Wednesday, December 15, 2004
( 7:44 AM )
Oldie but a Goodie
As I finish up my last week of school before getting a bit of a holiday break (yay!), it's hard to know what to blog about with all the stuff in the news. So taking a break from the downhill slope being prepped by our friendly, neighborhood government for us - here is a reminder of what we really could be as a nation and community of people. From Barak Obama's speech last August:
...We are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my chlid. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief -- I am my brothers' keeper, I am my sisters' keeper -- that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E plurbus unum." Out of many, one... In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead...I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us.
I truly believe that our constitutional democracy is the best way that has yet been invented to run a country. But our constitutional democracy requires that we not sit by, but rather step into the fray and make choices every day that make someone's life a little better. It's in taking care of each other that each of us will have a more promising future. That's what I feel anyway. As Howard Zinn says, you can't be neutral on a moving train. This train is moving - and we are nothing if we do not make our time on the train meaningful. We are more than just dust blowing along, powerless to affect anything. Each of us is important and valuable to the survival of our democracy, and each of us can do small things with our lives that keep us from apathy and despair.
As inscribed on the Holocaust Museum in DC:
Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.