by Mike Pyatt
A Northeast newspaper editor, in1941, characterized Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln as “lighthouses in a foggy world.” Most Americans agree with that editor’s veneration. For those who genuinely love liberty, it’s more than symbolism. That trio stood as beacons in the midst of tumultuous, turbulent times. Few could deny that this world isn’t foggy on so many fronts. In the U.S., the towering health crisis of the day is the uncontrollable, deadly opioid epidemic. It leaves us in a malevolent fog, unable to stem the tide of this growing menace. Existential threats emanate from the Middle East, North Korea, and Russia, continuing to drain our coffers, and breech our reverie. We still slaughter nearly a million unborn annually. The U.S. sorely need statesmen, not politicians, who’ll take the helm, and intrepidly navigate these dangerous waters, that beset our “vessel of liberty” that’s listing perilously, taking on water. Is it too soon to lower the life boats?
The purpose of the lighthouse, that dates to 300 B.C. Alexandria, was to steer mariners, while in the dark of night, or dense fog, away from cliffs, land, shorelines, coral reefs, shallow shoals, or other potential hazards. Not only at night, it had to be visible in the day, performing a similar function of warning of unseen reefs, and other underwater dangers such as rocks. It also assisted in aerial navigation, and safe entry into harbor. To the causal observer, they’re iconic; “pop culture”, something at which to marvel. Coastal dwellers understand they are more than that. Although one can purchase a lighthouse, as some have, their original purpose of warning of danger, and, when necessary, demanding a course change, remains paramount.
Though less essential to navigation, many of these historic structures faced neglect, or demolition. In the U.S., for example, the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, transferred these structures to local governments or private not-for-profit groups to protect and prolong their legacy. Anyone that has traveled the Maine coastline understands the allurement of the lighthouse. They can be found from Norway to New Zealand. GE engineers estimate that the naked eye, with 127 million receptors, can detect an unobscured candlelight, in the dark, at a distance of more than ten football fields. Due to their function as beacons of safety, numerous organizations adopted lighthouses as an organizational symbol. It’s the symbol for Lighthouse International, a U.S. organization for the blind. Lighthouses were once considered archetypal for good, since ships and navigators benefited from their light, without being forced or coerced to pay for it. Their value was such that the Confederate States Constitution explicitly permitted public funds to be allocated for navigation to include lighthouses. Their isolated and mysterious aura is fodder for frequent settings of suspense, adventure and horror movies.
If the aforementioned U.S. presidents were “lighthouses”, and archetypical for good, surely our 44th President could’ve been considered the “anti-lighthouse”. Despite his own post presidential braggadocio, he can’t “hold a candle” to that trio. Our former first black president’s beguiling, duplicitous philosophy, policies and practices drifted our nation into a moral and political fog, that charted our nation on a reckless course, with a compass calibrated by mendacity, destined to crash on the shore of moral and economic demise. President Obama’s “red line” in Syria, “turned yellow”. President Trump just attacked Syria. Did he fancy himself Thomas Jefferson, pursuing Barbary pirates? The Left, masquerading as a beacon of rectitude, continue to obscure their true agenda, while claiming a mantle of sanctimony and superiority. Obfuscation is their stock and trade. Their pledge of transparency has turned translucent. They do well in a fog.
Unlike Shakespeare’s King Richard III, one can embrace life with alacrity, with God’s Grace. It’ll demand resolute tenacity to navigate through this “fog of moral relativism” and uncertainty, in pursuit of biblical principles, individual liberty, facing the encroaching threats to freedom of conscience, and gaining unfettered access to the public square. The most influential observer of our inchoate Republic was 19th Century French statesman, and political theorist, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote in Democracy in America, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” He balanced praise with a draconian alarm, “I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.” He was leery of corrupting power. “As I see it, only God can be all-powerful without danger.” Tocqueville understood that Fallen Man pursues his own appetite of avarice and cupidity. Jefferson agreed, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Another restraint to man’s darker side.” Lincoln intoned, “Our reliance is the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosom.” Scripture reminds us, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
James Fenimore Cooper’s sage warning, rarely cited in our age, deserves honorable mention, “In Democracies there is a besetting disposition to make publik opinion stronger than law.” That’s how Roe v. Wade found standing in the Court. As grand as these sentinels of liberty are-they’re all dead. Until rivers flow upstream, the battle is ours. It’s still foggy. Godless humanism brazenly waves its threadbare banner raging against the cause for a righteous nation. In his Farewell Address, George Washington stated, “Of all dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” He knew our cause’s just.
Our clear eyed agenda mustn’t be fueled by malice for our antagonist, but unbridled love of our God given individual liberty, forming a political covalence, with like minded co-belligerents who understand that righteousness exalts a nation. Severe umbrage only leads to a box canyon. Erudite and majestic ideas require foot soldiers. Still need Lighthouses. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org