Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Silent Cal

Among twentieth century presidents, one of the most ridiculed has to be Calvin Coolidge. His economy of speech earned him the nick name, “Silent Cal.” The economies of his administration sent the progressives of his day into fits of outrage. He was presented as a “do nothing” president by his critics who thereby shared their lack of knowledge of the founder’s intent with their contemporary counterparts. Coolidge actually understood the US Constitution and the founding principles of the nation—his critics were clueless.

For an example of the former president’s attitudes we look at this quote:

“In a free republic a great government is the product of a great people. They will look to themselves rather than government for success. The destiny, the greatness of America lies around the hearthstone. If thrift and industry are taught there, and the example of self-sacrifice oft appears, if honor abide there, and high ideals, if there the building of fortune be subordinate to the building of character, America will live in security, rejoicing in an abundant prosperity and good government at home and in peace, respect, and confidence abroad. If these virtues be absent there is no power that can supply these blessings. Look well then to the hearthstone, therein all hope for America lies.”

To fully appreciate his remarks, we need to isolate the symbolism of the hearthstone. We may well simply observe the first five letters—h-e-a-r-t. Ninety years ago, that common spot was indeed, the “heart” of many homes. From that isolated location came the warmth against the chill of winter. It was the source of the vital sustenance which provided the energy to face the rigors of life. Above it from various hooks hung vital tools for the maintenance of their very existence: the rifle, the heated water, kitchen tools, a wisk broom, and perhaps a favored picture or two next to the bible on the mantle.

By that reference he assigned the critical importance of family and individual citizens as the driving force for every national purpose. Life has since become far more complex but the original principle has not changed. He fully understood that we are, and continue to be, a nation of laws and not men.

With his parsimonious language, it is unlikely that he could be elected in today’s world of blow dried politicians. It is imperative that on this day, we take his words to heart and follow the lead which he provided if we are to return to the solid greatness of the former nation.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

No comments: