Opinion » Bill Cope


Foundin' Fathers running out of our ears


"Yup, that was some doozy of an election."

"Yup, a doozy indeed, Red. Makes me wonder how many more like that the country could take. But what about you, pal? Are you feeling any better about the way it turned out?"

"Some days are better'n others, Cope. I still have those times when I wish ol' Mitt Romney was agonna be there in the presidentialing job just so's I wouldn't have to think so much about what I think of havin' to rethink ever'thing I ever thought about them ... er, you know ... them urban sorts. But then I have days when I sort o' stop thinking altogether about what I think of them folks, and it don't seem so bad. Know what I mean?"

"Uh, I'll have to think about that."

"Besides, I sort o' wish I hadn't o' skittered out so fast after the election and signed up with them fellers who want to secsessionate out o' the U.S. of A."

"Why's that, Red? Can you see now that it was all just a dim-witted, bratty tantrum being thrown by the sort of duncey trash we'd be better off without, anyway?"

"Nah, that's not it. It's acause I been thinkin' that if we actually did pull out o' the U.S. of A., then neither the U.S. of A. n'r whatever we called our new country would be exspecional anymore."

"You mean 'exceptional,' I'm sure."

"Yeah. Ain't that what I said? And I think it's important that the U.S. of A. stay exspecional, even if it means we gotta put up with the wrong president f'r a few more years. Even you'd agree with that, wouldn't you, Cope?"

"Truth is, Red, I don't think we're exceptional. I've never thought we were exceptional. In fact, I think 'exceptional' has become a meaningless word. An empty, foolish word bleated out ad nauseam by the most unexceptional of Americans to give themselves credit for being unique and wondrous by no more virtue than having been born in this country instead of another."

"That gull durn figures! Cope, I might o' known a bird like you would think the U.S. of A. 'tweren't exspecional!"

"But Red, that's not to say this country doesn't produce some exceptional people. Probably more than our share even, though who can know for sure, since it's unlikely we'll ever hear much about the exceptional folks from Thailand, say ... or Morocco or Finland or Botswana. All I'm saying is, it's ridiculous for people to think they share in some sort of common exceptionalism simply because they happen to live within the same borders as the few truly exceptional individuals."

"Them exspecional indivisionals y'r braggin' on ain't got nothin' to do with it, Cope! It's the Good Lord A'mighty God On High what made us exspecional. God put them Foundin' Fathers here! Not in Botswannyland n'r nowheres else. An' that's what makes us exspecional. The Good Lord A'mighty God On High, as born again in Jesus Holy Christ what's maninfestated in the hearts and souls of the Foundin' Fathers, and then passed off on us with the Declarationing of the Constitutionals! So you see, Cope, if'n you respected our Foundin' Fathers like you oughta, you'd know hows they inqueathed upon us a straight shot of pure Christly especialism, by dang!"

"Red, I bet I respect way more Founding Fathers than you do. Take Louis Armstrong, one of the all-around greatest Founding Fathers, old Louis. You can't imagine how much respect I have for that man."

"What you talkin' 'bout? Louie Armstrong weren't no Foundin' Father!"

"Oh, he certainly was. Louis and Henry Thoreau and Henry Longfellow and Lenny Bernstein and Martin Luther King, Jr. ... all Founding Fathers, every one of them, along with Harriet Beecher Stowe and Emily Dickinson and Susan B. Anthony and Betty Friedan and ..."

"Y'r brain pan's done rattled loose, Cope. Some o' them what y'r callin' Foundin' Fathers ain't even fellers."

"That doesn't mean they didn't each have take a huge role in defining the America we live in, Red. Herman Melville, Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, Tecumseh ... they're all standouts in the family picture. Oh, and Mark Twain, the Beach Boys, Carl Sandburg, Thomas Edison. Then there's Brigham Young and Teddy Roosevelt and William Faulkner, Mae West and Duke Ellington and Charles Lindbergh, Andy Warhol and Abe Lincoln and Elvis ... can't forget Elvis ... and Frederick Douglass. Harry Houdini, Billie Holiday, Buffalo Bi ..."

"Stop it! Just stop it! Y'r blasphemizing the fellers what made this country what it is. That ain't right, Cope. Even comin' from you."

"I'm not blaspheming anything. I'm just saying this country--every country, for that matter--is what it is because generations of extraordinary people, for good or ill, add their own distinctive flavors to the soup. Jefferson, Washington and those guys started it to simmering, no doubt. But who can say for certain if their contribution is any more vital to what we are today and what we'll be tomorrow than ... say, Abe Lincoln's? Or Hillary Clinton's. Or Jefferson Davis'. Point is, pal, this country isn't finished being founded."

"So by you're way o' thinkin', Cope, there might be a lot o' Foundin' Fathers what ain't even been born yet."

"Let us hope so, Red, And let us also hope there are a lot more Abe Lincolns coming than Jefferson Davises, if you know what I mean."