Carly Fiorina: For A More Perfect Union, We Must Reconnect With Our Past
VA250 National Honorary Chair, Carly Fiorina, spoke to the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250) about the importance of sharing the whole story of history and getting every Virginia community involved.
by Mike Frontiero
When Carly Fiorina tells the history of the United States she begins with the founders. Not because they are the whole story, but because without them the rest of the story might never have happened. Virginians Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, and George Washington were men of their times, she explains. They owned slaves; they did not believe the rights they espoused applied to the enslaved, or the indentured, or the Indigenous, or women. “But they were also men way ahead of their time. Indeed, the words they wrote were a radical departure from the past.”
In a recent speech to the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250) in Richmond, the one-time Republican presidential candidate, former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and now VA250 National Honorary Chair shared her vision for forming a more perfect union in a divided nation, work she said that was not finished when the U.S. was founded and is not finished still. She emphasized the importance of telling the whole story of its history, including the difficult and complex parts.
What we all talk about at Sunday dinner
In preparation for a previous speech to the Gloucester Institute at an occasion referred to as its “Sunday Dinner,” Fiorina said she spent a lot of time thinking about what we all talk about when we gather at Sunday dinner, or perhaps when we gather before the sabbath on Friday evening, or for an event.
Whenever we as families and communities gather, Fiorina said, there’s something that always happens. No matter the time or the occasion of the gathering. Together, we talk about our present. We talk about the events of the day, the people of the day, the gossip of the day, the arguments and conflicts of the day. But then, inevitably, when we gather together, we end up talking about the people and the stories of our past. “We all do it and the question is why do we all end up doing that? We end up doing that because we realize, in some deeply personal way, that we are not fully connected in our present unless we are also connected to our past.”
When we reconnect with our past, when we look into the mirror of history to see ourselves clearly, she said, then we come away with a renewed sense of belonging and of commitment and we find a sense of purpose.
A more perfect union depends on all of us
Fiorina challenged Americans to recommit themselves to the ideals of the American Revolution and to the work of forming a more perfect union. “The work to form a more perfect union depends on each one of us, wherever we are and whoever we are,” she said. “And that work is never done.”
Fiorina called on Americans to make Virginia’s history and the American story their own. “We all know that our complex, difficult, but ultimately inspiring and redemptive story is motivation for us to continue the work to form a more perfect union.”
What you can do
There are many ways you can help to form a more perfect union. Here are a few ideas:
– Mike Frontiero is Chief Communications Officer for the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250)