Friday, February 20, 2015

  The world is embroiled in politics, my Facebook page is filled with complaints from top to bottom.
I ran across this piece by Washington Irving that may give comfort to the younger citizens, and help check the agitated. Things haven't changed much, and I'm not denying there are many issues that must be addressed, but I think this presents a balance.

  "Just ordinary people are a distinct species of our population, neither rich nor poor, learned nor unlearned, proud nor humble, gay nor sad, fashionable nor unfashionable -- in all respects a golden mean; they have let us say, an old-gold finish that doesn't dazzle but wears well. I have one of them particularly in mind; a retired farmer living next door. Of a pleasant morning he walks leisurely down to the post office and returning, looks over the daily paper with its grist of thrillers; after a time the sheet slips form his grasp and flutters to the floor while the reader, not at all agitated, lapses into a comfortable doze. "Uncle Bill," as we call him, has the plain practical wisdom of just ordinary people.
"I guess it'll come out allright," he says; "they's allers got to be about so much stewin' whether its meat, veg'tables, politics or gov'ment."

Irving does not disparage the ordinary people, far from it; it is from this group that we find our leaders. With an education and the start they have in life, which is "unfettered by artificial ideas, and with the vigor of original minds and strong bodies carried the abilities, the independent spirit and the excellencies of just ordinary people." He explains it this way -- 
"Of the three classes into which our people readily admit of being divided, the middle section stands as the conservative portion, serving as a shock absorber to the immature policies and half truth agitations which are ever emanating from the lower strata of society, and for the arrogant and predatory activities of the higher. Just ordinary people thus occupy the pivotal portion of our national teeter-board, and with the see-sawing members at the extremities conspicuously making faces and throwing things at each other, the middle portion serve to maintain as a fulcrum a good and safe balance and to preserve order, though itself unnoticed and receiving no credit.
Uncle Bill looks at the situation in the same way, but under a somewhat different light: "It's allers a good plan," he says, "to put for the middle one of a three-hoss team, a stiddy old animal, and the skittish nags on each side of him; val'able lives and big expense have been saved by keerfulness of this kind."  

Washington Irving.

No comments: