Aspirational America

“we spent the next century plus– up to and including now, today– addressing the problems created by the country’s economic dependence on chattel slavery in an incomplete and unsatisfactory manner.”

19th November 1863: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, making his famous 'Gettysburg Address' speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery during the American Civil War. Original Artwork: Painting by Fletcher C Ransom (Photo by Library Of Congress/Getty Images)
19th November 1863: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, making his famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery during the American Civil War. Original Artwork: Painting by Fletcher C Ransom (Photo by Library Of Congress/Getty Images)

There’s this post that Jaquandor linked to, by a person who had visited Gettysburg, PA in July 2015. That was the site, of course, of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, a site that President Lincoln would visit in November 1863, and mistakenly proclaim: “The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here.”

This Outside The Law person wrote:

I believe the United States has as its chief value in the world its aspirational qualities, and I believe that those qualities are best expressed in the Constitution and its supporting documents, particularly the Federalist Papers. The Constitution, a living document, is, like all scripture, flawed.

The 3/5ths Rule, for starters was the seed for the horrors of the war I’ve spent the weekend thinking about, but we spent the next century plus– up to and including now, today– addressing the problems created by the country’s economic dependence on chattel slavery in an incomplete and unsatisfactory manner. It’s great that we have the 14th Amendment, but it would be a far better thing if we had more Supreme Court Justices that believed that the 14th Amendment means what it says.

It occurred to me that both the strength and weakness of the United States is that some of its people believe that ideals are achievement.

So this is an overly broad, open-ended question: How can America achieve its stated ideals? What does that look like?