eNews has been a volunteer initiative of Sherry Kaseberg for many years, informing those who care about Sherman County and the wider world. She will end publication with the close of 2019. Her electronic news will be missed by me and by many others.
Her publication of December 17, 2019 included this:
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” —Thomas Jefferson (1820)
That quote from our third president and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence inspired me to attempt some timely and I hope relevant education.
Miracle at Philadelphia is the name of a book written by Catherine Drinker Bowen and published in 1966. It describes how the U.S. Constitution was created, and why. The book title is apt, as proven by what has happened in these United States since 1787.
Collectively, we have survived a civil war, two world wars, a host of other conflicts, and some imperfect presidents. The genius of separation of powers as well as church and state made it possible to continue through what would have ended lesser forms of government.
Two of the founder-participants in the birth of this nation and the miracle were close friends who became bitter enemies and died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826. At the age of 90, Adams lay on his deathbed while the country celebrated Independence Day. His last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” He was mistaken. Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 83.
What is the relevance of this history today?
John Adams, our second president, and Thomas Jefferson, our third president, had reconciled in the years after they left office. Despite their political differences, they admired and respected each other and valued their relationship. And, they were both aware of their individual and separate significance in what would become the history of this country.
They also knew they had far more in common than they could count as divisive difference. And so they reconciled, as should we.
Thank you, Sherry, for your years of generous service, and for inspiring this opportunity to educate.
Keith Mobley graduated from Sherman High School in 1957, and the University of Oregon Law School in 1971. He recently retired from a law practice based in Dufur to devote more time to serving as president of the Sunriver owners board of directors.