05 November 2012

Election Eve

“Water is patient. Water just waits. Wears down the cliff tops, the mountains. The whole of the world. Water always wins.”

Election Eve

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the these words in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” we know what he really meant at the time, that all “white men” only and especially ones that held property. Over the last two centuries, that sentence has become a flashpoint for everyone one else in America who is not of the Caucasian variety, because even today, two hundred and thirty-six years later (and one hundred forty-nine years after the Emancipation Proclamation), there are too many Americans who believe that Jefferson’s words –“that all men are created equal”- still means white men.

The truth remains in what Jefferson wrote, but the meaning needs to evolve to embrace a nation that refuses to stay stagnate. Nature, as history has proven again and again, abhors a vacuum. I’m often reminded of a line in Jurassic Park, where Ian Malcolm says “…If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers…”That is where we are at now, life wants to break free from the boundaries that wants to stop it, and what people don’t realize that it will always wins.  Sure, it may take a while, but like any struggle, be it real or metaphorical, what is right will always win. Because that is nature; it cares not for geopolitical world views, it cares not of opinion. And the more we try and stop it, the more it tries to break free. 

So this idea, this thought, that the meaning of Jefferson’s words cannot change, cannot evolve over the centuries as a nation such as America grows larger and larger is illogical. The rights of many blacks, women and gays (who were there, back then, make no mistake about that) have evolved over the last two centuries, probably more so in the last fifty years than any other time since 1776 (some argue that it’s been too fast, though how they judge that opinion is very nebulas). And why is that? Because we as a nation needed to have those rights evolve or we would never had made the strides we have in almost everything you can think of. We need to ask questions of everything, because if we don’t, if we cower in the dark because we don’t like the answer, then we’ll never move forward. 

And that is what’s at stake here. Do we go forward, into darkness and the undiscovered country that lies before us, or do cling to ideas that, while sometimes good, honorable and even moral are also archaic and most likely dangerous to a good majority of souls that cling to this blue/green planet? At what point did a few think that by accident of birth and circumstance, they were meant to rule the world and those who did not agree would suffer? 

Being a human who thinks of others is not a weakness, just as being a liberal does not mean being weak. For decades, the conservatives have tried –and ashamedly succeed in many parts of United States- of making liberal a dirty word. I know it isn’t, but it’s hard to convince anyone of the other “persuasion.” I’ve learned they care little because pointing out facts and contradictions, logical incongruities, and blatant hypocrisy is akin to asking sun to rise in the West. They don’t want their minds changed, they want their faith reinforced.

I want to believe I have an open mind, willing to listen to others who think I’m wrong. But that’s just it, no matter what -rom the start the conservatives think I’m wrong. That’s a hard place, but also a challenging part, to start from. 

History is replete with souls who tried to change the views of the intolerant, especially in the last 50 years: Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, George McGovern, Gene McCarthy. Hell, it was the liberals who remade this country and ended legal segregation and legal sexism. Not the conservatives, who always seem to cling to the old ways.

And by now, we know conservatives only talk about social issues that don't actually negatively affect the lives of their supporters because they can't talk honestly about their fiscal plans. Fact. The reason the GOP focuses on things like gays and abortion so much is that if they don't, or can't any more, they'll be forced to actually talk about their fiscal policies, in which case their millions of supporters will realize that they've been voting against their own best interests for years. The way I see it, every time a politician promotes anti-Obama sentiment they're actually telling their constituents "I think you people are stupid and I’m using your stupidity to make you vote against your own best interests by creating a false specter of a Second Obama Presidency.”

I think liberals believe no American should be turned away from a hospital because they are too poor or lack a proper legal defense. We believe that people should make enough from one job to live on, to spend time on raising their family. We believe that individuals and not the state should dictate who gets married and why. The best way to defend marriage is to expand, not restrict it.

And by allowing the United States to become a service industry and a land of bankers only, the conservatives have help create an unsustainable America. By moving manufacturing jobs –the backbone of the middle class for 70 years- overseas because workers here demanded better wages, better working conditions and above all, a better life than the generation before, the CEOs (who legally buy politicians like I buy underwear) of these companies call us anti-Capitalistic and un-American.

But what I’ve learned in the 50 years I’ve been on this planet is that America always works better when the interests of all are considered. We’ve seen through the eons that at its darkest hour, we can come together and fix what is broken.

The question is this: Can a nation so divided as this one is at this juncture come together and put aside our bruised egos, our petty religious differences, our intolerance, and  our he said/she said mindset and move forward and become a nation that we idealistically thought we could be 236 years ago?


SEAN said...

Dr Who? The David Tennant's final show on mars?

David said...

Yeah. I was try to draw a subtle analogy with gay marriage. We're at a point were this whole argument is being lost by the Right, and in the end, gay marriage will win. It's waited, like water, and wore down a nation who understands that everything has its time.