Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Life of Colonel David Crockett
I've been reading more lately - but in a good way. Most of my reading over this decade has been increasingly about political events, proposed legislation, news, and the law. Those readings are well and good; they make you knowledgeable in the topics of the day and keep you apprised of what is occurring in your community, state, and nation.
However, you need to digest more to keep things in perspective. Recently, I have been trying to branch out and read more texts - actual "dead wood" books. (My recent reference to Judge Bork's latest text is but one example.) I also find these books to be more uplifting than our politics, news, and such in 2009, as the current party of power looks to destroy all concept of individual liberty and freedom in its quest to cure what it views as "social injustice."
One such work is an oldie but a goodie. It's Edward S. Ellis' 1884 biography of the original Volunteer, entitled The Life of Colonel David Crockett. (You can find this book in paperback at Amazon.com. Just look for it in the left sidebar of this page.)
An interesting story from that book can be found here. It's a lengthy read by Internet standards, but the lessons are clear regarding principle over pragmatism, the overriding function of an elected official, and how voters will forgive a contrite man. As Crockett put it:
"Fellow-citizens -- I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."
Davy Crockett is one of my favorite Tennesseans of all time, alongside Sam Houston and John Sevier. My son, David Leonidas, is partially named after Crockett (the David honoring Crockett and biblical King of Israel, and Leonidas honoring the great king of Sparta in Ancient Greece). Passages like the one linked to this post only make my admiration of Crockett's character and strength more resounding. Perhaps all of our elected officials need to seek his counsel when they, like Crockett once did, start exceeding the bounds of their office.