“For amber waves of grain.” Katherine Lee Bates of Massachusetts wrote this phrase years ago on a visit to Colorado. This week, I found this sea of grain in Oregon. The sight is so typical of the U.S.A.
For the lyrics of “America the Beautiful,” it might have been fitting if Bates had found more neutral language for this phrase: “. . .crown thy good with brotherhood.” I’d like to ask, “Katherine, would you use 'brotherhood' if you were writing in 2015?”
Citizens and residents of democratic nations exist, really, day to day in smaller communities. These communities--families, schools, shops and offices--create common understandings, or cultures. Think of your small community or your neighborhood. These cultures feed into nationhood. The nation feeds back those values. It's in the community that the roots of democracy are nourished.
". . .God mend thy every flaw." No matter what nation you live in, you can surely list its flaws. I have my own list. How do we reconcile the flaws with the higher values we honor on our national day?
I always go on to think these words: ". . .so help me, God.” I consider the best and highest of national values to be spiritual, a calling to us all to achieve a higher greatness. It takes time and cultivation for ducks to fly in flocks and months for grains to grow into golden waves. We-- individuals, in communities, forming nations--can grow into much higher grades of gold than we've yet achieved, relying on ourselves, called on and cultivated by a Force beyond ourselves.
Happy Fourth. Visit www.darrellreeck.com next week for another post.