Uncle Sam

The Uncle Sam we like to show off – long before he dressed in red, white and blue – is that benevolent, avuncular soul who encompasses all that is good and decent; all that is righteous and upstanding; all that is fair and uplifting; all that is human and above reproach. While our show-off Uncle Sam is all of that on the surface, he has an evil twin we keep locked in the cellar, who possesses the opposite of all the glorious qualities we attribute to Good Sam. Once in a while, Just as Good Sam is attempting to regale visitors with stories on how nice it is to reside in the bright, shiny city on the hill, Bad Old Sam will break out and spoil the party. He is forced back down into the cellar, of course, but dammit, no matter how large the lock, he finds some way to escape, just as tea is being served!

There have been good people in our society – before and after Revolution – who genuinely have espoused the Good Sam qualities. That is why we have been able to come this far as a people. Despite the efforts of Bad Sam to spoil the party. In many cases, these good people have suffered the consequences of going against the general rule.

Notable is their support of the native peoples who made great efforts to conform to an invading culture. Andrew Jackson defied even the Supreme Court by cruelly uprooting and transporting the tribal groups who were attempting, peaceably, to fit in with the growing society around them.

Abolitionists stand out as the brave and righteous bulwark without which Lincoln might not have been encouraged to consider emancipation and promote the 13th Amendment. The pressure on him, from both sides, was devastating, butt that constant force of good people held on and saved the nation.

They were there, also, when the conflicting original documents were signed. They protested, but knew it was futile. Still, they voiced resistance. They had faith that, if they gave in just a little, and went along with the well-meaning words, eventually, “Intent” would meet up with, “Reality.”

They were right, of course, but then – one step forward; one step backward. That is where we find ourselves in this second decade of the New Millennium. Bad Old Sam has broken the lock again!

Donald Trump Uncle Sam

Now that he is out, in this new, enlightened day, perhaps we should try a different tack. Why not let him, “Set a spell” with Good Sam, and see if some of the good qualities rub off. Maybe Good Sam will get a little dirty in the process, but if we can somehow balance the good with the bad, maybe we can dispense with the cellar by having the two Sams justify their opposing qualities. That seems a lot more enlightened, and would allow us all to hold our heads up high. We are not all good, and not all bad. As usual, the historically good people remain at the leading edge.

*****  *****  *****

Once, there was Bad Old Sam,
Hidden away, sans bread or ham.
The Present spoke of peace;
The Past said, “Try, at least.”
Now, all of us must break the dam.

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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