two hundred pages into the bio on john adams and i feel kind of…inadequate. the man, from mccullough’s glowing descriptions, virtually established our nation, founded the navy, established education as a necessity for a stable american society, wrote the massachusetts constitution, acted as an emissary to france, and this is all before he became president. i’m only at the point where he’s 44 years old. not to mention he had about a zillion children with a woman he not only adored and loved but respected, admired, and valued, walked five to ten miles a day, and was often forced into periods of geographical estrangement from all that he knew and loved.
and then there’s me…granted, i’m only 23, and at this point in his life john adams was a schoolteacher in worcester, but i cannot pretend to suppose i will reach one eighteenth of all that adams accomplished by the age of 45. he lived in a time where people were expected to converse in french and english, read greek and latin, know intimately the texts of all of the esteemed ancient roman and greek philosophers, and to not only intimately be able to work in these and more modern texts into everyday conversation but to analyze them and draw new and dynamically appropriate lessons and conclusions from them. i barely remember my italian, and cannot pretend to even know all of the letters of the greek alphabet. i wonder…if our modern politicians were expected to uphold themselves to the same levels of learning our founding fathers did as a matter of course, would they have possibly, maybe, somehow learned a LESSON somewhere in HISTORY that might have stayed their hand from getting involved in, i don’t know, afghanistan/iraq/iran? i might be just a lay historian now, but the more i read about pretty much any period of the past previous to the past three generations or so, the more lamentable, ignorant, uneducated, close-minded, and lazy i find my current society. no offense, guys.