From the Outside Looking In
by Beverly Hicks Burch
There is a little observation point called “from the outside looking in”…a second hand look or an objective opinion if you will. Being on the receiving end of this opinion can be uncomfortable at times, or it can be uplifting and helpful. In the 1830’s, the young nation we know and love as our home country, this United States of America was on the observing end of a very perceptive young Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville.
de Tocqueville was a political thinker and historian who came to the New World to study our prison system, but ended up studying the country as a whole, including the government. He couldn’t help but want to see what was making this young country “tick” after going through such a bloody Revolution. His own country, France, seemed embroiled in one bloody, oppressive revolution after another…a travesty for a true liberty loving Frenchman.
There were things in this new, young, raw country called the United Stated of America that fascinated de Tocqueville. He went back to France and wrote two books about what he saw here. The first was Democracy in America (1835) which is actually considered an early work of sociology.
I have some favorite de Tocqueville quotes and I can think of nothing more fitting than sharing a few of these quotes with you on our nation’s birthday:
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville Scary, huh? I think we call those public assistance programs.
“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” – Alexis de Tocqueville With soul searching, how do we stand here today?
“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” – Alexis de Tocqueville What would de Tocqueville think if he saw America today? What would our soul searching tell us here?
“When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.” – Alexis de Tocqueville Yes, we can all learn from the past and from history. We can renew our spirits.
We have good “bones” in the foundation of our country. An outsider saw that from the outside looking in. Can we see that ourselves? Can we see the forest for the trees? Or have we become like the people another man talked about?
This man’s name was Isaiah who lived about 700 BC and was writing to the nation of Judah. Isaiah wrote about a time of unrest, strife and turmoil. He had some pretty wise words:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! ” Isaiah 5:20
People, when we live in a society that HAS to pass laws to protect children from predators and then have states that won’t pass those laws…then we have problems! The very fact that we HAVE to pass laws to protect our young in the first place says something is very wrong with our society. Our children always should be safe. Period. When we have men putting innocent young children on websites for vile reasons…we have problems. When child porn is a billion dollar global business…we have a problem. When we have a society that produces that kind of people…we have problems. And, when we have a judicial system and special interest groups that are more interested in protecting the rights of the predator than the victim…we have a problem! We are calling evil good…and good evil. God help us all.
What do we need to do? Well, on this our nation’s birthday I can think of nothing better than to look back…illuminate our future as de Tocqueville said with our past and remember what made America great and good…“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Happy Birthday America! God Bless the USA…
© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.