Not Enough Crosses,
Not Enough Rows

What the Greeks mythologized one man sought to materialize.

Blinded by the vanity of his head and the certainty of his heart, this child of the South owed his faith to the North’s southernmost institution. 

From the burning but flourishing bush of the Presbyterian Church, to flourishing under the God of Princeton University, this man went to Paris. He went to remake the world and returned to Washington, D.C., with Europe on the brink of a second world war. He took pride in reflecting on the lights of his achievements, of the brilliance of his 14 points, without remembering the point of the oldest commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

We know this Narcissus by his Christian name, Thomas Woodrow Wilson.

He replaced the ideas of Thomas Jefferson with the ideology of Jefferson Davis.

He rejected Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for the right of self-determination.

He reversed a nation of one people into a landmass of 103 million (now 300 million) possible plebiscites, where the source of our unity is the cause of our division: the hyphen of separateness. The victory of blood over soil, of the elevation of the Old World over the New, pitting black against brown, white against white, all against all.

Worse than the policies Wilson promoted was the map he produced. A map as malleable by the pen as it was made malicious by the sword, because regardless of his intentions—regardless of whether he wanted to make Europe a testing ground for his theories—the Continent became a battleground for his theology. 

On his knees like a servant of Christ, he acted as if he were God. 

He made Frenchmen out of Germans, not through the accretion of time and the assimilation of languages and peoples, but by pitting the two against each other. He swapped colonies without awarding them sovereignty, giving Belgium and France what was neither theirs to take nor Germany’s to steal; giving Portugal a piece, too, of a triangle (the Kionga Triangle) of a possession; giving millions reason to revolt by arming them with the principles of self-determination.

Wilson created the existential consequences of the peace.

Life under his system is a constant struggle.

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Photo: Corbis via Getty Images

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