One of the great tragedies of American life is that our republic was founded and for many years led by white males, many of whom were insufficiently trained and qualified for the offices they held. Not a single one of the so-called “Founding Fathers” held a Ph.D. in political science from a reputable university. Alexander Hamilton had never studied graduate economics before establishing the American financial system; George Washington was an unqualified militia commander, and Benjamin Franklin was a pseudo-scientist, whose so-called ‘discovery’ that lightening was electricity was published prior to any meaningful peer review.Here at Via Meadia, we are dreamers — constantly thinking about what might have been if only the founders of this country were as wise, as well qualified, as thoroughly credentialed and as enlightened as we, their mighty descendants. What NGOs they would have started, what class action suits they would have initiated, what public squares would they have occupied, what national medical systems would they have devised if they were as well credentialed and as enlightened as we are today?From time to time we will be re-imagining a better America — the America that could have been if only today’s system of education and professional organization had been in place back when those pathetic losers struggled in the darkness to organize some kind of national life.Today, we bring you the Gettysburg Address as it would have been delivered by someone better trained and more credible than the poor schmuck who was in charge at the time. Abraham Lincoln would have been thrown in jail today; this is a man who practiced law without graduating from or attending an accredited law school. He never took a course in Legal Ethics, never enjoyed the benefits of diversity training, and rose to high office in an old boy network that discriminated against women. He could not have qualified for even a junior tenure track faculty position at an accredited university today and, without even a recognized high school diploma or GED, would have flipped burgers or sold cars for a living. Sadly, the lack of appropriate screening procedures and credentials allowed him to enter politics where his militaristic spirit and jingoistic populist appeals led this country into a futile attempt to impose democracy by force. America’s global image worldwide was incalculably harmed as this unqualified ignoramus violated such important court decisions as Dred Scott, abused military tribunals and otherwise exhibited a depraved indifference to human rights.His so-called “Gettysburg Address” is a melange of cliches and divisive, triumphalist American exceptionalist rhetoric. His appeal to primitive superstition and blatant violation of the separation of Church and State embodies the jingoistic, nationalist arguments that the theocratic agents of plutocracy used in this age of Social Darwinism.Americans deserve something better than this to mark important turning points in our history. And so, with all due modesty and respect, Via Meadia presents the Gettysburg Address as it would have been delivered by a properly credentialed and trained president with all the advantages of our contemporary educational system. We suggest that school teachers and text book writers troubled by the divisive language and poor social attitudes of the original substitute this version for the ‘traditional’ text.
The preponderance of historical evidence suggests that at some point in the past a group of non governmental organizations representing civil society sectors established independent institutions and electoral systems capable of fostering open democracy in this under-developed country, founded on local traditions yet upholding international democratic norms.
Despite a lack of transparency, significant failures of inclusion, and genocidal wars of expansion against unoffending indigenous nations, progressive forces within this emerging nation found opportunities for working cooperatively and in decentralized ways to contest official narratives of patriarchy and racial hierarchy, creating a legacy which, with certain necessary reservations, we can celebrate or at least observe today. While we reject the idea that this nation or any nation can or should ‘lead the world’ in any meaningful way, we can acknowledge the increasing consciousness among us that, with much effort, we can someday hope to be numbered among those who follow the world in embracing international norms and enacting all the relevant resolutions of the Congress of Vienna and the Concert of Europe into our domestic law.
In recent years, regional authorities and warlords refused to accept the legitimacy of the internationally recognized government in this country and have armed themselves against the internationally-recognized central representative democratic authorities.
The international community rightly views the resulting instability and bloodshed with great concern. Government troops and radical insurgents have been involved in armed clashes at flashpoints across the country and an internal refugee problem has emerged as displaced persons seek shelter from the violence. Unarmed, internationally representative peace monitors are working now to resolve the armed conflict and inspire civil reconciliation efforts between combatant groups. We are grateful to the international community for its mediation efforts and hope someday that the peace process will fully take hold.
The need for a national reconciliation process has never been stronger. The meaningless destruction of life in episodes of inter-communal and inter-regional violence is a tragic waste. It must end.
We have convened here today a group of civil society representatives and elected officials on the site of a great and violent confrontation between opposed groups. Some have suggested that this site in some way be dedicated to those who perished here or that in other ways we memorialize the violence that took place at this site.
This, of course, is absurd. We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate this ground. To do so would be to condone, even to endorse, conduct which has no place in democratic life. What the militias and armed forces did here must and will be soon forgotten as the reconciliation and peace process takes hold. Both sides have resorted to excessive violence in the political impasse, and we must do our best to forget those who have struggled and killed and died in these regrettable incidents.
But if we must put all thoughts of violence aside, we must forever remember what I say here as I call on all parties, ‘north’ and ‘south’ to lay down their arms and begin political talks under international supervision and without preconditions of any kind.
Troubling evidence has emerged that members of government security forces have engaged in activities that violate internationally recognized norms. As president, I pledge to identify those responsible and turn them over to international authorities for trial and I apologize for this conduct.
In consultation with relevant international authorities and in full compliance with global norms, I pledge myself and my administration to the quest for a peaceful resolution of these political differences and announce my determination to refrain from all use of force.
It is my hope that the success of the IRRCP (the inter-regional reconciliation and consultation process) will lead to a renewed commitment to the norms of international conduct; that instead of being an object of concern to the civilized world the United States will once again resume the struggle to be a responsible stakeholder and sincere cooperator in the peaceful development of the international community.
And so, my fellow Americans, I ask you to join hands with me to ensure that government by properly credentialed and appropriately socialized people, of properly credentialed and appropriately socialized people and for properly credentialed and appropriately socialized people shall never perish from this earth.