March 2011



 I have been a reader and admirer of Ralph Waldo Emerson for years. Late in 2009, I read a letter that Emerson had written to President Martin Van Buren in 1838 that struck me as being tremendously relevant to the political and financial events of recent years.

 In this letter, Emerson urged President van Buren to not follow through on what he rightfully described as a “sham treaty” to relocate the Cherokees from their lands east of the Mississippi to what is now Oklahoma. This “treaty” was signed by only a few hundred people, while the protest letter was signed by 15,668 Cherokees. Emerson appealed to the President with questions that struck at the core of American liberty: “Will the American government steal? Will it lie? Will it kill?” Emerson made a plea on the part of the Cherokees and called upon the rest of the nation to rise above what he described as “…a gloomy diffidence in the moral character of the government.” He fought for liberty and against an unjust treaty that led to one of the darkest moments in our history—the Trail of Tears.

 These words bring to mind the sentiment currently resonating throughout our nation that our government’s trust has been lost and that the will of the people has taken a back seat to a select minority of special interests. A small group of self-serving insiders has abdicated their responsibilities to the people by passing laws and “reforms” to their own benefit at the cost of most citizens. But we as a society also bear responsibility for allowing this to happen. In an attempt to analyze how and why we have arrived at this crisis, I decided to write a series of modern day “Cherokee Letters.”