Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Freemason Wisdom: Theodore Roosevelt

Bro. Teddy Roosevelt

"I am a part of everything 
that I have read."

~Theodore Roosevelt
Matinecock Lodge No. 806, New York

For the next year, we're going to be buffeted from all sides by what will most likely be one of the ugliest Presidential campaigns in American history--well over a billion dollars will be spent trying to gain your vote. It doesn't matter what side of the political fence you sit on, candidates are going to try to tell you how you should feel about every issue under the sun.  They will tell your their side of the story, and cleverly leave out the other side of the issue.  They don't want you to form your own opinion, they want you to blindly support their position.

Too many times we shelter ourselves from the world by foolishly believing there is a right and a wrong side of just about every issue--and too many of us stubbornly refuse to listen to any idea that falls outside our ideological belief system, beliefs we've often formed without educating ourselves fully on the subject.  We say things like "I don't subscribe  to that way of thinking."  Or, "I don't read newspapers like that."  Some of our greatest leaders, like Teddy Roosevelt, were voracious readers.  They didn't limit themselves to reading just books, newspapers, and articles that agreed with their particular belief system--they sought to understand other points of view and beliefs as well.  They sought solutions to difficult problems by understanding the whole issue well enough to know what those things were that both sides could come to agreement on.

Those days seem to be gone--America has never been more divided.  We can't even seem to agree on the things we've traditionally agreed upon anymore.  The reason for this divide is that we're allowing other people to think for us.  

Take a little time, and examine those things you strongly believe in.  Where did you get those ideas?  Are you sure those beliefs are founded in your personal beliefs, or were they formed by listening to somebody else's agenda.  You can't be a well-rounded individual, by only understanding one side to every issue. It doesn't mean you have to change the way you feel about an issue--it just means you've taken it upon yourself to educate yourself fully in an issue before adopting a position.  We allow others way too much responsibility in deciding how we should feel about things--we listen to our preachers, or our teachers, or our elected leaders, or the news media, or our political party instead of deciding how we feel about it.  

Perhaps Ayn Rand put it best, when she wrote, "The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap."

~TEC


2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful article, Brother. TR was one of the inspirations for me becoming a Mason myself, in fact, the picture above was taken in my mother lodge in 1912. Whenever I look to the east I can imagine him standing there,

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    1. Boy I'd love to see your lodge one day... Does it still look like that? If it does, Christopher, I'd love to get you to take a new picture of that spot, and send it to me--maybe with you and your new Master standing where Teddy did. Teddy is one of my favorite Famous Freemasons. I wrote about him in my first book. If I could get a fresh picture, I'd love to write a follow-up article. I post a lot of old photos, and sometimes we forget these places still exist, and the ghosts of these great American Freemasons still continue to inspire us. I'd love to do a post about how the TR's tradition in your lodge continues... tec33@toddcreason.org.

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