Big Dreams and Hubris
A simple news search on the internet for “hubris” in relation to the 2005 inaugural speech yields multiple media reports from major world news groups, all concluding that President Bush is dangerously naïve, and arrogant. There is however, another way to view what is being called his “liberty” speech, which is to say that it was full daring dreams, goals and aspirations. Here are some other instances in our history where we dared exercised such hubris.
It was hubris to believe we as a people could carve a living across the sea, cut off from help, in a new world.
It was hubris for 13 colonies to declare that god gave them the power and right to do the impossible and break away from its king, the head of the most powerful military force on Earth at the time, much less actually win its liberty from that king.
It was hubris to believe we could soon forge those 13 liberated colonies into 1 nation, a republic, and defend it against the great powers of the world.
It was hubris for that nation to survive a civil war, killing hundreds of thousands of its own people, and end up providing liberty to slaves.
It was hubris for our nation, to believe it could, cross an ocean and turn the tide of war in Europe and rescue, England, France, and much of the modern world, which had only 100 years sooner tried to destroy us.
It was hubris to believe we as a nation could survive the destruction of our economy in 1929 and see nearly 25% unemployment.
It was hubris to soon after that economic destruction, take our nation to war, without the bulk of our pacific fleet, against not just Japan in the pacific, which attacked us, but against Germany. It was then ultra hubris to believe we would come in time to save, yet again, England, France and most of the modern world.
It was hubris to rebuild our enemies and turn them into allies.
It was hubris to believe that we would survive the cold war and that communism would one-day all but collapse, like a falling wall.
It was hubris to strive, and work for civil rights, when most of the politically democratic south vowed to never accept it.
It was hubris to set the goal of going to the moon and returning within a decade, and succeed so much that it became boring to most of the world.
It was hubris to believe we could get a coalition of nations to kick Iraq out of its neighboring state, as quickly as we did. (What happened to the media’s daunting, battle hardened, Republican Guard?)
Most recently, it was hubris to believe we could invade, capture, and now, soon spread liberty to the peoples of Iraq. We are one week away from elections.
If this is hubris, I pray we never run out.
“You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?” Jalal ad-Din Rumi, 13 Century Persian poet and mystic.