America the Beautiful is “America the Great”





America the Beautiful, the lyrics we have all grown to cherish, were not written as a song, but as a poem. In 1893 Katharine Lee Bates, a young English Literature teacher at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, came to the words on Pike’s Peak in Colorado. As she wrote:

“One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top, we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.”

The words, she said, just “floated into my mind.”

The year, 1893, was a troubled year, known as the “Panic of 1893,” when a run on the Treasury’s gold, creating a credit crunch that sent America into a financial depression. The depression lasted until 1897.

Ms. Bates had been able to arrange her once-in-a lifetime trip to Colorado to teach a summer course at Colorado College, traveling from Massachusetts to Chicago and its World’s Fair [celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s “discovery” of America], where “cities gleam,” through the Midwest with wheat fields and their “amber waves of grain,” to Pike’s Peak and its “purple mountain majesties.” On that defining trip, she traversed across almost our entire nation, “from sea to shining sea.”

Ms. Bates first published the poem in 1895, as “America: a poem for July 4.” It was an instant success.

In 1904 music written in 1882 by church organist Samuel Augustus Howe, who died in 1903, posthumously became the sacred music for the poem. The result became a national hymn.

Ms. Bates wrote that the “hold it has on our people is clearly due to the fact that Americans are idealists at heart.” [Emphasis added.]

Lynn Sherr wrote in 2001 in “America the Beautiful: The Stirring Story Behind Our Nation’s Favorite Song:”

“Music is the universal language of emotion. Men will sing what they would be shamed faced to say…. It is not food for the soul, but wine… the most portable of all religious things. No external equipment is required. Singing it becomes an almost sacramental experience – a moment of transcendence and timelessness, a source of comfort and strength…. If George M. Cohen’s ‘Over There’ was the jaunty theme that took [America] to war [WWI], ‘America the Beautiful’ was what they were fighting for. It was the song that brought them home.”

For more than 125 years, America the Beautiful has stirred our deepest emotions and sense of patriotism, pulling us together in trying times as one people. America the Beautiful was sung on the White House grounds after Pearl Harbor. America the Beautiful was sung in New York at Ground Zero after 9/11.

And today, on this Memorial Day, as unnecessary factions divide us, each of us need to sing it again. Loud and Clear. And whereever possible, Together! It’s time to pull together as one people.

America the Beautiful is more than spiritual tribute to our Nation’s wonders and our heroic, pioneering beginnings. The song is a prayer for the future.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Mark Krikorian, who heads the Center for Immigration Studies, wrote in 2014: “’America the Beautiful’ is most decidedly not just about our country’s physical beauty. It’s not a hymn about the landscape but a humble prayer to the Creator…. It’ a plea, an entreaty, not a boast. In fact, it’s deeply conservative, asking the Almighty’s assistance in mending our flaws, in helping us avoid libertinism, in avoiding boastfulness. All in all, a fitting song for a republic.”

There is no need for me to provide comments about what’s going on today, as thousands, if not millions, of words have already flashed across the Internet and the pages of our newspapers and journals. Most of us are overwhelmed with words if not embarrassment.

Watch the short video that introduces this blog. Listen to its music. Savor its pictures.

Then read the lyrics above.

Think about the lyrics.

Live the lyrics.

Make America Great by Making America Beautiful, not just in its amber fields of grain, its specious mountain majesties and its fruited plains. But in its spirit. In our spirit. In our heart. Be a Real American. Dwell within the spirit of America the Beautiful.

__________

Tomorrow is an important day for the 8 gutsy kids I’ve been working with, who are suing the state of Florida for their right to a healthy environment. The photo below is a link to my June 1, 2020 Op-Ed in the Tampa Bay Times about their important effort. Please click on it:

8 Gutsy Kids

America the Beautiful IS America the Great





America the Beautiful, the lyrics we have all grown to cherish, were not written as a song, but as a poem. In 1893 Katharine Lee Bates, a young English Literature teacher at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, came to the words on Pike’s Peak in Colorado. As she wrote:

“One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top, we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.”

The words, she said, just “floated into my mind.”

The year, 1893, was troubled year, known as the “Panic of 1893,” when a run on the Treasury’s gold, creating a credit crunch that sent America into a financial depression. The depression lasted until 1897.

Ms. Bates had been able to arrange her once-in-a lifetime trip to Colorado to teach a summer course at Colorado College, traveling from Massachusetts to Chicago and its World’s Fair [celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s “discovery” of America], where “cities gleam,” through the Midwest with wheat fields and their “amber waves of grain,” to Pike’s Peak and its “purple mountain majesties.” On that defining trip, she traversed across almost our entire nation, “from sea to shining sea.”

Ms. Bates first published the poem in 1895, as “America: a poem for July 4.” It was an instant success.

In 1904 music written in 1882 by church organist Samuel Augustus Howe, who died in 1903, posthumously became the sacred music for the poem. The result became a national hymn.

Ms. Bates wrote that the “hold it has on our people is clearly due to the fact that Americans are idealists at heart.” [Emphasis added.]

Lynn Sherr wrote in 2001 in “America the Beautiful: The Stirring Story Behind Our Nation’s Favorite Song:”

“Music is the universal language of emotion. Men will sing what they would be shamed faced to say…. It is not food for the soul, but wine… the most portable of all religious things. No external equipment is required. Singing it becomes an almost sacramental experience – a moment of transcendence and timelessness, a source of comfort and strength…. If George M. Cohen’s ‘Over There’ was the jaunty theme that took [America] to war [WWI], ‘America the Beautiful’ was what they were fighting for. It was the song that brought them home.”

For more than 125 years, America the Beautiful has stirred our deepest emotions and sense of patriotism, pulling us together in trying times as one people. America the Beautiful was sung on the White House grounds after Pearl Harbor. America the Beautiful was sung in New York at Ground Zero after 9/11.

And today, as our government reopens following a misguided and damaging shut-down, each of us need to sing it again. Loud and Clear. And whereever possible, Together! It’s time to pull together as one people.

America the Beautiful is more than spiritual tribute to our Nation’s wonders and our heroic, pioneering beginnings. The song is a prayer for the future.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Mark Krikorian, who heads the Center for Immigration Studies, wrote in 2014: “’America the Beautiful’ is most decidedly not just about our country’s physical beauty. It’s not a hymn about the landscape but a humble prayer to the Creator…. It’ a plea, an entreaty, not a boast. In fact, it’s deeply conservative, asking the Almighty’s assistance in mending our flaws, in helping us avoid libertinism, in avoiding boastfulness. All in all, a fitting song for a republic.”

After the events that ended 2018 and ushered in our New Year, there is no need for me to provide comments about what’s going on, as thousands, if not millions, of words have already flashed across the Internet and the pages of our newspapers and journals. Most of us are overwhelmed with words if not embarrassment.

Watch the short video that introduces this blog. Listen to its music. Savor its pictures.

Then read the lyrics above.

Think about the lyrics.

Live the lyrics.

Make America Great by Making America Beautiful, not just in its amber fields of grain, its specious mountain majesties and its fruited plains. But in its spirit. In our spirit. In our heart. Be a Real American. Dwell within the spirit of America the Beautiful.

________________________
The Week Magazine published a poll December 7, 2018: “Offered a list of traits defining what it means to be a “real American,” 90% of respondents picked “treating people equally,” 88% chose “taking responsibility for one’s actions,” 81% picked “accepting those of different racial backgrounds,” and 80% said “supporting the U.S. Constitution.” Having been born in America, at 49%, and having lived most of one’s life here, at 45%, came in lowest.’’

From the Legal Planet: A Sample of “Officially-True” Lies

California Law Professor Dan Farber has given me permission to share his latest blog with you. Sharing fits perfectly into my blog’s name change from Wonderlust Journeys to The Brutus Papers. Why the change? Check out the link – Why the Brutus Papers? – at the top of this page.

I end this blog with a short video, America the Beautiful. The music has always brought a tear to my eye. Is this not the America we all want? Certainly, not an America held together by political fabrications; but an America the Beautiful that, with pride, we can endow our future generations.

As you read and listen, think about the role you could play in defining America’s future. Jane Goodall expressed our challenge:

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

_______________________________________

LEGAL PLANET
Insight & Analysis: Environmental Law and Policy

DAN FARBER November 13, 2017
OFFICIALLY-TRUE LIES
Administration policy is based on a series of falsehoods.

There are some falsehoods which the United States government has now adopted as dogma. They aren’t true but they’re repeated day in and day out. Sadly, they’re sometimes not even deliberate falsehoods, because the people who repeat them have been brainwashed into believing them or are just too ignorant to realize the actual facts.

“Greenhouse gas emissions aren’t causing climate change.” This comes in various flavors, like “I’m not a scientist” and “We don’t know how big a role human activities play.” We know a lot about the connection between carbon dioxide in particular and climate change
— from gases trapped in ice cores in Antarctic and Greenland; from isotopes from the seabeds; from the successful predictions of computer models. If you’re interested, Grist.org has a page with detailed answers to all of the major arguments made by climate change skeptics. But since the Trump Administration itself allowed publication of a government report contradicting its official climate skepticism, there really isn’t much room for doubt here.

“Eliminating environmental regulations will bring back coal miners’ jobs.” Not even the coal industry really believes this one. Demand for coal is falling mostly because of competition from natural gas and renewable energy. No one wants to build new coal plants because the economic handwriting is on the wall. For the same reason, the coal industry isn’t going after new coal leases in the West, because they don’t expect long-term demand. As the Washington Post reports, “for coal’s champions, inside the administration and out, that’s the rub: The domestic coal market shows no signs of fundamentally changing, and without renewed demand, there’s no reason to pursue new leases.”

“Renewable energy will ruin the reliability of the grid.”
Rick Perry asked DOE to do a report on renewables and grid reliability. It agreed with the expert consensus that with proper management the grid can handle a large share of renewable energy. That didn’t stop him from demanding that FERC make consumers subsidize coal plants, of course. It does sound plausible to say that wind and solar can’t be counted on, since the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow all the time. But the ability to import power from other areas, growing capacity for energy storage, and management of electricity demand provide ways of dealing with this problem. For instance, California uses a lot of solar but did just fine during a solar eclipse. Perry claims renewables and natural gas aren’t reliable during extreme events, but that’s not true either. You can find a rebuttal from a utility industry source here.

“Environmental regulations hurt economic growth.” This has been a GOP mantra of course, most recently repeated by the White House’s regulation czar. But the economic literature doesn’t support this, not surprisingly because the costs of environmental regulation are small compared to the size of the economy. Remember that the economy grew under Clinton and Obama, at the same time regulation was growing rapidly, while Bush’s attacks on regulations didn’t keep the economy from crashing. When California adopted cap-and-trade, conservatives said it would crash our economy. Instead, our economy is growing just fine, thank you. In contrast, the state of Kansas engaged in a massive experiment, following the GOP platform of big tax cuts and deregulation As I explained in a post last December, the only effect was to wreck the government and weaken the state’s economy.

“Climate regulations were an Obama Administration power grab.” Under Bush, the EPA refused to address climate change. The Supreme Court stepped in and told EPA in Massachusetts v. EPA it could consider only the science in deciding whether to regulate. Not surprisingly, given that hundreds if not thousands of studies support climate science, EPA found that climate change is real and harmful, and the finding was upheld in court. Given the science, EPA had no choice but to regulate. So if you don’t think EPA should be regulating carbon emissions, don’t blame the Obama Administration, blame the Supreme Court.

“Extreme events aren’t connected with climate change.” One of the things we know about climate change is that it will amplify floods, droughts, wildfires, and heatwaves. Connecting any particular event with climate change can be difficult. But there’s a limit to how long we can pretend that the disasters we’re seeing across the country are just business as usual. If you’re a heavy smoker and keeping having especially bad coughs, yes, maybe it’s just a cold you’d have had anyway. But how long can you keep pretending, over and over, that there’s no relationship between your smoking and all that coughing?

“The Paris Agreement was a bad deal for the United States.” Actually, the Agreement was a great deal. In return for agreeing to cut emissions at relatively low expense ourselves, we got the rest of the world to agree to cut their emissions — which cumulatively are much greater. So we get large reduction in U.S. climate impacts while paying only a fraction of the cost. You can find an explanation from a Harvard energy expert of why withdrawing from Paris is such a lame move here. Basically, by joining an international effort, we agreed to help other countries with their climate issues but in return got a lot of free help from them in protecting ourselves from climate change.

Someone who can lie, insistently, with a straight face, is hard to deal with. But we can’t let these lies take over the conversation. It is also disconcerting, to put it mildly, when your own government is dominated by people who are seemingly out of touch with reality. They may have the power to make policy right now. But policies based on falsehoods are doomed to crumble, because reality doesn’t care what politicians say. As the saying goes, it is what it is.
_____________________
For 2 Minutes of Thoughtful Reverence:

https://vimeo.com/230308673
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Extra Credit: check out the Fourth National Climate Assessment.