A thought about how states are coming out of the COVID-19 quarantine prompts Steve Ashmore to look at their state mottos for insights.
As we emerge from our quarantines, I thought about how each state has its own version of how to reopen. While the plans are likely based on the number of infections and just as important the number of fatalities, each state has to consider what might be best for its populace.
While it seems a strange leap of logic, that started me thinking about state mottos. A little research into that area gives the average person perspective regarding what our past leaders considered important in forging a plan or goal for their state.
Almost 10% call upon our belief in God, whether simply stating “In God We Trust” or more eloquently “Nothing without the Deity.” Regardless of how it’s stated, there’s a deeply rooted religious belief in our country that spreads from east to west and north to south.
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More than half stated their watchword through Latin phrases or other languages. Makes one wonder if the forefathers were simply showing off their educational backgrounds or if they thought that the persuasiveness was better implied in another tongue.
Some of the better of these (translated) include: “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty;” “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness;” “While I breathe, I hope.”
Three states seem content to argue over who has the worst winter, geographically speaking. This include Michigan (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you); Minnesota (The Star of the North); and Alaska (North to the Future.)
Finally, there are those territories who are content to simply advertise. Their slogans do little more than exemplify the state economy. California uses “Eureka” to remind us of their last economic success, the gold rush. Hand in hand with that is Montana’s “Gold and Silver,” though I’m not sure you can find either these days. I mean William Devane hasn’t even made an appearance there. Tennessee spouts “Agriculture and Commerce” for all to see while Utah proffers “Industry” as their dictum.
The point, if one is to be made, is that we are a nation of cultural diversity. What may be good for your state, might not work in a neighboring territory. If it’s good on the east coast, it may be devastating in the heartland. If a Florida beaches are safe, it doesn’t mean coastal California is ready to welcome visitors.
Once again, the catchphrase has been “We’re all in this together” but we mustn’t be critical of the agenda of other areas where their plans differ from ours.
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