Recently I was entertained by the Evergreen Chorale’s production of “1776.” I’m a regular at their productions, but this may be their best ever. Gary Muse’s portrayal of Ben Franklin was so good, I was sure Dr. Franklin was actually in the house.
The show was all about the goings-on of the Continental Congress, which convened in May 1776. Of course, we all know what transpired there in Philadelphia, but we may not remember some of the details.
John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were convinced that we should fight for our independence from the English crown. About half the states agreed, but the other half were more focused on their individual interests. They were not willing to fight a war they believed couldn’t be won. The Congress had a hopeless deadlock. Sound familiar?
As they tried to resolve the disagreement, they wisely decided to put the core beliefs that bound them together into writing. The output of this, of course, was the Declaration of independence. When they started to focus on shared beliefs instead of beliefs that divided them, the progress began. As we know, Jefferson was the author of the document, but his document had more than 80 changes made to it before it was agreeable to all the delegates.
They were intent on solving every problem and developing a perfect document. At one point, a frustrated Adams asked, “What will posterity think of us if we don’t solve every problem?” Franklin, always the statesman, said, “If we don’t focus on independence, posterity will never know us.”
Finally, the assembled delegates created the United States of America. Individual states with different values and ways of life decided to put aside their individual interests to unite as one country around one central idea.
Maybe a command performance before our 112th U.S. Congress would be in order.
Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author of the bi-books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. (More about Jim at www.theloyaltypartners.com.)