Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, at a mild Season, thro' a pleasant Country, in easy stages. -- James Madison, 1794

Exactly what we've been thinking...about our coming travel through India.  That it came from the pen of Madison recalls his real-life journey as a founding father of the United States.

Madison, one of the 3 or 4 key actors in the drafting of the US Constitution. 

In 1787, at the Constitutional Convention, he kept the minutes of that long hot summer of debate.  He crafted the myriad nuanced drafts on which the founders would continue the discussion (an euphemism; it was often enough an eye-gouging brawl) in search of elusive consensus. As is the custom--if not the prerogative--of the one chosen to keep the minutes, the description of what they said was shaded a bit in the direction of what Jemmy would have liked that they said.

Without compromise there would never have been a Constitution, no United States of America.  So, the odious Three-fifths Compromise was agreed to.  And it set us on a course through a long journey, in seasons of rancor, through a divided country, toward the bloody stages of Civil War.

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.