Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

A great man once said that, a man who gave his life for his country, for a dream which is so close to coming true. In 20 days, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream may take place in living rooms across America as CNN calls Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, and so many other states for Senator Barack Obama.

Senator Obama is not a black man. He is not a white man. He is the epitome of what we, a nation of immigrants, have built from the swamps of DC to the coasts of California, from the mountains of Montana to the bayous of Louisiana. He is a composite of the tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, those who left their families and their countries behind in search of a better life, a life where all people are created equal, where anyone with a little hard work and dedication can prosper.

I drank the American kool-aid long ago when I read such craziness as The Federalist Papers and the Declaration of Independence. I lost my head over the idea of the empowerment of people and the guarantee of human rights. I became insane when I began to believe that people who suffered under tyranny could go to a magical land where they could start from scratch and build better lives for themselves and their families. My America is not a country marred by flagwaving tribalism; my America is an idea bloomed from the minds of men who saw the promise and possibilities of what humanity could do when it strove for progress, when it recognized rather than ignored its problems and sought solutions for these problems.

But they also knew the vileness of which man is capable. "A republic, if you can keep it," were the words of Benjamin Franklin when asked what kind of government he and his colleagues had framed for this fledgling country. This republic contained checks and balances and guaranteed protection of human rights so those who seek to take them from us could be justly punished.

We as a nation in general grew silent, complacent, ignorant in our selfish wanderings around an unregulated America. We filled our houses with material things and when that space ran out, we rented more space at storage facilities. We put things on credit cards and lived beyond our means while CEOs shoved dynamite into the crevice that was the income gap. Those of us who chose to fight were labeled "socialists," "moonbats," and various other names. Yet much of America remained glued to American Idol and Drama Island and whatever was the latest game on the latest console. This country lost its civility and respect towards others all in the name of getting "what's mine." It seemed like people retreated to their homes and turned their noses up at the thought of community. As Hobbes put it best, if we revert to the state of nature, life is nasty, brutish, and short.

Even now in the 21st century there is a resistance to progress. Some dismiss the racial and social tension incited by a demagogue and the obvious ignorance of a certain segment of society as "fringe." We must not ignore the truth about the force of - I hesitate to use the word, but that's what it is - evil that has loomed over McCain rallies. Racism is not something to be taken lightly. We may be on the verge of seeing something historic - a man with dark skin sitting in the Oval Office may start a new chapter in American history, one where we can finally discard all of the PC BS and the race card cries and the accusations and have a real discussion about race relations in this country.

When we talk, when we begin to overcome suspicions, when we stop calling the black neighborhood the "bad part of town," we can finally merge onto the highway of progress instead of this country dirt road we seem to be on. Get rid of racism, empower all people to be full and active participants in society, and there will be no need to talk about "socialism," etc., as the right calls our quest for bettering America. This "imperfect" America, as Sarah Palin describes our view, is an America in which we so strongly believe that we are willing to work our butts off to fix the problems that she wants to ignore or even inflame. We on the left haven't given up on making a more perfect union. We aren't going to put up with an America with regions that resemble a third world country. We aren't going to put up with crime-ridden neighborhoods ruled by drug lords not unlike those who control the Taliban. We aren't going to put up with being ranked 29th in the world in infant mortality rates. No, Sarah, this nation is NOT perfect, and for you to pretend otherwise is obscene.

This, Sarah, is what you inspire:

Yes, we on the left get criticized for saying we MUST do things. It is morally right to end poverty, end equality, end injustice, end ignorance. We MUST do these things, lest the American ideal continue to crumble. There is hope, a whisper in the air, a sound like foreign words blowing through the autumn breeze. We on the left have been shouting a version of it for years, but only now has it reached Main Street ears. We have to keep at it. November 4th is not the end of the movement but the very beginning. We may think the GOP hate machine is dead, but history proves far too often how strong is the power of hate.

Some may find the phrases "hope" and "change" empty rhetoric, but believe me, these words are spoken with the full force of truth and sincerity as their dictionary definitions would suggest. I am excited about the prospect for real, fundamental change so that we may get America back. That's what most Americans want, and that's why Barack Obama will be the next President of these United States.

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