The Ramparts We Guard

The Ramparts We Guard

The Ramparts We Guard

The Ramparts We Guard

Excerpt

We would all agree that to possess a precious thing and yet to be careless about what it is, to be ignorant of what it is, to take no well-considered steps to guard this thing, to entertain shallow and sometimes foolish ideas about it, would be a case of lamentable folly. That, nevertheless, is what we commonly do about a very precious thing, something indeed beyond price, something that sustains and enriches the very substance of our lives, something that has the greatest and most enduring benefits to confer, first on ourselves and then on all the world. We confuse it with other things. We do not even perceive the dangers that threaten to despoil it. This thing is our heritage of democracy.

The very fact that it is a heritage, that we are born into it, that it has become our portion without struggle and travail on our part, dims our perception of it. It was won through centuries of daring and stubborn conflict against entrenched power and privilege, against all the indoctrinations of those who held the keys of church and state. Those who won it were sustained by a great faith and a great vision. Only by great faith could it be won. Only by faith can it be kept. We keep it not as a tradition merely, for thus it loses its meaning for the present and turns into a superstition. It must live in us, forever newly responsive to the changing times.

The future of human society depends on how well we guard . . .

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