Gun's don't kill people. People with guns kill people.


"No body could have done a better job than Obama, with the economy he was handed —including me!" —Bill Clinton—

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Time For Change

We live our lives in a narrow context of personal history, family, friends, marriage, births, deaths, but, some events bring us out of ourselves and demand that we become aware of the broader picture of history. Such an event occurred Tuesday June 3rd 2008, when an African American man was nominated to become the Democratic, presidential standard bearer. His Name is Barack Obama. His mantra has been Change You Can Believe In.

The nay sayers and so called conservative right wing, belittle change as rhetoric without substance, ignoring the fact that from the foundation of this nation, freedom demanded change and that, that change, was forged in the crucible of revolution. What is revolution, but, the epitome of change?

When oppressed by a monarch the founders sought a change in the status quo and through violent change if necessary. Their enlightened manifesto declared that all men were created equal, and that they could, and should throw off the shackles that bound them to that old order, in an age where kings and tyrants were the only form of government men had known. But, not all were inspired and the Tories with their conservative mind set sought to cling to the past to preserve their privileged life style. They were defeated.

When those ideals expressed by the founders fell short this nation went to war—at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives—with itself to seek a change that extended that expression of freedom even further, that civil war led to the emancipation of blacks.

We have a constitution that calls us to change over and over again, and as Lincoln put it, "to listen to the better angels of our nature". The Constitution is our beacon, a guide and conscience, a moral compass that always points towards freedom and equality no matter the cost.

We as a nation continuously call on the world join us to change and are willing to send our young men and women to force change as we did in World War Two. We set Europe on a democratic course that has seen Europe change from despots and monarchies to democracies. All the while we maintained segregated black army units under the Jim Crow laws white legislatures had enacted after the Civil War.

In my lifetime I saw a small petite woman named Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat, and force a change in the fundamental rights of blacks. She began a tidal wave of change that culminated in the final death of the oppressive Jim Crow laws that continued to subjugate blacks in this country for over one hundred years after blacks had been emancipated by Abraham Lincoln.

I saw a black man exhort a nation to share his dream to change its racist nature and embrace ethnic diversity so that a man was judge by the content of his character not the color of his skin. He was murdered by a conservative mind set that feared that change. The nation changed anyway. Lyndon Johnson signed an all encompassing Civil Rights bill.

I saw the youth of this nation demand change in the conduct and an end to the prosecution of an unjust war. A conservative mind set responded with tear gas, billy clubs and finally the murder of students at Kent State. Which brought about the very change they feared, the war came to an end, but, the communists did not take over the world.

Looking back through the prism of my personal history and the broader history of this nation I see change need not be feared, it needs to be embraced. The message of change resonates in our very souls as Americans.

History shows us that we have often fallen short of achieving the full promise of equality and freedom the founders intended, but, because we will not allow the flame of liberty to be extinguished by our fear, we pick ourselves up and advance its cause one change at a time. Freedom and equality are not static things that once written can be put on a shelf to be admired. They are ideas that must be written on our hearts and proclaimed by our words and brought to life through our actions. The world will once again take note of Americas' journey towards the fulfillment of freedom and equality for all.

As a 64 year old white male it may seem odd that I can identify with Michelle Obamas' statement of pride in her country, but, as a patriot I too, have never been more proud of my country and its promise, than at this time.

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