The recent news may have been historic. As Emerson noted, while he and his friend Thoreau would read and discuss the ideas of the ages, others would shout loudly about another train derailment, or an uprising in the west, and other events that make the headlines for that day, but will be forgotten soon enough. Some profound things are changing.
Emerson wrote about this with wry wit, about custom being the hobgoblins of little minds. He understood that everyone applied their God given intelligence as best they could, and worked with the power they were given. But greater, and more disciplined minds could but wish that people would push themselves more.
Others, such as David Thoreau, would consider it more worthwhile to go out and sit by a pond, and build himself a house, and live with the animals around the pond and notice how their behavior was so much like our own, even to the point of madness.
Thoreau could lay out on the ground for hours, after preparing his wood for the fire and enough to eat later. He would observe red and black ants in their busy day long tasks, carrying small items of great value to the team back at the nest.
But what would puzzle a true American patriot and original antique such as Henry David Thoreau, would be that even if red and black ants even accidentally collided in their routes, rather than simply back off and get on with the task each of their queens had sent them out on, they would drop their valued packages and begin to attack each other, to the death. It was like Persia ever at the door with swords.
Or, feared Thoreau, it might against Mexico soon by his great democracy, America. Thoreau, at close range, would watch this needless mayhem and disruption to all their lives, and the well being of the home colony of each ant. He saw that red or black ants, bitten in two, would still be snapping pincers.
And at that time, forces from the United States of America were moving towards Mexico City as the Mexican Wars were beginning. To Thoreau this was not his idea of America.
Thoreau saw this as more red and black ant madness, and when the taxes began to rise, with the explanations it was to pay for the War with Mexico, Henry David Thoreau inspired Mahatma Gandhi a century later by going to jail rather than pay a tax to support a wrong.
His friend Emerson quietly paid the fine so that David could be released. But if it had been up to him, he would still be in there.
Thoreau was a role model to independence for India a century later; used by Mahatma Gandhi, who spent many peaceful days in jail for quiet protest of oppression.
The point of this today was that for the first ever, the not democratically elected President of China spoke on television, and the Mighty Khan abjectly apologized to the frustrated, angry people of China has a relatively unified people,with no real chance to voice their views.
In contrast,in India which is a teeming democracy that voices an opinion at every election, the leader would not feel the alarm that the dictator may fear.
The leaders of China fear a Gandhi Wong or Paul Revere Ming riding to the next town saying, the Army is Coming, the Army is Coming. That is more democracy than the still oppressive leadership wants to see. These days, not all the men of the king nor every horse of the king were enough for a very hard working people who receive very few days off and were as angry at the weather as their own government.
But the leadership of China has become very nervous about unhappy citizens.
While in chaotic democratic India, they have so many varieties of cows and religions and monkeys and peoples they are coming into their own, violent as ever about religion, but making progress in their lives daily. Democracy is going to come, and some Thomas Jefferson Ming and Benjamin Franklin Lee and others are studying now and feeling their constraints.
In India, they are already democratic, and this more free capitalism has them learning to speak English and take on the world. And, scary to us as it may be, it is good. And long over due, for the good of all.
China with the growing wealth and riches still can handle occasional rebellions, but they fear a Jefferson Lee or Yo Ming Lincoln making a speech about the rights of free people. Democracy, as well as rich capitalism goes hand in hand. These ways are coming, Comrades. Just you wait and see.
And if you were the Mighty Khan of one billion three hundred million angry hornets right now, would you not also be quaking in your Forbidden Palace. Apparently, he, and all the Court, are. I know I would be, if I was that oppressive still. So, we think that is a very good thing.