Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“If We Can Land on Mars, We Can Preserve and Creatively Rebuild American Democracy.”

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What really amazes me about our country is how we can ingeniously explore new frontiers in science, medicine, industry and other fields of human endeavor but can’t devise a creative political culture that will consistently move our nation forward. If we can land on Mars why can’t politicians use the political system and “political eugenics” to help millions of Americans out of the doldrums of despair?

America is like no other nation on earth. Few countries can boast or rival our greatest scientific and political accomplishments. The irony is that we can achieve great leaps in science and technology but still cannot seem to create a political system committed to implementing permanent life changing legislation that will positively transform American life and culture. On the one hand, we joyfully and rightfully extol our expansion of scientific knowledge and celebrate its greatest minds. On the other hand, we fail to find political solutions that will wipe out the daily miseries of the common folk and meet the basic needs of all Americans.

While President Obama has persistently tried his hand at political innovation with the Affordable Health Care Act and other policies, the problem is that Republicans in Congress have offered no creative response other than a cold hard, “no,”which will never suffice as a creative solution in solving our nations long term problems.

Another irony is that the American political system has historically brimmed with creative thinking. It began as a bold stroke of imagination by people possessing a larger, loftier vision of a new world of self governance whose legacy lives on today. The intellectual architects of this new system such as Madison, Paine, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, to name few, and both their ideological and theological forbears in Greece and Rome and the Hebraic-Mosaic Exodus Tradition, were not short on imagination or lacking in vision of what humankind could ultimately achieve in the world both socially and politically.

The American Experiment in Democracy emerged in part because the Britishmonarchy under King George had depleted its political options, abandoned creative wisdom and failed to innovate new ideas that would both annex and assimilate the new colonies while harnessing their growing discontent. But as with all successful systems and organizations, “their successes became their excesses,” in the words of Speed Leas.

One important word here is “experiment” which progressive science and progressive politics hold in common. It is a bold desire to move beyond the present state of existence by taking risks that can result in greater discoveries of our true capacities as a people and as a nation and thus move civilization forward. We could not have landed on Mars without “cut and try” experimentation. We could not have developed American Democracy without the culture of intellectual experimentation and exploration that were products of the Enlightenment and which greatly influenced the Founding Fathers and Western political culture.

Liberty, I remind you, is the primordial seedbed and bedrock in which the germination and gestation of creative ideas flourished in the new experiment.  The people also understood that the rights of man were ultimately granted by a sovereign God, and not a sovereign regent, but would be made all the more brighter by a charitable state that believed in its people and how ever tenuously at times, it still kept to the great ideals which gave birth to the new experiment.

While this beloved system of American Democracy is not perfect, it is still the best system known to humankind and is slowly being whittled away by leaders lacking creative imagination, dispossessed of compassion or even a remote understanding of our greatness as a nation or the broader and grander sweeps of human history which have in part brought us to our present place.

In their impulsiveness, they have vowed to put to death the greatest democracy on earth. In their shortsightedness, they have recklessly abandoned any pretensions to a higher calling; to a greater knowledge; to a more humane human ethic; to a deeper empathy and to larger possibilities of an America greater and grander than in all previous generations.

They have vowed in their board rooms and back rooms to take a great nation that has towered over other nations in human history with sterling achievements in every field of human endeavor and decided to dismantle it brick by brick, word by word, thought by thought, by confiscating resources, demonizing political opponents and abbreviating those freedoms that are hallmarks of our true creativity and greatness.

Could we have come this far without freedom, without the creative fertilization of free striding ideas in a free thinking society? Having creative room to “go, glow and growhave been hallmarks of this creative American ethos.

Unfortunately, we now see a political and fiscal elite that has taken our nation, not picture perfect but nonetheless beautiful, and defiled it and spoiled it and injured it and slowly eroded its land and dispirited its people, until there will be nothing left of her greatness and her legacy. They have appropriated a perfectly great experiment in American Democracy still pregnant with great potential and possibilities, and still on the upswing, and stunted its growth, scorned its common citizens and are throwing it all away in a narcissistic pursuit of greed and selfishness that sees only it’s solitary self in the fractured mirrors of a looking glass self which are spintered shadows of its former self.

It is not so much greed that is killing us but the lack of compassion; not so much mindlessness but the lack of imagination; not so much near sightedness but the loss of a panoramic vision, and the true corrective vision that will cure us of our political astigmatism and our moral incoherence. It is not so much apathy that creates our lethargy but the failure of nerve; the refusal to do something new; to see things differently and to dare to do creatively and boldly ala the true American spirit.

In the present political culture some leaders are afraid to exercise thought beyond the established boundaries of their continued homogenization. What is weighing us down is not only political but also cultural in the deification of the new idiocy and stupidity; the glorification of the expert absence of knowledge and the dumbing down of our creative genius, the loss of imagination, innovation and a common sense that’s not so common and the courage to be and to do.

Needed today more than ever are freedom, imagination, courage and creativity; leaders who can see a greater vision, who have the moral and political will to bend the archs of democracy towards freedom and justice for all; who can engage the passionate quest of creative ideas; who in the words of Addison “leave no stone unturned and no avenue unexplored” in using their minds and imaginations to create something better; to do something greater; to surmount something higher and to reach something farther than the current political descent into mind dumbing numbness and madness.

Needed today are creativity and imagination; a “we can do it so let’s pursue it,” mindset.  Rather than being content with political representatives who fall below or just barely meet the needs of their constituents, we can begin calling for  uber represenstatives who give a surplus in helping the American people; those who will give it all they’ve got; who will fight tooth and nail to keep the ship afloat; those who will do more than expected in serving their country and its people. That’s the creative “umph” we need in a culture where politicians are handsomely rewarded for doing nothing. Perhaps those who are not giving their all should be placed in penalty boxes or given a lengthy time out until they can come to their higher minds and do something meaningful to help the everyday people.

Now this is very creative indeed and there are numbers who meet this uber description already. They go above and beyond their peers in all political categories but still too many in the Congress lack the political and moral will and the creative verve and verse that will get things done.

Friends, if we can land on Mars we can preserve and grow our democracy.  We can create great science and cure diseases and still create a society that will move us beyond our political and fiscal retardation. If we can land on Mars surely we can create a better society. We can harness the creative energies and resources of our people. We can find better ways of sustaining our presence in a universe whose very life and soul are slowly smothered by a” I will take everything you have and everything that you are ever going to have,” credo.

With all the resources that we have at our hands; with all the great minds that we have in our midst, with all of the assorted ways that we can look at our world and live in our universe are we now stuck where our spirits can no longer soar, where the eagle spirit of our great nation is being slowly dissipated by the people who have no imagination; by billionaires who have no feeling for the poor; by politicians who have no sense of history of what America means and no future sense of what America can yet become?

There is a reason why the Bald Eagle is our national symbol. There are some who are perfectly content in politically and economically transforming the great American Eagle into a bird that walks and no longer flies. They are hard at work in reducing the power and flight of the great American Eagle through” paltry political pedestrianism, basking in the glow of “partisan poultry politics.”

 Stop trying to convince the Eagle that he is a chicken! Stop clipping the wings of our beloved democracy and endangering its species and allow it to soar and soar and continue to soar for every single American. Yes! Every American! 

So where is the imagination and creativity? Just saying “no” politically is not imaginative enough. Just putting up political barriers is not creative enough. Just spouting one sided ideology is not sufficient enough. Political name calling and blame gaming is no longer enough! Creating craters and holes for political opponents to fall into is not politically or practically enough! Where is the creativity? Where is the political ingenuity? Where are the “Watch Me Pull a Rabbit Outta My Hat” political leaders? Where are the great minds in public service; the thinkers; those of creative imagination; those who can think as people of action and act as people of thought?

Where are they?

On Mars?

5 responses to ““If We Can Land on Mars, We Can Preserve and Creatively Rebuild American Democracy.””

  1. Dorothy Merchant Avatar
    Dorothy Merchant

    What brillance… My, my…
    I am not sure a politician can counter the pressure of the PACs especially after the Citizens United law was passed giving very rich donors that leverage to throw money at elections to get the “right” player that will do their bidding at the appropriate time…
    I pray for us all….American may be just a fleeting memory if something truly radical does not occur. What would it take to mobilize a sedated population of citizens who either are in denial or feeling impotent?
    You might enjoy this article , “The New American Oligarchy: Creating a Country of the Rich, by the Rich, and for the Rich ”
    by Andy Kroll

    God is your power source . As usual, Pastor, you keep shining the light. Keep shining. Some of us are seeing things a lot clearer. . LOL
    P.S. Did you follow up with Huffington Post?

    1. cfstewart Avatar

      Thanks Dorothy for your timely and insightful reply. I appreciate your comments and the article reference that you just made. I am just now trying to settle into my vacation and address some church related issues. I will visit Huff Post to determine steps to upload articles. Thank you again and have a great day.


      1. Dorothy Merchant Avatar
        Dorothy Merchant


        1. cfstewart Avatar

          You are so right. I am trying to enjoy this time. Still have work to do though. Thanks for your concerns.


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