Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Step for Government, One Giant Leap for Confidence Therein

Dear America,

I write to you from the other side of history. The right....no....CORRECT side. The side that we as a nation have been patiently waiting and sometimes violently protesting to be on. I say that only because the civil uproar of the Civil rights movement can be paired with every moment that we have tolerated blatant racism and discrimination and said NOTHING. Anyhow, OUR GUY is in!! I was fortunate enough to be in the Nation's Capital during that amazing time, and to attempt to regurgitate the experience would do it's many special moments no justice. History has been made, but the moment instantly becomes just that, history, and the REAL WORK begins. But I've heard that said almost a million times, and now, I'm quite sick of that phrase. It was like the phrase"reaching across the aisle" in the general election.

Don't know why I hate that phrase. Probably because it undermines a much greater story of how America came to be. We've just added more laborers to harvest the land, the sometimes barren political landscape. My confidence in this administration lies not just in Barack Obama (though I think he's wonderful, I'll admit) but in the little people. And sure, you've heard it before, but it irks me to think that the mainstream media and those who sit too high on Capitol Hill to be in touch with the rest of us, think that the Barack Obama campaign was the 1st time that Americans rolled up their sleeves and did anything. Pah!! Of significance?? Maybe. Like 4 months working tirelessly on 1 campaign was all that we needed to elect a black dude named Barack Obama. Hardly. It reminds me of a really great t-shirt that I saw while volunteering in MD for National Day of Service. It read:

"Rosa Sat, so Martin could walk"
"Martin Walked so that Obama could run"
"Obama ran so that our Children could fly."

Suppose any one of these people, throughout history had failed to be obedient to the call of justice. We wouldn't be where we are today, certainly.

Ok, sure, we currently lack severely in the social capital department and the righteous indignance needed to turn the world upside down, but the only reason that we a took a GIANT LEAP January 20th was because we've taken countless, un-sung baby steps. We exist, as a society, on the fault lines of compromise no matter how liberal or conservative or liberal you think our country is. Hmmm. I hate those words anyway. I'd like to go back to the old days when the fight was between righteous and unjust; Because let's face it, the future of true progress in our country will not rest on rhetoric, it will be based on the unrighteousness that we can undo.

So I spent my lunch break today reading excerpts of MLK's Letters From Birmingham Jail, and the words that he wrote, stare deep into the soul of our present situation, almost bearing a hole through it. Amazing passages that I highly recommend. The question he answers makes everything in this post-election, post-inauguration season so very clear. The movement of the many, in a positive direction, long-term, depends not entirely on the powerful or the powerless, but on the recognition that they are intrinsically linked and have a shared interest in up holding this thing called democracy. Lots of other great epiphanies too.

But where do we go now? Certainly not backward. God no. But we must certainly, as King says in his letters, uproot the complacency that injustice and silence afford us We certainly have the willpower to do it now. But are we looking to go radical? Martin all but condems incrumental change, but what do we, my generation, know about change? Except that we want it...Are we treking back to the motherland liberals or breaking down the doors at Exxon-Mobil folks? I think that right now, we are on a new journey to figure it out. We must choose, as King says, between justice and order and how we will use time. Will we bend it it in the direction of progress? Or allow time to be an agent of social stagnation? It will employ the greatest minds of past, present and future generations, so hurry and get your seat at the table, it's sure to be a long night. Sorry. It's nothing that a press briefing by Robert Gibbs can fix.:-)

So, in reflection on the dawning of this Obama-Biden administration, I don't have all of the answers. Clearly. But I've got something that I've been craving my entire life, HOPE. Maybe I should call it faith. You know, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. Not in the men that represent us, but in the people that they serve. Frankly, that's more than I had before.

Good night America! You're looking better everyday....:-)

1 comment:

Sarah Langley said...


I've always wanted to have faith in something and believe recklessly in anything but have been too scared and a heathen etc. I've read Letter from a Birmingham Jail several times and questioned whether or not I'd have had the guts to be a part of that change.

Now, though, I'm not scared. I don't mean to be all "I believe in Barack Obama!!" but, hell, I believe in Barack Obama. And more than that, I believe in us. Not just organizers (you know I sure as hell believe in us), but people. Volunteers. I believe in Sonya, spraying chloraseptic between calls. I beleive in Rene, completing a walk pack himself with two knee replacements. And darling Norma Creamer, who always had a cup of coffee waiting for me with a stack of completed calls.

We're studying campaigns in my high school government class. Today, we watched commercials. That "Yes We Can" one still gives me chills. Faith feels good.

This ended up more of a post than a comment. Ooops.