She is tired and worn. She slaves everyday scrubbing floors, preparing meals, dressing her children, and sending them off into the everyday world of America. She has given birth to a discordant family; Brothers do not speak to brothers, sisters do not speak to sisters. She loves them all, and they all claim to love her, but their love does not reach to each other. Liberty is heartbroken. At the days end, while they sleep, she weeps.
She was once a young and vibrant maiden, and was taken to be the good wife of Moral Courage. Together they had a blissful wedding ceremony. The whole world took notice. And soon after there arrived new-born states which filled their house from sea to shining sea.
Her father, in the person of George Washington, made a farewell toast at their reception:
“There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”
Liberty now lies on her bed. Many years have passed since her loving father’s words were said. He is long dead. She is weak, and consumed by the rancorous flames of her children. Their broth of anger poisons her, but in her weakness is forced to eat from it for strength. Her body withers, the sparkle in her eyes grows dim, and a melancholy engulfs her. The children blame each other more intently as she weakens. One day she will slip away, and succumb to the spiritlessness of the broth.
Laws and lawmakers were once the toast of Liberty, but her father’s wise words went unheeded. The war of separation continues to divide. Words have become muskets, and laws have become battlefields. Goodwill between men is dead. Moral Courage has been slain by an agent of moral certainty. Liberty is a widow, and no good men will stand in her defense.
Tonight our mother will close her eyes for a night of rest. In the morning we will gather at her bedside. We have a choice. To find the spirit of forgiveness and to become a family once again, or to weep quietly and separately when she is gone. The choice we make will be visited upon our children. They will either live with Liberty, or live with her legend.