief in the founding principles, and a clear-eyed recognition of how far we have come. And a plan for continuing to forge ahead. That’s the mission of Revolution 2.0™, “A Booster Shot.”

Much of my worldview is based on the conviction that America is an exceptional country, having made unique, powerful and vital contributions to the world in its relatively short history. Is America perfect? Far from it. It is deeply flawed. Are all great men and women deeply flawed? Yes. Are they still great? Yes. America is deeply flawed, and on balance clearly exceptional. The US has been on a unique and successful mission since 1776, starting with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. America was founded on astonishing principles. The most astonishing part is that this principled stand was completely unheard of in 1776. The Declaration of Independence was an international game changer, written at a time that hereditary monarchs and dictators ruled most of the world, and concepts such as private property for all and rights given to people by a Creator, were almost unthinkable. In the process, the Founders created the world’s oldest democracy; yes, that’s us–the world’s oldest democracy. The Constitution did allow slaves, and women were not allowed to vote. In 1789, only white, land-owning males were allowed to vote in most states. Had the abolitionists held out for no slavery from the beginning, there would have been no union, no America; the US would have been stillborn. But the Declaration was an all-important statement of direction. A direction we have been committed to and have been following ever since 1776.

Even prior to the Civil War (the ultimate oxymoron), the struggle between the North and South was fierce and continuing, with the South wanting more states to be slave states, and the North wanting to cap the number of slave-holding states. Over 600,000 Americans died in the war that liberated the slaves. That’s more deaths than in all of our other wars combined, including defeating the Nazis and Imperial Japan in WWII. Post the Civil War, the struggle continued as the South instituted the Black Codes as a way of continuing to use blacks for free or near-free labor. It was not until 1948 that the US military was integrated. And it took until the mid-60s for black civil rights to rise to the top of the nation’s attention and be addressed.

The progress toward fulfilling our nation’s original mission statements, the Declaration and Constitution, continues. It will never be finished. Perfection is always a target, and never a reality. As society changed, allowing social progress, albeit sometimes with tremendous pain, America has frequently stepped up to take the next step toward fulfilling its original calling. America has made terrible mistakes, some of them over extended periods of time, like the virtual elimination of Native Americans. But on balance, we come out well. And compared to other countries, we look downright good. Winston Churchill famously said, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”. Let’s paraphrase, “No one pretends that America is  perfect, or has always done the right thing. However, on balance throughout its history America has been exceptional, and has contributed massively and positively to the world.”

I love you, America, and I love my Brothers and Sisters who are building on our mutual inheritance.

All of this ties to the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, which are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

If we apply those two core principles simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

The Founders, Revolution 1.0,  were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. . In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.

Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean my “acting.”

  • Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
  • Comment in the blogs. Let others know that you are thinking.
  • Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
  • Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
  • From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and going forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Let’s grow this together.

And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.

Links and References

Declaration of Independence

Revolution 2.0™

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act.  And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show

Remember: Knowledge by itself is like running a winning race, then stopping just before the finish line.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden
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Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
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2 Responses

  1. Thom Meeks, Richmond, VA Reply

    Hi, Will.

    “World”s oldest democracy”? Well, close enough.* B. Franklin called it a “republic, if you can keep it.” What’s more, it gave the world the its founding document, the “Declaration of Independence”, an its Constitution. These are nice counterpoints to the French Revolution.**

    * BMLs anyhow. For those who want to quibpreserve ble, see https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-80426,00.html .

    ** The latter gave the world the phrase “Liberty, Equality, and Justice” and regrettably the Reign of Terror.
    What can done to preserve the legacy of the Founders & associated greatest generation? First principles still count,

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