Ancient Alexandria in Egypt, "birthplace of the modern world," was the new Athens for close to a thousand years. A place where new ideas held sway over dogmatic beliefs. A place that America could have become, and in fact was - for about 5 minutes. Yet once the nation was conceived and debated by brilliant men well-versed in what remained of the classics (many of which originated in Alexandria almost two thousand years before the Founding Fathers), and once its violent birth was complete with the defeat of the British, it quickly descended into just another power grab of the variety that the world has engaged in since the dawn of humanity itself.
The first few Presidents held fast to the ideal of "America," particularly George Washington. Soon, however, the flow of new ideas, vigorously debated with intellectual fire and brilliance by classically trained citizens, slowed to a trickle, eventually mirroring the fading star of Alexandria herself when the battle of ideas turned into a battle of partisan roles, and attacks once crafted with reason and scholarship morphed into assaults on individuals, peppered with inaccuracies, allegations, and accusations that served to undermine the foe rather than his idea. In that environment, no matter what merit the idea or proposition may possess, it is immediately relegated to obscurity at the very instant that its champion is discredited.
That is where we find ourselves today with policy decisions, be they domestic or foreign. The ideas themselves are not debated or discussed; in fact, they are barely even understood. Instead, the party of whomever advances the position is slandered, libeled, and otherwise disparaged by the opposing group, so that we are now no better than the state to which Alexandria had degenerated almost a thousand years after its founding by Alexander the Great, conqueror of the known world and conceiver of the world's greatest intellectual achievement, the magnificent city of Alexandria.