One / Un

…is sometimes all it takes…

“So ask the travelled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live?&—Certainly in my own, where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and recollections of my life. Which would be your second choice? France.”

~Thomas Jefferson, *Autobiography*, 1821
Sometimes we are one. One in solidarity. One in our horror. At other times, one in our joy. One in our triumph. And in the West, we embrace one seemingly contradictory ideal – that to be one, we ought to embrace all. It is this embrace that invites the chaos. It is our extreme openness that exposes us to extreme hate. In New York, London, Madrid, and Paris, we have seen the heart of terror. We weep for the innocent cast out of this life by the seeming senseless.

France has always been our closest brethren. The first to ally with us, the first to adopt our way of governance. In the time of the Founding Fathers, the French were literally everything. It was their military might that helped drive the British from colonial shores. And today, we are joined again as allies in a war without borders.

Where is this war? It is here, already on our door steps. But who stands against it? The people with the most to lose, they flee. They do not stand. They flood our nations and our cities, confounding and confusing and inadvertently aiding the very fears they fly from. Their war spills onto our soils. Murdering our people-at work, at play, at rest, eating, sleeping, journeying, doing some thing as simple as listening to music. Their war, they say, is for all the earth. For we must all bow to their beliefs, especially us, the West, the unbelieving. Where are their brothers, their mothers, their sisters, their fathers, their neighbors? How many have refused to be the one to stand, to say something, to turn in someone bent on causing terror and destruction? All it takes is one.

We will not bow. We stand united. We stand one, with France. And we are one with those in the world who believe that differences can be positive, and that being different from one another does not automatically equal being wrong. And it is our one great idea that has changed the world, even as those who believe otherwise fight to return it to a darker age. But we remain one. One in our conviction of liberty and justice for all.

Vive L’Amerique. Vive La Republique. Vive La France.

Documentation without Representation:
Thomas Jefferson, *Autobiography*, 1821
Electronic Text Courtesy of Monticello/University of Virginia

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