28 August 2008

The US of A...or 'murica



Today I am wearing my red white and blue-flag waving-bleeding heart patriot hat and singin' "American Pie."

It has been a very full month for the citizens of this great nation and it started a few weeks ago, when some of the brightest, best and most talented gathered in Beijing for the Olympics. It is always a remarkable spectacle, regardless of where it is staged and this year was no exception. I am always moved by the courage and determination of the young athletes from every corner of the world who come together to participate in this global event. They are so young and enthusiastic and filled with hope. Their camaraderie and sportsmanship bring hope to all of us.

On the heels of that great event, we began another great contest which is our exercise in democracy. While there are other democratic countries in this world, few share the limelight the way we do. (And not without good reason).

This year's contest is unlike many others, because I believe, we are at a pivotal point in our history. Regardless of party affiliation, I think most people in this country-according to "polling" believe our country is in serious trouble. We are engaged in unwinnable wars, we are facing an energy crisis as well as an environmental crisis, our economy is flailing, middle-class Americans are in deep financial trouble and the country is pulled apart by a partisan bickering. It is almost impossible to find truth in our media and it seems everyone is in too much of a hurry to do any kind of meaningful research so we are dependent on talking points and sound bites. It doesn't seem to me that this is the best way to select a new leader for this country.

Yesterday, I happened to switch on the convention in the middle of the roll call. It just so happened that they were featuring the "great state of New Mexico." Much to my surprise, the speaker was yielding to the "great state of New York". I had heard rumors about an abbreviated roll call but I was surprised to find myself watching it. And all the more so when the New York delegation handed the microphone to Senator Hillary Clinton, who moved that the roll call be suspended, and that Barak Obama be selected as the nominee for president "by acclamation."

The convention center went wild with applause, shouts and an extraordinary display of emotion. For many of the attendees-it was heartfelt and a very powerful. That this convention fell on the 88th anniversary of the amendment allowing women the vote in the 44th anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech, was not an accident.

One young black woman, weeping unabashedly, described her life growing up in New York while her grandfather still lived in the South, where he remembered the "whites only" bathrooms and lunch counters. She wept, because her grandfather was now a victim of Alzheimer's and would never know that his dreams and those of Martin Luther King were being realized today as a black man was nominated to be President of the United States of America.

In that moment, I was struck by how far this country has come in my lifetime. In addition to the nomination I just heard, I had witnessed a primary campaign that produced an intense rivalry for the highest office in the land between the first woman and the first African-American man.


This was another piece of history that I was living. It took me back to another historical event. I remembered being in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention and I saw firsthand the results of those riots. I saw what American citizens could do when they were angry.Then, it was Kent State and the Viet Nam war.

Now that anger is expressed in the form of blogs, Internet attacks, deceiving and dishonest advertising and sound bites. Even the debates and interviews are framed and edited. I do not believe this poorly diguised hatred is the way the American people wish to be viewed by their fellow citizens or by the citizens of the world.

We are extraordinarily lucky to live in this great country and to have a very thoughtfully designed form of government and Constitutional principles by which to live. I believe we need to bring back the dignity, the honor, the justice and generosity of the American people. I also believe we need to get back on track and stop policing the world for our own self interests. Let's get our own house in order before we think we have the right to tell others how to run theirs. Let's re-create the sense of community that I believe we once shared when we work for the common good and the welfare of all. It's time to once again be grateful and gracious.

8 comments:

moi said...

Nicely put. Now, if only the actual poleeticians would read your blog.

Wicked Thistle said...

Beautifully, beautifully-written blog, my dear. One of your best. Where do I cast my vote for you??

The Troll said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Excellent!

Today I spent the afternoon canvassing a neighborhood in my town for Barak Obama. Because I care. Because I believe each person can make a difference with their vote. Because I am a mother.

Doris Rose said...

Thanks Anon, that is music to my ears!

Jane said...

Doris, I loved this post! Beautifully expressed, and so fitting what many of us are feeling now. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am a native New Mexican transplanted to Colorado.

If I could stand and salute you, I would. So I will sit and salute you!

You beautifully and succinctly said what many of us feel.

blessings

Doris Rose said...

Thanks Anon II. I was little nervous about voicing my feelings but nw feel validated by such support.

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