LSAT Kung Fu Blog / 1L Summer, Independence Day Interregnum: The Dream
1L Summer, Independence Day Interregnum: The Dream
In the dream, our impulse was to welcome rather than to turn away. We wanted to be a shining city on a hill,1 not too far away, not impossible to reach, with a draw like an electromagnet. We were not pollyanna-ish about it. We knew that we must protect ourselves because there are always threats.
In the dream, we were smarter. We knew that families fleeing persecution are not the threats. We also knew that separating families as a deterrent against future families seeking asylum was cruel, arbitrary, immoral, and pointless from a practical point of view. In the dream we were practical.
In the dream, we judged each other on the content of our character.2 We could tell who the good guys were and who the bad guys were by what they did. We didn’t make excuses for intolerable behavior. In the dream, we knew better.
In the dream, we believed it was important to be decent. We put a premium on it. We built a whole system of government to protect it against indecent men and women. In the dream, we thought that a decent majority would be an adequate backstop against the minority threat from the bad guys who are always present. In the dream, we knew enough not to give them power.
In the dream, we lived in harmony. That means we weren’t all singing the same notes all the time (that would be boring anyway), but we were singing the same song. It sounded like an invitation. In the dream, it was an invitation; we told the poor and those who yearned to be free that we wanted them to live and work with us here.3
That’s because in the dream, we believed that there was more that unites us than that divides us.4 We believed we could be one. We were sensible. We knew we would disagree. That’s what families do. In the dream, we thought of each other as family.
In the dream, we thought that all people were created equal, and that just by being human, they had the inalienable right to liberty.5
We thought there was nothing wrong with us that couldn’t be cured by what’s right with us.6 In the dream, we maybe thought that we were better than we are.
In the dream, we remembered that all of us came here originally from someplace else.7 We thought that was one of the good things about us.
The dream is not dead quite. Not yet. But it does feel more like a dream nowadays. Like something we remember. Something that used to be, not something we look forward to. But even in the dream, we knew that when we fell, we wouldn’t fall to external enemies; we knew that if we faltered, it would be because we had destroyed ourselves.8
The one part of us (maybe the only part of us right now?) that doesn’t feel like just a dream is this sentiment: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”9
I don't think it's wrong to believe the dream, or at least to behave as though it's real. That's what I'm trying to do, anyway.
Happy 4th, you guys.
1 Ronald Reagan. I mean, none of this is partisan except in the sense of right versus wrong.
2 MLK. You don’t need me to tell you that. Just credit where it’s due.
3 Emma Lazarus, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
4 Barack Obama
5 United States Constitution
6 Bill Clinton
8 Abraham Lincoln
9 Margaret Mead
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