The word occupy has come to have a whole new meaning. The protester was Time Magazine’s person of the year. The problem is that the Arab protesters get all the coverage and the protesters in this country are mentioned more by the politicians who want to minimize them, than the major news broadcasts.
Oakland was covered only because it was out of control. Now, we are entering the election year and it will be very difficult to be seen or heard between now and the elections. But there are major changes that must be made. When I see tables set up at malls to collect donations for the veterans and their families I am appalled. I cant remember the last time that I saw a homeless congressman in a wheelchair begging for money to eat. Yet homeless, disabled veterans are all over the streets begging for food money. We entrust them to protect our lives and the lives of our families and they deliver, often at an enormous personal cost. While they entrust us with their lives and the lives of their families and we do not deliver.
We elect overpaid Congressmen and women who put the security of the men and women of the armed forces and their families on the chopping block as government waste to be cut. When was the last time Congress voted to put their salaries and benefits on the chopping block to be cut? The statement constantly repeated by Congress and those in the 1%, is that the Occupy Movement has no defined goals. They are wrong, the goals are defined succinctly in the use of 99% vs 1%, if anyone is confused, it means that the problem is that these numbers depict accurately an oligarchy, not a democracy. The hardships inflicted on the majority of the people under such a system are numerous and often depicted on signs held by those in the movement. However all of the problems fall under the one umbrella symbolized by the words. “We are the 99%”. We could possibly be more clear by calling it the 99% syndrome, defined as. “A group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.”
I listen to each of the Republican candidates speak and never do I hear any reference to the income disparity in this country. I never hear any reference to the real causes of our problems, the Wall Street Bankers and Corporate Moguls. I hear about how there should be less regulation of business, and instead of additional taxes on the wealthiest Americans, more cuts in services that effect the poor, the middle class and the elderly. Far too few in Congress have the desire to help us. Taxes should be raised on those who make over $250,000, but if that number is a problem, then make it over $500,000. Keep the taxes just as they are for those who make from 100,000 to 500,000, raise taxes for those who make more and lower taxes for those who make less.
It says in the Bible, “For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” — Luke 12:48. It is only “Christian” to require more from those who have benefitted more from this nation. It does not matter how much a person has worked, whatever monies they have made are theirs because of the fact that this country made that earning possible. We are not equally paid for our work. The privilege of being a millionaire is a just that, a privilege. There are countries where our millionaires and billionaires could not have amassed the monies that they have. That makes it a privilege. In return for that privilege of having so much more, more is required.
The Constitution says that all men are created equal. It says that they have an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now there is nothing in the Constitution that says that each one of us must have the same amount of material success, the Founding Fathers did not feel that the government should force the wealthy to share their wealth with the poor, or the hardworking should share their earnings with the lazy. What they meant was that each person, at least in this country, should have equal access to the means necessary to achieve the fulfillment of those unalienable rights. They knew that the FIRST thing that should be guaranteed by the government was the free education necessary to obtain a job that would allow one to support his or her life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. At one time that education was merely elementary, then it became high school, and now it is College. This is the only industrialized nation where healthcare and education are not a birthright. Yet without access to at least affordable healthcare and education, our unalienable rights are not protected.
If the 99% is going to have a chance any time soon, we will have to make a difference in this election. Each party looks to its base, depends on its base. That consists of registered party members. There is no point trying to chase down candidates in order to be heard. The best way, the only way to be heard now is whether or not you are or were a democrat or a republican, you should become a registered independent. If each party sees that it does not have enough registered. they will have to move out of their blaming the other party rhetoric and find a way to reach the independents. Perhaps if we become as strong as the Tea Party, we can actually emerge with some candidates who are really of the people and for the people. But the most important thing that we can do, is to withdraw from both parties and build a strong third party, one that is centered on righting the inequities that were never meant to exist in the country.
The problem that exists is not who wins, or who has the most; the problem is that the playing field is not level. This country was not built to keep everyone on the same level, having the same things. This country was built to guarantee that everyone had the same chance to go as far as they could, or not. Our Founding Fathers wanted everyone to have equal access to the tools necessary to pursue the American Dream. From there we are all on our own. We need to speak to Washington in a language that they understand and cannot ignore. We need to speak to them in our voting power. And we need to do it now. Let us occupy this election and seal the changes that 2012 promises.
There was a time when this was a nation – not of states, but of tribes. The nation had a rich history that was known well by its proud Natives. I don’t even know what the nation was called because immigrants, some armed with guns, some armed with liquor, some armed with guns, destroyed the nation. They weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes.
The invading immigrants built a new nation, not out of tribes but out of states. Generations found the old nation vanishing along with its inhabitants. The remaining descendents of that nation and its tribes were relegated to small pockets across the land called reservations.
The new Nation, called the United States of America, then built itself into a powerful nation, inhabited by its own generations of proud natives. Until one day, immigrants, armed some with drugs and some with investment capital came along and weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes. Generations are finding this nation vanishing along with its once proud inhabitants. The new Nation, called the United Investment Holdings of the World, will build itself into a powerful fund for wealthy corporations around the globe. Its inhabitants, loyalists only to their home nations will also remain proud – but will never be natives.
If you think that it couldn’t happen to us – so did the original Native Americans. Perhaps it is the revenge of the Great Spirit, or the result of greed – or maybe just a cycle returning to its beginning point. Whatever it is, this country is losing itself. My father came to this country in 1918, like thousands of other immigrants, to leave behind old roots, old nationalities and become a part of the American Dream. He and countless others came here to plant the seeds of their dreams in new soil and to build a life as an American from the land that was America. They came here to melt into the melting pot – leave their old identities behind – to speak American, to dream American and to become American. They came, not only to pledge allegiance to the flag, but to pledge allegiance to fulfilling the promise of Democracy and of the Constitution of the United States. They came to be a part of that becoming.
Americans lost sight of their nation and its meaning, they lost sight of history. They saw only the gold. To Americans, the land did not represent its original principals, its original spirit, it represented booms, and rushes. There were gold rushes, silver rushes, oil rushes, and real estate booms. Immigrants began to come from other countries, not to become Americans, but only to off of America while remaining true to their homelands. Some, found that they could remain in their own countries and export their drugs to America – living better than most Americans, off of the weakness of Americans. They began killing Americans with their drugs, while buying American and Americans with their money – all the while never even crossing the border. Their effect on this nation is no different than the effect of the immigrants who came with small pox to give to the Native Americans. Others, have come armed with capital to invest, robbing the people of their incomes, their ability to feed themselves – while keeping all of the profits safe within their own native lands.
Perhaps this is what happens when you build a dream instead of a nation. When you build on what it has to sell rather than the people who make it a nation. I once thought that what was great about this country was that it was the only country founded on dreams and ideals. I realize that what made this country beautiful – the dreams – the ideals – were never planted into the soil of the nation which is its people. The funny thing is, that we miss this country, we know that it is slipping through our fingers, but we still don’t get why. We still don’t see, that like the American Indians, back when they were Indians and not Native Americans, our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the land that our nation inhabits. Our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the businesses that it builds and the people – the Americans – that they feed.
Again, it could just be karma. The nation was built on stolen land, perhaps that destines it to having the land stolen from it. Karma is only balance. The nation has a karma – not in deed – but in intention. Balancing karma does not require the impossible; it does not require undoing what cannot be undone. We can balance karma by realizing the error of what we have done and making a commitment never to do it again. Instead, what we did was commit to becoming a nation united in strength and action rather than tribes, divided and weak. And, as a nation united, we will not do what we did to obtain our land. However, rather than dividing into tribes, we have divided into mega-corporations, competing with each other for profits, just as the tribes competed with each other for land. The corporations have enough autonomous power to have aided in the weakening of the nation – no longer united as one people, but divided by the competing interests of different corporations. A corporation has not heart, no home, no loyalty other than to itself. Its home is where its profits are. Capitalism has reached the point where corporations not only control the goods and services of the nation, but they control the flow of information. Whosoever controls the flow of information controls the nation.
“Freedom of the press, or, to be more precise, the benefit of freedom of the press, belongs to everyone – to the citizen as well as the publisher… The crux is not the publisher’s ‘freedom to print’; it is, rather, the citizen’s ‘right to know.’ ” Arthur Sulzburger
1990 American newspaper publisher
The mainstream Media providing the most widely available information is privately owned. It is free under the first amendment to provide whatever information it chooses, even if that information is ultimately in its own best interest. It can choose, and often does, to serve the government which it was designed to censure. There is no branch of government that is not in some way indebted to one if not many major corporations. Capitalism has circumvented the Democracy that our forefathers attempted so desperately to ensure the people. We spend so much money and energy in an attempt to protect our shores from a foreign military invasion, that we have completely lost sight of the fact that there would be no need for any nation to spend money and lives attacking us when all they have to do is buy us, business by business, loan by loan, building by building. It may be a hostile takeover – but we invented them. However we look at it, we are being killed by our own poison.
Unlike the Native Americans of the past, we understand the value of union. We are in a position to take back our nation as a people and to put the rights and the freedom of the people before those of any entity be it the government, a corporation or a religious group. No organization should not have the rights of individuals, it should not under any circumstances have rights greater than those of an individual and it should never be allowed the freedom to act in any way that is contrary to the rights of each individual as defined in the constitution. The only organization granted rights in the bill of rights is the press. Not the press as a corporation but, the press as the bringers of information to the people. We can still save our country from being no more than a piece of valuable real estate, but to do this, we must remember what it meant to be an American before it was equated with being a capitalist. Capitalism is the monster that flourished from the seeds of Democracy, just as Communism was the monster that flourished from the seeds of socialism. When what is good for the whole, becomes less important than what is good for the few, the whole is destined to deteriorate regardless of the label given to the system that caused it.
We are in a bad state. And, as the one stock that most of the world’s investments are tied into, we will not go down alone. But we can change, even if the change is a slow one. Electing Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee tells the world that we are seeking change. Electing Obama President, will place us on the path of change. But only by becoming the United People of America, only by pulling in and giving back to this country and all of its people, all of its diversity, only by reinvesting our hearts into the spirit of the Constitution, can we hope to become the change that we seek. We may have financial problems, but as Americans we are rich in spirit. We have to stop this fire sale mentality that keeps the Carpetbaggers coming in. We must value ‘made in America’ above all else. Any entity that does not give more to the people of this country than it takes for itself is the meaning of un-American. This country needs every to build itself up from within, the educational system, employment, and healthcare must be repaired. It is time for those who have gained so much from this country to give as much back. We need a government that demands it, we need a government that puts the individual above all else. The whole that sees its parts as expendable will eventually expend itself. This country is being divided up and sold off. But we can stop the sale, we can reclaim what is ours, but only through union. So long as the parts are abandoning the whole, the whole has no chance. We need to come together as a nation and worry about our own soil, stop worrying about some terrorist group attacking us, we are selling ourselves off at way below cost.
“Intolerance breeds injustice. Injustice invariably leads to rebellion and retaliation, and these will lead to escalation on the part of both making reconciliation almost impossible. It would appear that during times of stress, despair and frustration, people become increasingly irrational, and they do things which they never think they are capable of. And so we see hideous brutality perpetrated by the most gentle people.“
“Once started religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility.” Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing the World Evangelical Fellowship on 2001-MAY-4. 4(excerpts)
We live in a country that was founded on the desire for religious freedom. We have carried through, for this reason, the separation of church and state. The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock came here from the same type of environment that exists in Africa and the Middle East today.
“The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” The phrase “separation of church and state”, which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. It has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court.”…
“Early immigrants to the American colonies were there motivated largely by the desire to worship freely in their own fashion, particularly after the English Civil War, but also religious wars and disputes in France and Germany. They included a large number of nonconformists such as the Puritans and the Pilgrims, as well as Catholics (in Baltimore). Despite a common background, the groups’ views on broader religious toleration were mixed. While some notable examples such as Roger Williams of Rhode Island and William Penn ensured the protection of religious minorities within their colonies, others such as the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony had established churches. The Dutch colony of New Netherland had also established the Dutch Reformed Church and outlawed all other worship, although enforcement by the Dutch West India Company in the last years of the colony was sparse. Part of the reason for establishment was financial: the established Church was responsible for poor relief, and dissenting churches would therefore have a significant advantage.” – Wikipedia
Without an understanding of history and what this means, we cannot understand what is happening in Iraq. In actuality, we went to Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein, operation Iraqi freedom was supposed to free the Iraqis from the oppressive rulership of Saddam. We won that war in 2003. The problem is that we did not, and do not understand the region and what happens to a region when Church equals State. Winning the war was easy what we are unable to win is the peace. Why is it that we cannot with the peace for the Iraqi people?
Imagine that instead of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, as political parties, we had Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Imagine too, that the Christians, are further divided between Roman Catholics and the various groups of Protestants. In this scenario our government is run by the Roman Catholic group of Christians. They declare Catholicism as the ruling religion of the country, banning the practice of any other religions. Now, Texas is predominately Baptist. Texas is an important region because of its oil fields. New York City, which is largely Jewish, is also important because of its financial institutions. The country is under oppressive Catholic rule, many who rebel against being forced to worship in Catholic Churches are being massacred. Now a third party, let’s imagine it is China with an economic stake in the stability of our country, and with no religious leanings, enters our country to free us from the oppressive Catholic rule and manages to defeat the strong-hold of the Catholic government. With the mighty Catholic military disbanded, the other Christian groups, begin to fight for power amongst themselves. At the same time, the Jews and Muslims begin to gather strength in their own states to gain religious control over our country for the sake of their own religions and our country becomes divided into religious territories.
In the midst of all this turmoil created by the dismantling of the strong Catholic Military, China decides to back a Muslim government. Backed by the Chinese military, the Muslim government begins to enter each state and take control. Jews, Baptist, and even Catholics rise up to prevent this from happening – China calls these religious groups, “insurgents” that must be put down. The only way is to cleanse the regions of each group, city by city. Feeling that if our country is taken over by the Chinese backed Muslims it will be the greatest offense against God, Jews, Christians, and Catholics come from all over the world to join in the fight against the Muslim government, seen by many as a puppet regime of the Chinese trying to control the worship of God in the US. The biggest battles are being waged in Texas, where the Baptist, many of them devout Christian Fundamentalists, refuse to allow the rich resources of their state to go to the benefit of the Chinese backed Muslim government. However, violent fighting among all of the religions ensues nationwide as each religion attempts to build a stronghold in a particular state. Money, guns, and ammunition are being smuggled into the country by Protestants, Jews and even Catholics from around the world to support the fight of their particular religion. All of the religious groups are united in their animosity towards China because each group sees that the only peace that China can bring to our country, will cost each religion their faith in God. This scenario is imaginary – only because of the First Amendment to The Constitution.
We have had four hundred years of desire and practice in the separation of church and state. We have had four hundred years of living side by side with so many religions that we forget the world before. We think of ourselves as a nation and its people, not of a religious faith and the affront to God of any other faith existing in the same territory.
The “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia was the Orthodox Christian Serbians “cleansing” the country of Muslims. The conflicts in Israel are not Arab vs. Israeli, they stem from the fact that Israel was established as and needs to remain a Jewish State. If the Palestinians, mostly Muslim and Christian were granted the same rights under the law as Jews, which would of course include full voting rights, Israel would soon cease to be a Jewish State, in effect, it would cease to be Israel. In India, the religious and political battle over rulership of the country was between the Hindus and the Muslims, it was only resolved by the formation of the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.
Religion has no borders. Shiite Muslims will fight from all over the world with and for the Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Sunni’s will fight from all over the world with and for the Sunni Muslims in Iraq. The people of the United States are here because they have chosen to live or remain after birth in a country where one is first an American Citizen and then a Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Jew. Because of the separation of church and state that we enjoy, loyalty to the country does not require loyalty to a particular form of worship. This is our Democracy. It is the Democracy, envisioned by our Constitution, which can only survive in a nation where there is an explicit separation of Church and State. Today there are 56 religious based “conflicts” including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand, Uganda, Chechnya, the Philippines, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Sudan, the Middle East and Kosovo. The Problem with our intervention in any religious conflict, the problem with any outside intervention in any religious conflict is that whatever group we back, we are backing a religion. In removing one religion from power and replacing it with the only alternative, another religion, we simply buy a temporary cease fire. Soon enough the worshipers of the defeated faith, feeling repressed, afraid, and more determined than ever to fight in the name of God, will gather support from the unlimited well of followers devoted to their faith, and God and rise up, and continue the battle. It is not a battle that is won or lost on earth but in Heaven. It is not a battle for a place on earth but for a place in Heaven. If they lose their place on land by fighting and sacrificing their lives in the name of God, they guarantee their place in Heaven.
We have won the war in Iraq that we set out to win. We cannot win the peace, because we are fighting a battle over borders, and they are fighting a battle over love, honor and devotion to God. Where Church, Temple, Mosque, or Ashram, equals State, we can only make things worse.
If there is any lesson that we should learn from this, it is that what prevents us from becoming them, what prevents the United States from becoming Iraq, Serbia, or any of the other nations embroiled in religious wars, is the First Amendment. Those who would like to see it abolished, or even relaxed should pay close attention to what is happening in Africa, Asia and the middle east because the First Amendment is all that separates us from them.
The changes over the past eight years have made me consider for the first time, the meaning of being an American. In the past, whenever I thought in terms of being an American , I thought about being born in the country governed by the Constitution, a document I still find to be awe inspiring. But over the past eight years, being an American has come to mean something else. It means being a part of a nation symbolized by George W. Bush. In a very real way, his decisions have been a reflection of me, as an American, his beliefs have been a reflection of mine, as an American. Because we, as Americans have placed him in the highest office, chosen him to be our face our thoughts, our decisions, and our voice, to ourselves, and to the world. So, being an American over the past eight years has meant being Quick Draw McGraw, with little need or respect for education, history, those considered experts, or being held accountable for the result of my actions.
When we elect a President we are electing the symbol of who we are as a nation and as a people. And even if we are not thinking about it at the time, somehow it just seems to happen that way. Being a citizen of a nation has a different quality based upon that nations leadership at the time. Being a citizen of the United States had a different quality during the time of slavery. Being a citizen of Germany had a different quality during the time of Hitler. Being a citizen of a nation is not about real estate, it is about the beliefs, values, and integrity of the leadership – especially in the case of elected leadership. “You will know him by his works” – well, our works, in this case, are that ballots that we cast. We can try to distance ourselves, we can point the finger, but to paraphrase a statement made by someone in the Bush white house when asked about why they do not consider the overwhelming desire of the people to get out of Iraq, the response was, “The people have one opportunity to make a decision, that is on election day every four years”. That being the case, I think that it is time we seriously change the way that we decide.
Now, when George W was running for President, other than what turned out to be a Washington outbreak of sexual promiscuity, led by President Clinton and followed closely behind by most of the officials seeking his impeachment. Other than that we were not really facing any major crises. The only imagined threat at the time to the stability of our nation as a result of the attention paid to President Clinton’s infidelity, came from the Gay community seeking the same rights as all other human beings. “Morality” being the only major issue facing our candidates – paved the way for the self-named moral majority to take over and elect the one person who was White, Male and embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, even though he stumbled on two syllable words, failed in almost every business venture that he was involved in, did cocaine, had a major alcohol problem, fudged his service record and carried a six shooter. In the country’s desperation to find a president as far from Bill Clinton as possible, we went from a Rhodes Scholar to George W.
George W ran a dirty mudslinging campaign; and his right to the office of President will forever be tainted by doubt. There were not enough of us really looking at the man we were electing to symbolize and guide our country.
The President leads the country. We do as he does. During President Reagan’s administration, the country was one big Hollywood movie set, everything including shoulders were big. During President Clinton’s administration there was a great number of people in the government, in the clergy and in the populace who were secretly using their dipsticks indiscriminately. Sex became bigger than the shoulder pads on Dallas. Now, during the Bush administration we took out our six shooters and waged war, greed went over the top, and education was given the same respect as he gave it, which meant that if the country did not have a huge gambling addiction and played lotto, most if not all of the nation’s public schools would be forced to shut down. The war that we want out of, was supported by the majority of the people in the country – and we cared as little about getting more information before jumping in as the President did. President Bush has charged up a national debt of $9,571,086,623,544.22 – and he is looking to increase the nation’s credit limit by 3.1 trillion dollars. So, since the country seems to follow its leader, and its leader spends, spends, spends and tells the people to spend, spend, and spend some more in order to boost the economy, we did, to the tune of approximately 2.5 trillion dollars in household debt.
Here we are again, approaching that one day every four years when we have the opportunity to participate in the future direction of our country and our lives. We are faced with a war that Senator McCain said could last 100 years; a war, by the way, that we can’t afford to pay for. So now we must choose the candidate who has the integrity, beliefs, values and concerns that we want to represent us for the next four to eight years. The first and easiest way to judge a candidate is how he runs his race. Remember the saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you play the game.” Is the campaign honest and above board, or does it throw honesty and integrity to the wind? Does the candidate play fair or hit below the belt? Will he win because he is the best man for the job, or because he used performance enhancing tactics instead of his own fitness to come in first?
When a candidate spends all of his time talking about what the other candidate did or didn’t do, will or will not do, that candidate is clearly not very strong on what he himself has done or will do. We need to vote for the candidate with the best agenda and the realistic means of fulfilling it. We need to choose a candidate because we are intelligently informed as to what the candidate plans to do about the many crises facing our nation and the world. Our candidates need to convince us, not why we should not elect his opponent, but why we should elect him. They need to convince us that they have a well thought out plan, that their plan will work, and most importantly HOW their plan will work.
We need economic plans from the candidates that can be critiqued by experts as to their viability, and the cost to us in programs, or taxes, because we will pay somewhere. I believe that we should know in advance before we vote, where the bill will have to be paid.
For our healthcare crisis, what are their plans and how will they work? And for Iraq, if one candidate has a plan to pull out, how and what will we leave behind? If the other candidate plans to stay until we win, what does winning the war in Iraq look like? And how does winning the war in Iraq influence Islamic Jihad throughout the entire region? How does an increase in troops create a meaningful lasting peace between warring religious factions? And what about eliminating our dependency on oil, foreign or otherwise and replacing it with more eco friendly fuel sources? What about the issue of global warming and the effect it is having on our economy and our food supplies. We need the plan, we need the timetable, and we need to know that we have the time left to implement whatever it is.
Anyone old enough to vote, is old enough to understand the answers to these questions. We need the answers to these questions. We need to choose – not based upon who can sling the most mud the fastest – we need to vote for the candidate who, in our minds best represents us, and has the best agenda for the well being of the people of this country. It is not an issue of experience, because – no one in history has faced so much before. No one has the experience to handle all of the crises on our plate, but someone must have the wisdom and foresightedness to do so.
We don’t need one candidate to tell on the other like little children, he did this no he did that – we need men, who don’t need to point fingers to win, who can stand on their own two feet, with confidence in their own agenda’s and their own records and with these things, along with honor and integrity – face the nation as candidates worthy of being President of The United States. And we, need to vote with our brains, for the man who best represents our needs – because we only get one chance to do the most important thing in our lives and the lives of our children once every four years. This time, knowing how much can change in the blink of an eye, we need to demand to be informed. We need to demand an honest election. We need candidates who trust that we will make the right choice given the right information, just as they expect us to trust them with our nation and our lives.
It is difficult to know how to process the idea that a presidential candidate can fill a stadium to the same capacity as a rock star. But think about it, how does a rocker become a rock star? It’s all about the music. Before we see their faces, we hear their music – and if the music hits us in just that certain way, if it makes us feel something that other music does not make us feel – we become captivated. When we see the singer or group, we want to feel that we can believe that the music and the instrument are one. If they are, it brings us a sense of peace, if they are not, regardless of the music or the instrument that it comes from we feel a discord. We want our apples from an apple tree. We may love oak trees, but we will never trust an apple if it comes from one.
Barack Obama looks like a character out of a Norman Rockwell painting who overdosed on bronzers. He looks like Huckleberry Fin out in the sun too long. He just looks like an average American. From his first speech at the Democratic National Convention, his story sounds like a story out of the “American Dream Book”:
“My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin- roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that’s shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him. While studying here my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton’s army, marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity. And they too had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.”
Black people say that he wouldn’t face the problems that he faces if he were White. White people say that he wouldn’t get the attention that he gets if he were White. There are Black people who don’t trust him because he is not Black enough. There are White people who don’t trust him because he is too Black. Still he packs them in from both races.
I worked in the Title Insurance industry it had functioned the same way for decades. Because it was different than other industries and very set in its ways of functioning, it almost always hired from within. When I first tried to get a job there at a company in that business I was told that it was just too costly to train someone from the outside. Years later I entered the industry as a temp and ended up making it a career. When my Boss was asked to open his own office, he put me in charge of staffing.
The majority of the staff that I hired were, like I was, from outside the industry. This was because I felt that the way the industry functioned was outdated and financially wasteful. I was not going to hire a staff from within the industry because it would be too costly to untrain them. Experience is just another word for habit. If someone is experienced in doing things in a system that is failing, it merely means that they are experienced at working within a failing system. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. No system can be changed by the same level of consciousness that created it either. If we want a change – we must look outside of the box. And you can’t get more outside of the box than Barak Obama And yet, at the same time he exemplifies the best of the box, he represents the purest form of the American Dream. He is not anti-war, not a peacenik. In that same speech in 2004, he said:
“I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won’t be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world. Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated.”
Yes, he is outside of the box, but think about it, isn’t the outside of the box supposed to let you know what is inside? How does he represent what is inside the box of the United States of America?
He says this:
“…If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.
If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.
If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work.
It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.
There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
…“I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.
Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.
I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.”
Those who fear the fact that this country is a melting pot fear Barack Obama – he is the product of our melting pot. But he is not a superstar. He is the appropriate voice for the message that our forefathers created 222 years ago when they met to define our country. He is not a superstar, we gather around the world to hear him speak, partly because his is a message that we, the people of the world, need desperately to believe in again. Yet, it is even more than that – more than anything it is because that little voice inside of each of us tells us that he believes his message. He believes that we can be more than the capital of Capitalism. He believes that we can be, once again, “One Nation, under God – Indivisible… with Liberty and Justice for All.” And most of all, he believes in us.