For years, I was torn between my parents who fought over politics. I’ve tried to see both sides, but I cannot. Some of my friends will say I have gone over to the dark side. But I have not. I’ve given this much thought. And I’ve spent much time arguing with this person and that person. I’m using argument in the sense of debate or legal speak.
Debating can sharpen your thinking. It’s not fighting. Unfortunately, we the American people seem to be more interested in fighting and slandering than debate. And there’s no cure for that…it can and has led to bloodshed. Okay, I’m well into Fallen Founder, the story of Aaron Burr by award-winning historian, Nancy Isenberg.
I asked David if he knew who Burr was and he said, “Yes, he was a traitor.”
“I think you’ve confused him with Benedict Arnold,” I said and proceeded to share what I knew.
Concurrently, while reading Isenberg’s book, I began reading Romantic Outlaws, the extraordinary story of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Godwin Shelley by Charlotte Gordon. These books have much in common as characters in each book show up in the other book. Wollstonecraft who wrote Vindication on the Rights of Women, was one of the earliest feminists. Burr admired Wollstonecraft and even visited her family at one time.
Burr had quite a political career before he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. This latter occurrence led to his political downfall it seems. The old adage that the victors write history, so true before recent times, was certainly the case in the nineteenth century. However, Isenberg asks the reader to reconsider Burr and his life. Much if not all of what was written about him was false she says. Apparently, Hamilton was not the hero some claim.
As I read, I can’t help thinking about our current election cycle where there is nothing new under the sun in terms of the dirt dished out against various candidates by losers. In my mind, honest debate about policy issues is what we need, not slander. Oh well at least we outlawed dueling.