The life of Angelo Roncalli, known to the world as Pope John XXIII is a an inspiring study of how underestimated humility can change the tide of civilThe life of Angelo Roncalli, known to the world as Pope John XXIII is a an inspiring study of how underestimated humility can change the tide of civilization against the stubbornness of orthodoxy, and how the most important task in one's life can begin at its very end. His work as the harbinger of a new era for the Church through Vatican II, where Catholicism opened its doors and engaged a changing world, was reserved for the last four years of his life and changed the institution forever, bringing it closer to the true hands-on work of Christ.
I also wasn't aware of his very direct involvement in defusing the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and his timely intervention in staying the hand of Khrushchev may have very well saved the world from annihilation in those hot Cold War days in October.
An example of how the power of love can indeed navigate and conquer through a century of horrors. ...more
“Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges— “Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!” - Rudyard Kipling“Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges— “Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!” - Rudyard Kipling
Such is fate and such is fortune for some men like Hiram Bingham; to have words such as these materialize in his head and give voice to that intuition that kept telling him "Come back to Peru and explore the ranges again..."
He did, and rediscovered Machu Picchu for the world. In a few weeks, God willing, I'll marvel over it like millions have since then.
Fascinating chronicle of exploration and a page-turning survey of the wonders of Incan civilization....more
It was Franklin addressing the Federal Convention in 1787 who had these words to say regarding the approval of the Constitution:
"I doubt too whether aIt was Franklin addressing the Federal Convention in 1787 who had these words to say regarding the approval of the Constitution:
"I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best."
In this spirit I give it 5 stars, for despite the framers arguments and frustrations, they created a framework succinct in form, practical in its essence, and without equivocation. Knowing the discussions the members of the Continental Congress had had a few years back regarding past iterations of democracy in the experience of the Romans, the Dutch or the Athenians, makes you eye the framing of this Constitution with eager scrutiny; you know already that they are attempting a sublime précis that would perfect representative democracy for as long as they could then foresee.
The result is an structure that artfully leverages and balances power, and which with the addition of the Bill of Rights, becomes the core and the ethos of a nation-to-be, the embodiment of self-reliance and dignity won by the colonists by virtue of right and not of might, which was the essence of the American Revolution.
And this right by virtue becomes the right type of might; liberty instead of vassalage to arbitrary power becomes the world's new zeitgeist (again), changing it forever. All this is forged in the United States Constitution.
When you read it with history playing in the background of your mind, it makes for a wonderful experience; short amendments follow years of civil war, of suffrage rallies, of social experimentation, and their reversal. It tweaks minimally, and adds unforeseen possibilities to writ. Behind it all, the story of a nation like no nation ever, moving along the history of modern times.
And despite all the flawed propensities of man, the Constitution stands unchanged and unflinching. Unlike the constitutions of many nations who followed the path of representative democracy, which by many iterations through the decades have lost their connection to their original inception, as is the case of the lost Republic of Great Colombia and its Cucuta Constitution, the nations that once formed it, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama standing as an example of what Jefferson admonished would happen with a broken confederation. Divided they'd fall, weaker than the whole. All of them* to this day ever redrafting a new version of a constitution, expedient to the present moment, and good for a time, but never telling the story of a people; where they came from, and how they came to be.
In contrast, all Americans can feel proud to walk past those columns at the National Archives that beckon all citizens to 'STUDY THE PAST', and go inside to see the original copy of the Constitution of the United States, which is still alive and powerful, despite the trampling by the corrupt, the errors of human judgement, the misconception of America being great for greatness sake's and not for its duty to high-minded principles, agreed upon under this IDEOLOGICAL COMPACT of free people's, equal in the eyes of the law, and never defined by arbitrary preeminence or by a petty standard like race, but by ideas like liberty, self-reliance, and justice under the rule of law.
Rationalized thus, these words truly show us the possibility and power of the Constitution: WE, THE PEOPLE .
*NOTE: Colombia having the most consistent constitutional continuity, with six iterations after the Republic dissolved in 1830, and then maintaining one iteration from 1886 to 1990 when it was reformed. ...more