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Where’s Monroe When We Need Him?

by | Jan 18, 2018 | Columns

Americans throughout the ages have revered James Monroe as the renegade diplomat who snagged the Louisiana Purchase without presidential approval from Jefferson in 1803. He ran and won as a Democrat-Republican and then oversaw a significant westward expansion of the U.S. He was the leader who strengthened American foreign policy in 1823 with the Monroe Doctrine (which was a shot across the bow to other European countries against attempting to colonize in our hemisphere).

Monroe is the favorite president to date for an oil and gas industry geologist and amateur historian, who resides just outside of Oklahoma City.  We can only use his first name, Jim, because as he will tell you, “my wife is a country Democrat, and I do not need her to see me huddling with the Conservatives.”

I met Jim on my cross-country trek for Liberty Nation’s Voices of the Heartland Series, and have stayed in touch on all things political.

The question of the day is the looming threat of a government shutdown and the inability for the toads in The Swamp to play nice for the good of the order.  That’s when I was lectured on the presidency of James Monroe and how he helped inspire the use of the word “statesman.”

“Madison was a statesman who worked with friends and enemies alike to further the needs of this country. He didn’t hold grudges. He accepted that the best for the country might not make him popular or even a wealthier man.  We need a Monroe.”

I had to admit, Jim was right.

Monroe is known for many deeds both before and after his two terms as president. I doubt that any present-day or near future leader will go down in history as the president whose administration would be forever known as the “Era of good feelings”:

“The U.S. had a new sense of confidence from its various victories during the War of 1812 and was growing quickly and offering new opportunities to its citizens. Additionally, fighting between the Democratic-Republicans and Federalists was finally beginning to ebb.”

Yep, the in-fighting was real. But after the dust settled, they were all Americans first. This is a significant component of Monroe’s legacy. President Trump and our current leadership should hit the books and study up on how it’s done – at least according to Jim:

“Our current leadership, including Trump, and I like Trump, is more Centrist than alt.  Sure, we hear about the Red crazies and the Blue crazies because they do unbelievably stupid stunts and say the darndest things to garner the attention from the media.  C’mon, we have smart people here in charge of governing, and they can’t pass a single thing without hiring a pollster to test the wind.”

It seems to me (and Jim) that we, as today’s Americans, embrace the nastiness over hard work, polarization instead of centrism, and prefer our representatives to do nothing rather than make compromises toward consensus.  If we adopt the principles of our forebears, add our intelligence and experience of today, and stop allowing the media to dictate and brainwash our societal norms and political ideologies, we can once again have a country that all walks of life respect.  There was political harmony during the Monroe administration, a promise of progress and prosperity that Jim and I both believe is possible to achieve once again in our lifetime – but not with the Congress we have now.  Nope, you guys and gals have gotta go and let America get back to the business of being a globally respected and envied nation.  In 2018, let’s be like Monroe.

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