In the Fall of 1831, just as his father was considering his return to the Senate, Theodore charged into the girl’s home and held the Brand family at gunpoint. After defusing that dangerous situation, the Brands promptly swore out a complaint., The court summoned a jury, which heard witnesses regarding Theodore’s sanity, for the Brand family sagaciously asserted that his menacing behavior was the impetuous act of a helpless man. …the Clays cooperated with rather than resisted the sad drama playing out in the Fayette Count courthouse that October. … They pronounced Theodore insane, …and the court committed him to the Eastern Kentucky Insane Asylum. -Henry Clay, Page 235
This short passage, from Henry Clay, illustrates what I think is a striking point about modern American politics. Today, Theodore Clay wouldn’t be declared insane. His mother and father (particularly in the case of a prominent American like Henry Clay) would have appeared on television, saying their boy is just so nice, and they can’t imagine what got into him. Henry Clay’s next run for the Senate would have been destroyed, ending the career of a man who worked hard to heal the divisions caused by the Civil War.
And the gun would have been placed in the insane asylum.
We’ve taken a little bit of gnosticism (all flesh is evil), a little bit of optimism (all people are good), and a few twisted quotes from Jesus (money is the root of all evil), and built a society where no-one is ever at fault for anything other than being wealthy, guns are banned because we all know that inanimate objects can control our very thoughts and deeds, and people –especially people in government– can be trusted without fail because their hearts are always in the right place.
The only problem is that all three legs on which this stool stands are wrong.