There are no shades of grey

I often lament the loss of nuance and subtlety in today's modern political discourse. I realize that it is much more efficient to see everything as a binary choice: liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, right or wrong, me or you. However, our discussions of government should not be efficient. We need to dive deep into all the complexities of the issues because few things are black or white. Most issues reside in shades of grey. It is in those shades of grey that the seemingly opposing sides can find their commonality.

However, a precious few issues require us to take a firm stand on one side or the other.

You either believe in the founding principle of this nation:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [persons] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--"
 - Declaration of Independence
or you don't.

"These aren't people." …

Wisdom of the ages

"American ideas of freedom and government are the result of slow growth in the hearts of people. It takes decades and centuries. They cannot be imposed by words, no matter how eloquent. They cannot be imposed by force. They cannot be imposed upon nations by treaties any more than they can be imposed by battle." - Herbert Hoover 1941

As part of my strange "day" job, I spend hours combing over old speeches and documents relating to the history of the United States. I am so often struck by the themes that repeat themselves in our history. I get frustrated when our current leaders don't heed the wisdom of our past leaders, don't learn the lessons from our own history.

When I happened upon this speech by Herbert Hoover, I had to share. As we continue to battle in Iraq and Afghanistan to convert them to our ideals of representative democracy, I wonder about the wisdom of that choice. If these ideals haven't been growing in the heart of the people, can we ev…