The American We Lost; And Need to Recover If We Are to Survive

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“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” Samuel Adams

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What is a building without its foundation? The ability of a building to stand the tests of time and nature lies in its foundation and its structure. Well, the foundation of this country is the spirit instilled in it by the founding fathers. The structure of this country is the Constitution. One depends upon the other. One cannot be disconnected from the other for the building to stand; yet, the building is getting closer and closer to falling because we have caused the structure to lose its original integrity. It is being separated from the foundation and when that separation is complete, the building will collapse. The foundation of this country is the 28 principals, which united the founding fathers. The principals that they deemed vital in the success of this, “Experiment” in self-government that was to be the hope of mankind, in the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“We feel that we are acting under obligations not confined to the limits of our own society. It is impossible not to be sensible that we are acting for all mankind; that circumstances denied to others but indulged to us have imposed on us the duty of proving what is the degree of freedom and self-government in which a society may venture to leave its individual members.”

Most Americans, and in this group I include lawmakers, do not understand in their hearts and souls the nature of the country that they are serving. Nor do they understand the importance of the form of government for which the flag stands. Many say the pledge of allegiance by rote memory never considering what they are saying for when asked what form of Government we live under they inevitably say, “Democracy”. However, it is clearly stated in the, “Pledge of Allegiance”, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of American AND TO THE REPUBLIC, for which it stands….”, this is not a democracy it is a Republic.

For the past eight years I have been trying to figure out which country I want to live in when I can afford to move. I felt helpless in effecting what was happening in this country and so I felt that living in this country was in essence being a part of the problem that is destroying the world. Then suddenly, I was guided to the writings of the Founders. Then I read a quote by Gandhi which said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” In the same book, he recounted this story:

Gandhi and Reverend Andrews, a Presbyterian missionary, were walking together in South Africa.  “The two suddenly find their way blocked by young thugs.  Reverend Andrews takes one look at the menacing gangsters and decides to run for it.  Gandhi stops him.  ‘Doesn’t the New Testament say if an enemy strikes you on the right cheek you should offer him the left?’  Andrews mumbles that he thought the phrase was used metaphorically.  ‘I’m not so sure,’ Gandhi replies.  ‘I suspect he meant you must show courage – be willing to take a blow, several blows, to show you will not strike back nor will you be turned aside.  And when you do that it calls on something in human nature, something that makes his hatred decrease and his respect increase.  I think Christ grasped that and I have seen it work.’

This, and everything that I was hearing about this being, ” un-American”, and that being, “unconstitutional”, made me seek a deeper understanding of what is American, and what is Constitutional. I realized that the problem was not America, just as Gandhi saw that the problem was not Christianity, America is a beautiful ideal, one unlike any other in the world, it was Americans and their ignorance of this country that made them so unlike America. We have underneath all of the muck, corruption, prejudice, greed and hatred, the most precious diamond on earth – and if we are going to survive as the human race, we will need to uncover it once again, and use it as a new foundation upon which to build, once again, a new world.

We need a deeper understanding before we decide what is Constitutional and what is Unconstitutional.  We need a deeper understanding of the framers of that document and what they meant, the constitution is not to be interpreted, it is to be understood.

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people’ (10th Amendment). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition.” Thomas Jefferson

So I am going to being a series of blogs covering the 28 principals upon which this country was built. Understanding the foundation, will, begin our journey, however, long it may be, to the place where we were born as Americans. And perhaps, we will understand that we must see the Constitution, and interpret it in the way in which the founding fathers had seen it done.

“On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. Thomas Jefferson

I have already covered the first Principle in the blog entitled, “In God We Trust”. The second principle, which I believe is the mortar which holds all of the other principles together I will cover in my next blog, but it is this:

Principal 2: A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Today The World Changed – the inauguration of Barack Obama

The following poem is dedicated to three men who are not here to read it, but were it not for them, I would not be the person that I am today writing it.

It is dedicated to my father Aguinaldo, my brother Alfonso, and my surrogate father Al Wallach.  These three men refused to yield to what they believed to be injustice.  They instilled in me the deep conviction, that if we try to hide from injustice, if we tolerate injustice, or even if we ignore injustice, we are destroying any hope that in this world, there will ever be justice.  They were not here to witness this day – but I think that they planned it that way so that they would have the best seats in Heaven.

Today the World Changed

I did not receive a release of my debts

But still, a debt was paid this day to a people,

To my people

Today the world changed

For one moment

Those men who sat for days to build a foundation

Upon which a more perfect union could be built

And those slaves who gave their blood, sweat and tears

To lay the bricks and mortar that would secure that foundation

And the Red man, from whom all of this was taken

Rose in silent witness

All of those souls – joining hand, and heart

Standing side by side cried tears of Joy

For the resurrection of the Spirit of America

Today the world changed

Not with a bang – but with a whisper

A whisper that resounded throughout the world

And into the Heavens

The sky did not fall

Only that impenetrable ceiling upon which, the words,

“You may rise no further, this club is for “White Men Only”

Came tumbling down like the walls of Jericho.

Today the world changed

The last unyielding, inhumane, bloody chains of oppression gave way,

The spirits of my Hebrew ancestors who escaped Egypt

And had cried that they could not be really free until all mankind was free

Stand, arm in arm with the spirits of all of the slaves that toiled to build this country as the they had once toiled to build the pyramids,

Together their tears of joy rain down on us,

For they are all finally free, and the yokes of slavery and fear

Are removed from their generation

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Today the world changed

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Millions gathered ,of all ages, races, religions, genders, gay and straight, from all nations and all political ideologies

And above this multitude of men, women and children

Unnoticed, inconspicuous

Flloated  a multitude of Angelic Beings

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All huddled together to bear witness to

the New World of Man,

the resurrection of Hope,

the resurrection of faith,

And the resurrection of Divine Love,

Today the world changed

The President of the most Powerful Nation in the world,

Was  raised up by the hands of the thousands of slaves who laid

The path that he walked , who built the stairs that he climbed,

And with pride and overflowing hearts they placed him in the highest seat.

They were able to work through the pain, the blood, and the exhaustion without giving up,

Without laying down to die,

Fueled and Driven by the faith that

One day, if they built it –

He would come

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and complete the circle.


Today the world change

Never again can a teacher tell a little black, Hispanic, or native American child,

“You cannot reach for that goal, why even try, just wash dishes, clean houses

Get those foolish notions out of your head”

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Never again, can a teen on the corner selling drugs to other teens

be able to say,

“The White man condemned me to this life, it is not my fault”

Never Again will the Black, Latino or Asian child be able to say that there is nothing more to aspire to

because they are Black, Latino, Chicano, or Asian

except to die in a gang.

Because – this day, if we look to our left, and we look to our right, there

Is the White man –

He is not in front

He is not in control,

He is one of us – Today, the united States of America had declared this from here on,

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Today the world changed

No more can a boy or girl, living in a blighted ghetto or an arid dying suburb say,

“I cannot become whatever I want”

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No one can ever, from this day forward say, I can’t.

No excuses left – no justifications left,

There is no greater or more meaningful role-model

Than the President Of The United States.

Today life’s struggles are still overwhelming us,

The tunnel which now darkly surrounds us

Has become neither shorter, nor easier,

And for so many of us – the light at the end of that tunnel,

Has grown no brighter.

Today the roof of my house shelters my family,

Tomorrow, it may be the roof of our car,

But if I have to struggle through the challenges of each day

This is the world that I want to struggle in.

Today the world changed

The dark and spiritless landscape that I stared out at yesterday

Has become a garden with the just  the tiniest buds of hope, of possibility, and of Light.

Whatever lies ahead for me, I have lived the best of my life.

My greatest fear was that my children would not have the chance to know

what the best might be.

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And I know that the best that lies before my children will be much different than mine –

For mine was not real, it was made of glittering dust and ashes of the material world –

like a star we see far off in the distance of the night sky – so beautiful, yet

As soon as we see it, it is dead –

As soon as we obtain that far off material goal – it too is dead,

Ashes to ashes – dust to dust -we search for the next one.

Today the world has changed

The world of my children will not glitter,

It will radiate.

They will remember what being drunk with the world destroyed,

And so they will seek joy – and not intoxication.

History will record that this date ushered in a New Age

This is a great man,

but a great man cannot climb great heights alone

A great man can only accomplish great things by standing on

the shoulders of ordinary men and women,

Today the world changed

It changed because of white, black yellow and red, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Sufi, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindi, Mormon, Atheist,, Agnostic, and all other faiths –

men and women, gay and straight,

and the littlest of children,

the tiniest of Angels,

all raised him up, with their voices, and their prayers

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pledged their toil, their struggles, their nickels, their dimes, their hopes and their dreams.

Because although this man is great

equally great are the people, the nation and  the world that would not let him down.

Today the world changed

Because one man claimed his place in history,

and showed us that we must claim our voices,

We must shout from the rooftops until we are heard,

And never, never be silent again.

He reminded us, and the world that this is our country –

and in the greatest sense – it is the country of the world –

there is no nation that does not have its own seeds planted in this garden.

And Today the World Is Proud to Be An American

And I am proud to have my country back

Today the world changed

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I have my Statue of Liberty back,

This Lady was given to us as a reminder of who we are,

and why we are,

As clearly etched eternally on her foundation:

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I have taken my faith back,

Knowing in my heart and soul that this moment has sealed it

forever.

Whatever happens, for better or for worse cannot erase,

cannot tarnish,

cannot touch in any way the undeniable fact,

That Today Happened

And it happened to every man woman and child in the world,

And with that faith – I have a reason to go on.

Today the world changed

The Last Great door opened wide today

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The Last “Whites Only” sign

Has come down,

And with it, the last excuse for not trying,

or forever yielding the fight Before it’s begun

The White Man has not surrendered –

better than this,

He has realized that we are all in it together

And to stand, we must stand together

Today the world changed

All because one man, foolhardy enough to think that he could,

Promised millions of people around the world, that,Yes We Can,”

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And yes, together we did,

Today The World Changed

This is for every little child of every race, religion, and national origin,

you can dream even bigger,  reach for that far off star

even farther,

And for every man or woman who sees -Nothing

Whose lost -Everything,

You!  Find that dream, dust it off,

And dream it like you’ve never dreamed before,

Search for that star

You long ago lost track of,

And MOVE!

RUN!

REACH !

Everything is possible so long as we

Can hold our dreams

and keep our eyes on our stars,

T oday the world changed

Today, with brown hand placed on the Bible, this man said, “I accept”

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And we heard his heart say to us,

I accept your trust, I accept your faith,

I accept your dreams and your hopes.

I accept your need to believe

and I will honor them,

and I will honor you

with every breath in every day.

Today the world changed

On this cold, clouded winter afternoon

We were warmed, united in sacred ceremony

That at last

Meant something

in a place within each of us that we no longer dared go,

Under a common shining light

As One Nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice For All

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It matters not what tomorrow brings –

whatever it brings will pass

Only this moment will shine forever

Through whatever darkness lies ahead

It will shine

It will shine until the last hungry child is fed,

It will shine until the last sick child is healed,

And it will shine until the last guns have been beaten into plowshares,

And until the missiles have been beaten into pruning hooks:

and nation no longer lifts up a sword against nation,

And  neither shall we learn war any more.

Today, The world changed

And nothing again as long as we live will ever be deemed, impossible.