Filling in the gaps of a 'more perfect union'

Mike Apgar’s “Pay your share for a more perfect union” of the July 28 issue of the DSN was astonishingly impressive. He states he loves America and pledges his allegiance to her. He proceeded to tell of certain things he admired about America. Unfortunately, he didn’t take the opportunity to fully complete his admirations. So, as a kind-of-friend, it will be nice to fill in what he didn’t think of. He began his with those who oppose paying taxes. That led him to his admiration of the American Colonies for opposing British taxation which they should have paid for British services. He also admired how the Founding Fathers really didn’t want any representation settlement for the Colonies’ complaints, so, the American negotiators were instructed to refuse any settlement presented to them. Now, what Mr. Apgar didn’t think about telling was that, just maybe, the British were eventually repaid, years later, with American resources that saved Britain and Europe in World Wars I and II. Then, also, by rejecting any settlement, it allowed him to become a free American citizen instead of a citizen of an American dominion similar to the Canadian Dominion of Great Britain. Mr. Apgar couldn’t resist in telling that George Washington was one of the wealthiest land- and slave-owners in the Colonies. What he didn’t think about telling was that Washington had a moderate amount of wealth of his own in land and slaves, both of which were increased by his marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis, who had inherited a rather large estate of land and slaves from her deceased first husband. It was correctly pointed out by Mr. Apgar that Washington did oppose the inclusion of black soldiers in the Continental Army, but he must have forgotten why. Washington, along with others, was dubious about arming slaves for the potential, but realistic, risk of a slave insurrection which would have dangerously jeopardized Washington’s battle against the British. The critical contribution to the Colonies of France’s intervention into the Revolutionary War was very adequately described by Mr. Apgar. However, it may not have entirely been a fraternal act of charity. Perhaps he didn’t remember the motive of revenge for France losing the Seven Years’ War (1758-1763) with Britain, in which she lost Canada and all her claimed territories east of the Mississippi River and hoped to regain by entering the war. Mr. Apgar went on to enlighteningly explain how difficult it was to form a new nation under a new Constitution, especially with trying to resolve slavery. He then touched on the expansion of America to the Pacific Ocean under the philosophy of Manifest Destiny at the expense of Native Americans. He didn’t remember the Mexicans. Subsequent to a new nation and territory, this led to elite groups who profited politically and/or economically. So, America became “a beacon for economic wealth and advancement,” as Mr. Apgar so eloquently put it. This resulted, as he indicated, in the development of a class of hardworking and law-abiding citizens; however, America was not a perfect utopia due to the discrimination of certain groups toward immigrants because of their ethnic differences. Yet, there were many that, Mr. Apgar may not have remembered, overcame the differences and became not only a prolific labor force in industry and also in commercialism, but contributors in the various professional fields, as well. Of course, in all good conscience, we could have returned the territories taken from the Indians, and the Mexican Cession to Mexico, and even asked for a refund from France for the Louisiana Purchase, but then, America’s “beacon” light of attractive prosperity would not have shone “from Sea to Shining Sea.” Mr. Apgar aptly implied that America had been a rotten neighbor to her Latin American neighbors. This was especially true under the “Big Stick” of intimidation diplomacy under President Theodore Roosevelt until it was replaced by the Good Neighbor Policy under President Franklin Roosevelt, which improved our relationship. As to Mr. Apgar’s reference to America’s exploitation of the Philippines and Cuba, he may not have remembered that the Philippines eventually were granted their independence in 1946. Cuba was never a colony because she was promised her independence by the Teller Amendment of 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Mr. Apgar is to be highly commended for his devoted loyalty of patriotism to America and for desiring a more perfect union by adopting the teachings of Jesus on love and nonviolence. Jesus did teach a lot on love, e.g., love for neighbor (Matthew 5:3), love for one another (John 15:10, 12), love for enemy (Matthew 5:44), love for God with one’s whole heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37) and love for Himself by keeping His commandments (John 14:15). However, this same Jesus also said, “Do not think I came to place peace upon the earth; I came not to place peace but a sword, for I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And the man’s enemies will be his family” (Matthew 10: 34-36). The desire Mr. Apgar has for all faiths and people without faith to make a more perfect union with Jesus’ teachings is impossible, for He is a divider of people: those who accept Him as Savior and those who reject Him. His claim “… no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6) is too offensive to too many people and the various religions. It has been obvious for some time that America has been de-Jesusized because of His exclusiveness. There is a hope for a more perfect union which is found in the words of Jesus in John’s Gospel, ch. 17, v. 21, “that all (true believers) may be one as you are Father in me and I in you, that they (true believers) also may be one in us.” It was a pleasure to give positive, objective and balanced understanding of our past and present to match Mr. Apgar’s incomplete. He, being four score and ten years old, just might have some senior moments about our history. And please pay your taxes, because it will take a taxing effort to improve social justice in America.

Jack M. Beck Retired Caesar Rodney teacher and Southern Baptist minister Dover

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