Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Concluding Comments on Lexington and Concord
So here we are. Captain John Parker, captured for as long as we stand as a nation, in bronze, on Lexington Green. The quintessential American, the minuteman, the patriot, the freedom fighter. An iconographic image of a mythology bounded by reality and time. It is an image of America we have nurtured for two and a half centuries. It is an image of an individual and individualism. To a large extent these men were manipulated by the propagandists of their time. Captain Parker stood on the green with some seventy-seven men knowing he could not stop the British. Why else was he there? To provoke. There was an inevitability to what was unfolding.
So standing on the Green at Lexington and looking at John Parker, I wonder what he would make of America in 2011. He would not have had patience for the politicians’ talk, nor would he be pleased with politics and the political process as an end in itself. He was a man who did his duty, who adhered to his notions of integrity, and stood his ground. His was a kind frontier justice; his revenge was act of affirmative commission. He neither asked permission nor forgiveness. In the most Biblical of moments, his activity on the Battle Road in Lincoln had nothing to do with Sam Adams or John Hancock, with great political ideas or philosophy. It was an eye for an eye. Perhaps from such things are nations made.