• We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately. -Benjamin Franklin, Freedom Fighter

  • We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. -Martin Luther King, Jr., Freedom Fighter

  • Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them, but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms. -Rudolf Carnap, Philosopher

  • A clash of doctrines is not a disaster—it is an opportunity. -Alfred North Whitehead, Philosopher

  • If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poet

  • Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi, Mystic

  • If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. – Rene Descartes, Philosopher

  • A house divided against itself cannot stand. -Abraham Lincoln, President

  • Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einstein, Scientist

  • Be the change you want to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi, Freedom Fighter

Constitution Day, 2008

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of
President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve,
protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Presidential Oath of Office
Constitution of the United States of America

The second American Revolution concluded peacefully on September 17, 1787 with the signing of our Constitution. Coming a mere eleven years after the start of the first American Revolution, we achieved victory in our second revolution through compromise and not the surrender of one party to another.

We, the People are seven weeks away from electing our 44th President since George Washington took the Oath of Office 220 years ago. It is the most hotly divisive election I have ever witnessed, although it may well pale in comparison to other contentious elections.

The world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.
Thomas Paine
Written of George Washington during the Election of 1796

As is befitting a free people, we Americans become awfully committed to our political persuasion and we are prone to say whatever we need to say to get elected. So we make a lot of noise trying to convince each other, not only that our choice is right, but that the other side is the devil incarnate. Even when the other side is George Washington.

Every generation needs a new revolution.
Thomas Jefferson

America has regularly heeded Jefferson’s advice. Our 3rd revolution began in 1828 with Jackson’s election, the first of our Presidents who wasn’t from the original 13 colonies. Lincoln led us through our 4th, the only time in our history that we failed to find common ground. The two Roosevelt’s led us through revolutions 5 and 6 while the Republican nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964 was the genesis of our 7th.

With the President’s and Congress’ approval ratings at record lows, with bickering and posturing in Washington the order of the day, the time has come for America’s 8th revolution. Both candidates know this. That’s why both are running on a mantra of change. Each believes that he — and he alone — is best prepared to lead America in our first revolution of the 21st century.

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the mind of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias.
Judge Learned Hand

Mr. Welch, my 4th grade teacher at Innis Street Elementary School, taught us the story of Washington’s leadership at the Constitutional Convention, how Washington was the catalyst for the compromises of our Constitution.

And even though we were only in the 4th grade, Mr. Welch didn’t shy away from letting us know just how hard these compromises were. Think about it: Half the thirteen states were firm in their belief that slavery was a moral evil while the rest insisted upon it as their God-given right. How far away from common ground is that! And yet — through Washington’s leadership — America found common ground in the Constitutional Convention.

Here lies the quality of leadership required for the next great American Revolution. The 44th President of the United States must lead us in a revolution to find common ground … away from the culture wars and back to the pragmatic idealism of 1787. Not a revolution of surrender but a revolution of compromise. Just like Washington.

Grateful as I am to John McCain for the wartime sacrifice he made for us, it doesn’t matter to me that he is a war hero. I want to know if he can lead America to common ground.

And regardless of the fact that Barack Obama’s election would make this white-American extremely proud, it doesn’t matter to me that he is Black. I want to know if he can lead America to common ground.

Nor does it matter to me if Sarah Palin can see Russia from her living room or if Joe Biden is …well, just plain ol’ Joe Biden. I want to know if they can lead America to common ground.

This election is not about the economy. Or healthcare. Or energy. Or education. Or our foreign policy. It’s not even about whether Sarah Palin believes in global warming or Barack Obama was being sexist for telling a joke about a lipstick-wearing pig.

This election is about choosing a leader for the next great American Revolution, a leader who can help us, We, the People, find our common ground. For that is what it will take to make meaningful progress on the economy, on healthcare, on energy, on education. on our foreign policy, and on the myriad other challenges that America faces.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.
Abraham Lincoln
Matthew 12:25

If the next President cannot lead the nation to common ground, America and the world will suffer.

But if the next President can lead us to the common ground that so many of us yearn for, then this 8th American revolution — our Revolution — may stand with its predecessors, both as testimony to our founders’ faith in the Spirit of Liberty and as a beacon, lighting the way as We, the People lead ourselves to that more perfect union.

Choosing this leader —then making sure he delivers — that is our responsibility in this election.

Let freedom ring.

Copyright © 2008. Stan Stahl. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to republish this essay in its entirety provided its source is identified asThe Agnostic Patriot at www.agnosticpatriot.org and this copyright is included.

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