It's Thanksgiving, Mr. President Obama, and I appreciate your message this week. It's a good one. Indeed, I look forward to your weekly address: it's like a sermon. Indeed, it’s hearty and filling. Yet this week provides a deeper thriving possibility for our country. I'm thankful for your words.
Many people, from the left and right have slammed you these past few months. I bet it's like getting body slammed by Hulk Hogan – but without the spandex and rowdy crowds (OK, with the rowdy crowds – I forgot the Tea Party). I doubt it feels good. You're probably popping Advil like it's your job. For that, I can't blame you. And yet, I'm sure people get some kind of sick joy out of slamming you and your policies. Then again, that's the game we call 'politics'.
I always thought that politics was about 'getting things done' – whatever those 'things' were. I thought that it was about caring for our common humanity. I thought it was about providing opportunity for all Americans, to provide for them the opportunity to succeed.
I thought politics was in the business of helping people have something to be thankful about around the turkey.
I guess, well, I thought politics was about providing the opportunity to have a turkey.
Maybe I was wrong. All I've heard lately is nay saying and negativity. All I've heard are close-minded politicians peddling weak thoughts and easy solutions. It's easy, I guess, for politicians to retreat into ignorance and the Congressional equivalent of an elementary school food fight (nothing like government grade processed cheese on your face).
Our political atmosphere won’t correct itself if we continue to bicker and fight, continue isolation. Indeed, our economic atmosphere is no different from our politics. This economic time of difficulty requires diverse investment – there’s no sliver bullet, no magic trick that will provide the solutions. Climbing out of this deep, dirty, dark hole requires innovation and collaboration. Indeed, both the left and the right are in the hole together, bickering at each other instead of working together.
Yes, Mr. President Obama, I believe you when you say, “If we stop talking at one another, and start talking with another, we can get a lot done...it's not about left or right – it's about us.”
In the final analysis, this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for you, and your attitude. Yes, you campaigned with the slogan, “Change”, but that didn’t mean it would come easy or effortlessly. I hope both sides will get over their narcissism and embrace change. Change is not about an ascent to an idea, but a life of committed work.
Together, not isolated, we can diversify our economy and provide jobs.
Together, not entrenched, we can create communities that are engaged and aware.
Together, not opposed, we can truly learn to be Thankful for this country, and EVERYBODY in it.
I suppose that requires believing in each other. The Right might have an idea that can help, and I’m willing to listen if it isn’t spoken with malcontent and pessimism. I think the Left can revive itself if it descends from the ivory tower of intellectual liberalism and connects with communities. You’re a community organizer, an intellectual, and marvelous orator. Like our country needs intermingling of ideas and thought, we need you to draw upon your experiences, your various strengths to draw people together, an maybe event speak the truth in love.
I am sure we’ll chat again soon, but until then – be well, dear friend – and thrive,
J. Zac Bailes
The following was previously published on PolicyDiary.com
I’m tired of the same-old-same Thanksgiving. I’m tired of the same-old-story. And, no, it’s not only because it begins the tale of oppression and subjugation of Native peoples. But because giving thanks has only been about words. As far as I can tell, Thanksgiving is worthless, and will continually be worthless. Americans just want No matter how thankful somebody is, if we don’t live it, we're not thankful.
What if we stopped giving thanks, and actually demonstrated our thankfulness? Thanksgiving can become, if we want, “Thanks-taking.”
You have heard the romanticized version of the “Plymouth Pilgrims.”
You have heard they came here to seek asylum from religious persecution.
You have heard that those pilgrims were brave souls.
This is all true.
But, have you heard about the Abenaki Indians, those brave souls who aided the fledgling colony? Have you heard about the alliance brokered by Squanto between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians? Have you heard about the horrific abuse upon Native peoples perpetrated by our own government throughout the centuries?
Indeed, our government dehumanized Native peoples in order to commit genocide and take possession of the land and exploit the resources.
Yet, this week we also recognize those without food, without a Thanksgiving meal. If our society is to improve and move forward, like those on the Right and Left claim they want to do, we must reevaluate our priorities. Those without sustenance need access to resources. Those without family and community must be fed authentic relationship – not slogans and platitudinal fear.
We are all starving. For those that have plenty, please, feed your ignorance. Ignorance is a malnourished conscience – and our nation’s conscience is emaciated. Native Americans are incarcerated at a rate 38 percent higher than the national per-capita rate. Before European colonialism, it is estimated that nearly 18 million indigenous peoples lived in what we understand today as the United States. Today that number is estimated between 2.4-2.7 million.
Read the rest at PolicyDiary.com
Ludwig Minelli helps people kill themselves. Switzerland’s laws allow for assisted-suicide, and the sodium pentobarbital is ingested without fear of prosecution. There are several regulations that have been put in place to avoid an unnecessary suicide. You can read the article over at The Atlantic
. Minelli views himself as a humanitarian who allows people the ability to escape their pain, and thus their imminent and painful demise.
Assisted-suicide, suicide, euthanasia or whatever name you might call it is nothing new. From ‘drinking the hemlock’ to ‘falling on one’s sword’ even means of suicide have infiltrated our lexicons. We have, especially in America, come to think that suicide is a disastrous event. This act is the banality of human existence, and yet people still commit suicide. Some fly their planes into buildings, others do it quietly. Suicide is a choice. One chooses their own fate, and indeed they hold their death in their hands. At times, people have committed suicide because of mental illness. Either way it is something that seems to be contrary to our self-interest.
Minelli assists those who have terminal illness end their pain and suffering. They do so in houses that some neighbors call, “Death Houses.” The entire process can cost around $10,000; it is not a cheap event. Some measure the cost against future doctor and medical bills. If they end it now, pain will be alleviated. The government regulates these types of business. There are safeguards in place to prevent someone from killing themselves that has a mental illness, or who is too healthy. The ‘Death Houses’ are like Roach Motels: You can check in, but you won’t check out. In fact, the plan is not to check out, of the building.
Suicide whether of the Minelli model or not poses a serious question to models of providence. If God had complete foreknowledge and is all-powerful, then why would God destine this? Or if God loves humanity, how does this reflect God’s love? Why doesn’t God intervene to prevent the pain caused to all those around her? The CDC statistics for suicide are as follows:
– Number of deaths: 33,300 –
Deaths per 100,000 population: 11.1 –
Cause of death rank: 11
We know someone, or at least about someone, who has committed suicide. In my second year of college, there was a suicide that rocked the very core of the campus. Suicide certainly rocks ones belief in God (if they have one) and conception of life. Suicide is not an event or occurrence that will go away. Theologically we must encounter this, and specifically from a providential point of view.
I suggest that we view God’s providence as freedom to choose. God provides the relationship in which we can truly be what are potential claims we can be. In that gracious love are able to encounter our own flawed love. This takes many forms: lack of self-love; communal love; openness; hate. We, in God’s great loving power are not confronted with evil so that we can be redeemed, but we are confronted with evil because we do not love perfectly.
At this juncture it is imperative that I make a distinction between irrational evil and accidents. Irrational evil is that which occurs by human agency that is not rational (e.g. respecting life; respecting emotions and mental ability; and, that which infringes upon the possibilities of another human). Aristotle says the function that makes a human is the ability to be irrational. This does not mean that to demonstrate one’s humanity we must act irrationally. It does mean that we can act in ways that are counter to our self-interest. I suggest that this irrational evil occurs because we do not love perfectly. That though God does love perfectly we are always on a journey to love perfectly. We are called to become whole as God is whole.
Accidents categorize another type of evil: that which is beyond the control of any human hand. God, however, is not necessarily culpable in this either. When a hurricane rocks a city, a car veers off the road, or a person dies of cancer that lived a healthy lifestyle we cannot say that God destined nor wanted from a powerful love to make this happen. God meets us in the moment of dire desperation. We struggle to make sense of the world. My suggestion is that accidents still occur because the chaos from which the world was formed has not left. God is still organizing the chaos from which the world was created. We still experience that chaos when we experience accidents. Suicide occurs because God allows free choice. What this means about heaven and hell, I’m not sure. I think in cases of euthanasia there is a freedom provided to exempt one’s inevitable and painful demise. Any goal of heaven or hell prevents us from loving in the moment, by the moment. It prevents us from issuing and involving ourselves with the love that can transform and give people a reason to live.
When I am asked questions about suicide and God, I simply respond, “Suicide is not loving, euthanasia is a different discussion.” The question we must reflect upon is how to love genuinely and authentically in the face of personal and corporate terror. The love we strive for opens ourselves to the world around us, and the hearts of those we meet and share with.
Our society is akin to a human body: when one part ails or suffers, the rest of the body suffers too. The major organ we call the economy has failed. Our attempt to transplant and provide revitalization of the body requires recovery, and with organ transplant the body needs time to recover. Economic hardship sits well with nobody. The system has faltered, and as is the case with every system, it has sent shockwaves throughout our society.
People have lost jobs, soup kitchens struggle to keep pace with demand, and reasonable citizens succumb to fear that consumes voraciously and cyclically intoxicates our communities. When somebody talks about the economy they use percentages and projections, and talk about the globalized nature of the economy. While the global economy might be suffering, those receiving the brunt of the pain are people within our communities, next-door neighbors, and family members.
Some use the economic downfall for a political platform. This is characteristic of opportunistic policy: react to the problems with the band-aid of heated rhetoric and condemnation. Politicians try to give a pep talk to the broken body, yet have not thought out how the body will learn from this event, this transplant. Indeed, the liver of America has cirrhosis from addiction to overabundance and materialism. We have to learn how we will live in light of this traumatic experience, this near-death experience.
Yet, when health leaves our control and we are reliant upon the passage of time, frustration sits in. Economic hardship cannot be seen. We cannot pinpoint and actually see the cause; we only see the effects. As our frustration grows, our desire to control grows. We want to assert that though we may be suffering economically, we have not lost control.
The Tea Party’s rise to power surprised many, but I’m not sure why. Tea Partiers offered opportunity to control, and fed the addiction of control. They are not the cause of political debacle, but a symptom of a larger disease. When one accounts for cultural symptoms of bullying, anti-Islamic sentiment, and “Beckian”
anger the picture becomes clear: we are addicted with power and control. When we couldn’t control the economy any longer, we turned to what we could.
People retreated into closed minds and shut down veins of conversation. With the transplant we grew frustrated with the rest of the body. Doctors ordered rest because recovery takes time. This simply was unacceptable. When we couldn’t control our lives, we controlled our attitudes. Instead of learning how the body could help, deep seeded anger welled up within.
Recovery dictated that we couldn’t walk around, and we grew angry at the legs. Yet was it the legs fault? We grew angry at the arms because we couldn’t use them like we once could. Yet what did the arms do to put us in the bed of recovery?
Our actions placed us on bed rest, and necessitated a transplant. Will we return to our voracious addiction? Or, will we learn from our actions, and enter, as a society, into detox? The cure for this addiction requires community. Authentic community has fallen away because we can’t control community. One person does not control, but the whole controls together. It is not easy, and not pleasant – I’ve never heard of a pleasant detox. Yet, if we actually care about this country, this broken body, we cannot afford to repeat disastrous behaviors that placed us under the surgeon’s knife.
When people encounter life-saving surgery, they’re usually grateful. But, upon occasion, people are mad at the surgeon for suggesting the transplant. Could we have survived without a transplant? No. The last person that deserves blame is the surgeon. The surgeon inherited a patient that never once had a doctor say: “Slow down, and detox.”
We have the opportunity now to change this body, to learn a new way of living. Learning new ways of life are not easy, especially when you’re 235 years old. Yet, if we expect to live another 50 years, we have to start now, in the recovery, in the rest, changing our lives. Maybe, then, once we walk out of the door and back into life we can live full lives, and the whole body can thrive. Even then, the addiction will never fade away.
The opportunity to return to destructive habits will be ever-present. Yet, this time we have knowledge of a better way of living: in, by, and through community. After all, if we truly love ourselves, this nation, isn’t it in our best interest to heal ourselves? Or is the short-lived dream of addiction worth the destruction and pain? You decide. Me? I’m entering rapid detox, and it’s painful, but worth it for me, for community, and for the future. I’m not always proud of our body’s history, but I’ll never forget it, lest I return to a way of life that suffers the whole body.
Dear Members of the Ku Klux Klan:I hope this finds you well on this November day. I've seen you before, yes, in my hometown. We drove by the spectacle that was your gathering on the courthouse lawn, around the memorial statue to 'the South.' Yet, I've never actually sat down and spoken with you, one of your members. Though, I'm certain we've passed on the street, in the market, or maybe at church. Who knows? You have a storied past, mostly bloodied, brutal, and bigoted, and that's your history to reckon with. What you represent is more than what you think you represent. Yes, the National Director of the White Knights claims to be a Christian, yet, he's the leader of what the Southern Poverty Law Center deems a hate group. It's good to know my siblings in Christ are preaching a good word these days, or not. You're not alone, you share the bigoted stage. There are varying degrees of hate, varying degrees of bigotry, but at the end, hate by any other name is still just hate. You have crouched bigotry in the language of Christianity - the language of justice and mercy. No, before you start quoting me scripture, tell me about a superior race
, or tell me about the reconstruction of the South, allow me to finish. You have a way tearing down things you don't agree with, yea, even burning down. I wonder how much you believe in the Christ - the Christ who's name you use. I wonder how you reckon with the cognitive dissonance of faith and burning crosses. Indeed, how do you believe that this world can be transformed when you are so unwilling to be transformed? You're a part of this country, too. Or, have you forgotten that?Yet, this problem exists all over America. People call for the transformation, restoration
, or reformation of America. Yet, in their heated rhetoric they are unwilling themselves to be transformed. Calling for change is submitting to change, and anything less is flimsy idealism that has no soul, no hope, and no possibility. People confuse their hunger pangs, acting out of an attempt to control, when in actuality they desire to be loved. If you were actually concerned about change, you would work with, not against, other people. If you were actually living the life of your Christ, you would seek transformation – of yourself, first. To love requires being loved, and yet you call for change that sows hate and will reap hate. Side note: James Bonard Fowler entered a guilty plea Monday at Marion. He became an icon in the conflict that led to the Selma to Montgomery marches in the American Civil Rights Movement as a corporal in the Alabama State Police after he shot and killed an unarmed black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson in 1965. He wasn't a KKK member. Yet, he represented hate, bigotry, and the worst possibilities within humanity. But, he does not deserve hate. He does not deserve deep malcontent, but love - and you do too. I know it's hard to accept love, to accept an invitation to be transformed along with all humanity, with your country. But, honest transformation requires honest dialogue - don't bark, listen. Dear members of the KKK, there are two ways: the way of life and the way of death. The way of life
and the way of death. As the Didache
says, "The way of life is this: First, love God, the one who made you; second, your neighbor as yourself. Or, whatever you might not want to happen to you, you also do not do to another...But the way of death is this. First of all, it is wicked and full of cursing...Persecutors of the good, haters of the truth, lovers of lies, not knowing the reward of righteousness...lovers of uselessness, pursuing retribution, not being merciful to the poor, not toiling for one who is oppressed...corrupters of that which God molded, turning away the needy, oppressing the pressed upon..."May you choose the way of life, of love. And for those of us that pray you find the way of life, we know that
hating oppression proves fruitless. Yet, we know, loving the oppressor unleashes evocative, eruptive, exploding love, that when encountered cannot be ignored.I look forward to future conversations, in the spirit of love. At the end of the day,
God is reflection of who we are…and maybe the only way we ever can know God is to see ourselves. If we’re ever going to know God, we have to love ourselves. It is a difficult journey, the journey to self-love. It is a journey wrought with pain, and shame, because we haven’t been honest to say, “All the things that you suffer, and all the things you bear, bring them with you, and set them down. Let your voice be liberated so that you can speak of God, and be a voice for God in a world that needs to hear the voice of love – maybe now more than ever before."In Hope, Love, and Resurrection,Rev. J. Zachary Bailes
Yesterday, I wrote about the blood shed for all of us
, conservatives and liberals. As part of this country, we share in the gift many have provided through their ultimate sacrifice. Indeed, as citizens of the U.S., we face difficult discussions in the role of peace and war. For people of faith, peaceable positions become difficult to ascertain when we are benefactors of global violence. Yet, many declare they are pacifists
. In yesterday's article
I said, "Pacifists get off your high horses, and patriotic fundamentalists do the same. The bloodied waters of Normandy, bloodied sands of Iraq, and bloodied islands of Japan speak for themselves." Apparently, I rattled a few chains and stirred up some healthy discussion - Good! Yet, this was not the only point of the article. My point was to demonstrate that declaring pacifism only starts the conversation. Indeed, to call one's self a pacifist is to recognize that you are not ascenting to a way of thinking, but a way of living. I included woes that spoke with the accent of Amos and Jesus. "I'm not interested in your political stance....Woe to you who use patriotism and the deaths of soldiers as political gain. Woe to you who think living peace means hating soldiers...Woe to you who are so scared of recognizing the brokenness of the world that you cannot engage systems of oppression that creates the war-like mentality." The unfortunate reality of pacifism is that it can prevent us from being honest, and engaging the systems that create the war-like mentality. William James, who advanced pacifism, thought that pugnacity had been bred into our bones. Simply put, ascenting to a way of thinking will not bring about peace, we must live it.How do we eat?Where do we shop?How do we speak?How do we live?These are the questions we must engage to become pacifists, to live it every day. Moreover, let us work together to learn from each other. Let us work to bring peace within our communities, for how can we believe in world peace when we cannot walk enter certain parts of town? Yet, it is not because people are simply violent, but because there are systems that prevent authentic community from developing. You know the systems. We must find our voice. For me,
when I write, I hear the deeper pulses of love vibrating, the overtones of joy singing in perfect harmony, and the miraculous movement of grief escaping my grasp. I realize – I'm alive. How does peace speak to you? Where rests the moment to love, and become peace?Peace requires building relationships and risking the power people have for a peaceable community, a peaceable world. I am not interested in who has 'the best' way to do this, but only that we are doing it. May we speak the truth in love, together, because when we start thinking we have nailed down the truth, violence erupts. For centuries wars have been fought to protect the truth, only to find, that the only truth that bleeds, cries, laughs, and grows is that of our fellow human.
Where I grew up you had three options:
1. Stay there and work a blue collar job.
2. Go to college
3. Go to the Military
The reasons one heads to the military are varied and plural, and I do not pretend to know the first thing about the intricacies of military life. Yet, I do help pay for the military, I pay taxes, and I watch the TV. I hear about the deaths in Afghanistan, and on Sunday we pray for those soldiers who are the spoils of war.
In Harlem military recruiters walk around looking for fresh bodies. The military is a 'good way' to get out the 'bad life.' They have programs that get the kids in the military early, and progressives in the community encourage it. With the increased discipline grades increase to the point that young people apply to college and don't enter the military. Yet, there are those that see it as the only way out, and they, they are the spoils of war.
When a pacifist stands up, and in an angry voice declares, "End War!" we realize that they haven't cared to engage the systems that cause war and perpetuate the myth that peace is something we obtain. The pacifist cause is a blanket that will never cover you, a lullaby that will never grant comfort, and a dream that is never realized. Pacifists are my allies and my dreamers, but when we have failed to see that peace is a way of life, not a slogan, the body bags will continually be delivered at Dover Air Force Base. Those that cannot engage the systems, and use pacifism as an excuse, they too are the spoils of war.
When soldiers return from a journey and live in mental and emotional torment because they served their country, they are the spoils of war. When they come back with memories always fresh in the mind, and heavy on the heart, they are the spoils of war.
When the children lose mothers in war-zones and children lose mothers; when fathers don't return home from the Sandbox; when there's only bits and pieces to put in the casket, we become the spoils of war.
I'm not interested in your political stance. I'm not interested in whether you stand on the right and the left. Woe to you who take for granted those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Woe to you who use patriotism and the deaths of soldiers as political gain. Woe to you who think living peace means hating soldiers - they are your fellow humans. Woe to you who cannot see the privilege that provides us with the privilege to scoff at soldiers and think you stand 'above' them. Woe to you who are so scared of recognizing the brokenness of the world that you cannot engage systems of oppression that creates the war-like mentality.
Woe. To. Me.
The blood shed by one, is shed for many. The blood shed by a child in a war zone is shed for the many that have created and perpetuated systems of ignorance and injustice. The blood shed by a woman in a rogue bombing is shed for the well oiled war machine. The blood shed by a father by crossfire is shed for the demands of liberty and freedom. The blood shed by those are shed for freedom to be angry, freedom to be proud. The blood shed is for greed and for hope, for those that have golden parachutes and those that don't have a parachute.
Pacifists get off your high horses, and patriotic fundamentalists do the same. The bloodied waters of Normandy, bloodied sands of Iraq, and bloodied islands of Japan speak for themselves.
Crazy Liberals and Conservatives welcomes back Mark Sandlin from The God Article
for a discussion on what the midterm elections say about the U.S., how worship is an act of justice, and how we are called to reclaim our voices. TCLC welcomes the music of Daniel Bailey
"I'm gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside
Down by the riverside down by the riverside
Oh I'm gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside
Ain't gonna study war no more
Well I ain't gonna study war no more ain't gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more
I ain't gonna study war..."
I get a bit weary sometimes. I grow weary of all the fighting, ignorance, and pain in clear view all around me. I hear the voice of chauvinism and racism whispering, and then sometimes, the voice hurts my ears. And, sometimes, my brain hurts from all the ignorance. Many times they simply ignore the facts and spout what they feel like saying. Yes, we all know it.
I get a bit weary sometimes. I hear a president who desires to encourage young people to stay in school and work hard. Our parents and mentors told us this, but when the leader of the free world says it, I'll bet it carries more weight. The voices of extremism speak loud. Though these are values we can all believe in, people will disagree because he doesn't belong to their party. Yes, we all know it.
I get a bit weary sometimes. I watch a press conference calling for the resignation of a local District Attorney. He makes racists comments and seemingly acts on them. I grow tired of a justice system that has such flaws. Lady Justice doesn't use blindfold anymore to cover her eyes, she uses it to wipe the tears away. The tears created from the Dam of Indifference that holds back the waters we long to soak in: the Water of Justice. Yes, we all know it.
I get a bit weary sometimes. I comfort a grown man who as a child was sexually abused. I can't do anything about it. I can only hold him while he cries and wonders. He wonders what do I do now? He wonders why me? He only asks the questions we all wonder. Why do we do the things we do? Why do bad things happen to good people? Yes, we all know it.
But, I'm walking down to the water, friends. I walking steady and sure. No one is going to stop me because I'm a bit weary. My steps are heavy and my soul longs to be cleansed. On my back are the worries of the world. No more will I seek to violate people or participate. No more will I curse those that hate, but I will "pray for mine enemies." My shield of indifference, I'll lay it down. My sword of power will be broken in half and stuck in the sandy mud.
I'm taking burdens to the riverside and I'm going to put on my starry crown. The crown that shows that I will silence the voices of hate and bigotry. I will line the jewel shine that will shows I will fight systems of retribution and build up those systems proclaiming redemption.
Won't you join me? Won't you bring your sword and shield? Won't you put on your crown? Won't you walk with me just for a little while and soak up those waters of justice? I think it's safe to say we're all just a little weary and a cool bath in the waters of justice could do us all a little good.
For many, this weekend provided a political platform for anyone who wanted it. If you were a Beckian you hated the gathering on the Lincoln Memorial. If you were a Liberal you railed for it. If you recognized the genius and significance of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech you celebrated it, and knew the improvements that are undoubtedly ahead. In August, some Christians jumped away from Beck's close alliance with the faith, while some silently complied. Then there was the mosque issue, or community center issue – I guess it depends on your political rhetoric.
Everybody points a finger. Some point it at an idea, while others point it at a person. Yet, there exists some fantasy in believing that the problem, whatever it or they may be, is the responsibility of someone else. We live in a dream-world if we think that the issues we face today are always the product of someone else, and not us.
Before you point fingers, Democrats, you must reckon with your reckless buying into fear, and those fear-mongers. Instead of standing up for what you believe in, you have bowed down to the altar of seat protection and re-election.
My dearest Republicans, you do not escape blame either, for your relentless and shameful silence amidst prejudiced and bigoted rhetoric of fanatical groups. Instead of taking control of your own voice, you have allowed others to make you the puppet.
Christians, you have heard a sermon every Sunday morning, but you have become deaf to the sermon of your Christ. Blessed are the peacemakers, those that mourn, the merciful, and those that stand up not for a political party, but for the common humanity in all.
Our dear President, tonight you addressed a nation that is reeling from economic downfall and a wrecked foreign policy. Only at the rarest of occasions you have blamed others. Most times you accept the reality because it is now your presidency. I only ask that you not give up on the youth of today - we are your greatest asset, your greatest resource.
My fellow Americans, have we become but mere spectators of the parade of ignorance? Do we stand silent while talking-heads control our personal policy? Why must we, who have and will procure this nation take marching orders from people who do not speak for us or our humanity?
There is an economy that is growing - blame. While we face such issues as education and war, let us not forget that we face obesity. Not the kind that increases belt size, but the kind that increases our ignorance. We have fed far too long on the charisma of punditry, and not fed on the rich food of our common humanity.
We must draw together with a renewed responsibility. We must hold fast and true to each other, to the future. Responsibility requires a spirit of courage that displayed itself when a Harbor was bombed; when towers fell; when a woman named Susan fought for what was right; when an army huddled in Valley Forge.
The spirit of courage is needed when a young child returns home after school knowing she will not eat that night.
The spirit of courage moans when the quality of education is equated to the color of skin.
The spirit of courage itches under our collars when in our most desperate of times, in the darkest of nights, we choose to fight rather than draw together.
We live in a precarious time, but times will grow all the more the precarious as long as we continue the infighting and the blame game. I, too, have blamed others, policies, and ideas for far too long. Today, I stand not as Republican, Democrat, Centrist, Liberal, Conservative, Fascist, Socialist, but as an American seeking the best for each other, and for the world.
My fellow Americans - let us embrace this opportunity to conquer fear. For, in each other, in the many colors of skin, varied creeds, and storied pasts there exists one immutable fact: we are Americans.