Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I am frequently amazed by the things no one thought to teach me earlier in life. All through elementary school I thought I was learning the central important information that other ideas were built on. While this is true, I still wish I had been taught some of the extra stuff earlier.
John Adams is someone I only ever heard of in passing until about two years ago. Sure I knew that he was a president and that his son John Quincy later became president too, but beyond that I had no clue who he was or even that he was involved at all in our separation from England at all.
As much as I admire and look up to General Washington and Thomas Jefferson, I feel like some of the time spent studying them (every year, the same stuff) could have been set aside for learning about John Adams, who was a great leader then and is a great role model now.
John Adams was among the earliest to recognize that we needed to separate from England. He was very passionate for that cause. I think he was passionate about everything he did. He ran his farm in Boston with the same care he used when writing letters to his wife, Abigail.
Beside his dedication to everything he did, John Adams is a good role model in his Christianity. He admitted God’s hand in the creation of this new nation. He recognized the risk in separation from England, but he said he would go forward with it, depending on God despite how “unfashionable” Christianity was at the time.
John Adams also recognized the need for certain circumstances under which the separation had to take place. He made the right connections, singling out Benjamin Franklin, General George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson as those of a like mind. Together with these individuals and his fellow delegates from Boston he slowly persuaded many of the other members of the Continental Congress of that reconciliation with England was unlikely and the time for separation was growing close.
He likely recognized this earlier than most because of British troops in Boston and British ships in Boston Harbor. That was his home. Boys and men he knew were fighting and dying. He cared so much about his home. He also recognized that this was one sign that the British were not looking for reconciliation. The colonists, in there mind, were no longer British citizens, but foreign subjects to be ruled over.
When there “Olive Branch Petition” was rejected by King George III of England, who saw the colonists as being in open rebellion, many of the other colony’s representatives finally saw that reconciliation was not a likely course. However, John Adams and others in support of severing ties with England still had to practice their methods of protracted political debates. Each had to have recognized when the best time to call for a declaration of independence.
When the time for drafting the Declaration of Independence arrived, John Adams recognized that Thomas Jefferson was the man for the job. He felt like more people would agree with what Jefferson said and how he said it. Adams recognized that he was not a well liked man because of what he stood for and how vocally he stood for it and he did not concern himself with pleasing others.
John Adams was an admirable man. He dedicated his life to the things he cared most for. He had a strong zeal for this new nation and a passion for protecting the people in it. He acknowledged God’s hand in all these things, despite the social climate of the era. He stood up for what he believed in and sat down for nothing. I am glad to know more about him.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
They came to our village. I don’t know what to call them. They are not men though. Even rival tribes are not this cruel. Many suspect they are demons sent to punish us. Have we not been punished enough by the scarcity of food and the wars with our neighbors?
They ransacked our home and the homes of everyone in our village. Some of the men tried to fight back, but these demons had tools. They were weapons like none we could make. There was no choice for us but to be bound up and lead away from our family, friends, tribe, and homeland.
Before long they added members of other tribes. Even our rival tribes. We were forced to stand next to each other, walk together, eat what little food we received together. As strongly as we were separated by wars before, we were bound by our hatred for these pale demons now.
We walked, trudging onward for many days. I could understand very little of the other tribes’ languages, much less the curious utterings of those monsters. I had no idea where they were taking us. The one thing I did know was that I would not be happy again.
When we could finally see the waters they brought us into a structure. The days I spent there were the first days I had not spent walking like some animal tied on a rope all day in many weeks. I heard them laughing often. It echoed through the huge structure and made it even to the remotest places. Only a demon could laugh while we starved, while we were pushed around like a lion rounds up its prey, while we suffered in this way.
Many of the women were taken advantage of while we were kept by the sea. I was one of the fortunate ones, who escaped that pain, but I witnessed it many times. From those women they took everything away. Their homes were gone. They had no family. They even no longer had a name. But most of all, their sanctity was taken. That is the one thing that caused many to lose their will to survive.
Now we are here on this boat. Shoulder to shoulder. They loaded us like fruits to be traded. With all the flies buzzing around in here, you would think we were quite rotten fruits. I don’t know how long I have been lying like this, but it feels like I have been here for years. I tried to roll on my side early on, but it is impossible. The ceilings are far too low and we are far too close to each other. No doubt they did that intentionally to keep us under control, even though many have lost the desire to fight. Those who wished to escape jumped off the boat as we were coming on. I am sure of their fate, but prefer not to think about it as my brother was one of those brave enough to dive into the waters.
There is the smell of dead flesh not far away. I have tried to hold my breath and ignore the overwhelming perfume of death, but it is no use. Being stuck here has given me much time to think. Often I have thought that the man who dies may be a lucky soul indeed. I have thought many times about how sweet death would taste. For now I can only continue lying here and hoping for the better.