I have read more than once that Ben Franklin, on signing the Declaration of Independence, made the most profound statement of "we are all in this together" that was ever spoken:
We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.And he was being literal. If they had not succeeded in starting the Great American Experiment, every one of them would have been strung up by the hangman and done a little air-dance. He was making a joke, of course, but he was also deadly serious. This was no small enterprise they were entering into - and they all knew it.
With that pun on "hang," with that play on words that demonstrated just how important it is that we all stick together, that we all realize we are in this together, Mr. Franklin then set his pen to the Declaration and signed his name.
President Clinton and Elizabeth Warren and many other speakers tonight articulated this same premise. It's one of the things that the Tea Party and all its ilk - as President Clinton said, "the faction that currently has control of the Republican Party" - cannot stand about us. It's the source of President Obama's statement: "You didn't build that." It's an echo of Hillary Clinton's powerful statement that it takes a village to raise a child.
Why do the Tea Partiers and their buddies reject this idea? Why are they so afraid of it?
Jump past the fleur-de-Kos... not for answers, but for a little bit of discussion.
Well, as Dr. Warren said, "The Republican Vision is clear: I got mine; the rest of you are on your own."
When did so many people in our nation become so afraid of asking for help? When did asking for help become asking for a handout, instead of a hand up? Who poisoned the well with the idea that we are in this individually and don't you dare ask for help?
How long has it been since we have really all been in this together?
Dr. Warren also quoted the Bible: "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me." Now I may be an atheist, but you'd think that people who claim to be Christian would take that particular verse to heart. So many members of the Tea Party proudly tell you that they're Christians. And yet they ignore Jesus' words that say, in essence, "We are all in this together."
Why don't they take that verse to heart? Why do they ignore it?
Was it the Moral Majority who poisoned the well? Who was it? How long ago was it?
I don't have answers tonight. I'm too tired, and I have to be awake in seven hours and driving through crappy traffic to my wonderful job for at least an hour and a half after that. And I'm moving house, too. Maybe after I'm done with my move and settled down a little bit I can come back and talk about possible answers to this. But I'm throwing the question out to y'all in the meantime - do you have an answer for this? Who poisoned the well and made us afraid of hanging together?
And I'll say this, too. I love President Clinton's vision. I love President Obama's vision. I love the Democratic Party's vision for this country:
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.Let's not forget it again.