Words from Dic(tionary)
by J. R. Practix
Adams, John (1735-1826): the 2nd President of the U.S. from 1797-1801. A Massachusetts Federalist, he was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774-78 and helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He negotiated the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution in 1783.
John Adams was a wild card.
Wild cards are fun. Wild cards are specific units from a deck which can be anything we need them to be in order to complete a winning hand.
In an era which included the very secular Benjamin Franklin, along with the religious and often belligerent Patrick Henry, who were crashing together to attempt a common purpose, there was a need for a wild card who could converse, argue, fuss and negotiate with both parties freely and act as a wild card for independence.
Thus, John Adams.
It is rather doubtful that the anti-slave members of the Continental Congress and the Virginia slave owners could ever have gotten together had it not been for Mr. Adams:
He made them talk instead of just stomp out of the room in anger.
He provided a reason for a stuffy Puritan from Massachusetts to at least attempt to understand a tobacco-growing country boy from North Carolina.
He made freedom the issue instead of bogging us down in continual useless conversations over preferences.
Into every generation a John Adams must be birthed. Otherwise the extremes stand at a distance and hurl rocks at one another.
Behold: the problem we see in our political system today.
We have plenty of Benjamin Franklins in our Democratic Party and an abundance of Patrick Henrys in the Republicans and Tea Parties, who are both adept at spitting across the creek at each other, finding no common canoe or even a bridge where ideas could cross back and forth.
We need a John Adams. John Adams wasn’t flamboyant or even interesting. He had a calming effect. He found a way to argue without frustration, disagree minus splitting apart, and eventually found a way to come to terms without sacrificing principles.
Although he had deep convictions, he also had a political savvy which permitted him to be a buffer between those who eat Quaker Oats and them that prefer grits.
Never forget the value of a John Adams to our Declaration of Independence.
He found a way to be friends with Thomas Jefferson even when they were bitter political enemies.
We probably do not need to be on the hunt for a better leader for our country, or even for Congress to have more acceptable members. Our generation requires a John Adams–or a plethora of them–to come in and find the means for discussion … instead of the elements of argument.