The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta has got me thinking a lot about our society’s interconnectedness. There is a great scene in Jerome K. Jerome’s comedy tale Three Men in a Boat where the weary boating men come across the riverbank where King John, surrounded by indignant bishops and barons, was forced to grant Englishmen their God-given liberties. That one moment can be traced to today, and all the arguments we Americans have over keeping our country intact.
Here in Washington D.C., the ancient lineage upon which our country was founded is practically forgotten. The typical American no longer sees himself as a part of unfolding history. Instead, thanks to liberalism, he is a hyper-autonomous individual who works for himself and no one else.
This point is best illustrated by a recent article in Washington City Paper. The topic is bicycling, a favorite activity among the yuppy, progressive D.C. denizens. With total obliviousness, author Will Sommer asks, “Riding a Bike on the Sidewalk Makes Sense. Why the Hate?” Sommer is dismayed at the anti-bicycle attitude so prevalent in the city. He’s also perturbed that a police officer once stopped him for the crime of riding his bike on a sidewalk. To him, non-cyclists don’t get it. Even though it’s illegal to bike down the sidewalk in some parts of the city, Sommer is undeterred. “I still bike on the sidewalk…because riding on the sidewalk has its place everywhere in the city,” he asserts.