July 4. Happy Fourth. I guess I was saving this for today; all I had was the title. When I was young, American history did not fascinate me the way European history and the histories of other parts of the world did. Now, in my dotage, I find American history the most fascinating, which is saying a lot when you look at the development of Indian civilization, the progress of Bantus through the Congo Basin, the unfolding of the multiform Chinese government over a millenium, all before Rome was even founded.
So it is with wonder that we observe the Founding Fathers and what they wrought. Did they know what they were wrighting?
(OK, for those of you who object to my word play, here’s the 411 on the word ‘wrought’:) The past participle of Middle English werken (“to work”), from Old English wyrcan (past tense worhte, past participle geworht), from Proto-Germanic *wurkijaną (“to work”), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- (“to work”). Cognate with wright (as in wheelwright etc.), Dutchgewrocht, archaic past participle of werken (archaic past tense wrocht, archaic past part. gewrocht), Low German wracht, archaic past participle of warken (archaic past tense wrach, archaic past part. wracht).
(Thank you, Wiktionary)
So, now we have in the ascendancy people who neither know nor care about what the FFs (forerunners of BFFs) wrought. They probably say “rot”. They say they want the whole system overturned but they don’t know what the system consists of, but they’ll find out. Trade agreements, environmental safety, infrastructure, the treatment of immigrants and minorities and women, the disenfranchisement of millions, the alliance with a hostile foreign power, the cronyism and corruption among the leadership, the abuse of the armed forces, the dismantling of health care, R&D, and transportation/communication. What have I missed? It’ll be a joy. Happy Fourth.