No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. – John Dunne, Meditation XVII
Factories and their smokestacks didn’t pop into existence in a mythological big bang of prosperity.
Instead, prosperity is built over time by educated scientists, engineers, apprentices and entrepreneurs relying on previous experiences and advancements taught to them by those with experience, understanding and knowledge. Profitable industries were located alongside the infrastructure of canals, railroads, power grids, highways and ports. Infrastructure built by men and women of multiple ethnic backgrounds doing backbreaking work.
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, American industry was built under the protection and guidance of the people of the United States through the mutually agreed upon laws of our democratically elected government. It was done in the spirit of maintaining a balance between the rights of the individual and the needs of Society.
Everyone contributing something. Some people contributing their Vision, others their money and still many others contributing their labor. All different but all equally essential. Ideally, all compensated fairly for their contributions.
As a Society we pay for It, and you, as an individual, are given the education, infrastructure, economic stability and national security to build It. All we ask is you honor your responsibility and make the most of our willingness to invest in you and when it is time give some of it back.
That is Patriotism; this is our only national heritage that makes a difference. For “every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” and as such we are less than we could be without you whether you are laborer or manager, owner or worker, leader or follower.
We are all American. We are all a piece of the main.
As Americans we are caught in a war of soundbites – who built It. Perhaps as Americans we should get back to the basics and focus on what we can build together.
Let’s start by investing in traditional, apprentice and technical education so the future engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs can build the smokestacks of tomorrow.