A Lament For What Once Was

I have a dream. In my dream I live in a democracy. It is an ancient land, and a happy one. It is a place where generations have known and defended the flame of freedom, and hold it dearer then their lives. It is a land of small but immemorial woodlands, of slow, rolling hillsides, of emerald green fields and twisting country lanes.

I have a dream. In my dream I live in a democracy. It is a place where the people have held firm against all foreign foes for a thousand years. They are people slow to anger, but quick to defend others. A people who have shed their blood for noble causes ten thousand times, and saved the world from tyrants more than once. They are a private people, reserved and quiet, but firm and bold. They do not bend easily, and they never break. They have a martial history, and more victories to their name than even they can remember.

I have a dream. In my dream I live in a democracy. It is a Christian land, but there are no fanatics here. Kindness and courtesy are common traits, and a polite understatement is a national trait. The institutions of this land have learned moderation in all things, and are noted for never intruding on the private thoughts and feelings of the common man. All men police themselves, and there are no State sanctioned murders or torture chambers, no show trials or political judges. The very thought of such excesses and corruptions turns the stomachs of the people here, even the great and the good, who have never succumbed to the vices of power.

I have a dream. In my dream I live in a democracy. It is a place rich in history and culture. It has blessed the world with wonders of science and marvels of technology. The greatest engineers have built its bridges and laid the foundations of its great houses, and knit each town and village in arteries of stone. It has produced the most talented writers in all the world, and they have set down every tale and imagining that the fecund minds of this mighty people can devise. Their words have repeated, again and again, the love of freedom that is the truest and most abiding expression of this race.

I have a dream. In my dream I live in a democracy. But I fear the dream is only a memory, a memory lost. We live in a great forgetting, where every beautiful and worthy thing is like a candle being extinguished. The lights dim, the cold draws in, the dream dies slowly like a fading mist. All that we had is torn from our grip, and we pass nothing on save nothingness.