Thursday, September 11, 2008

Being in Remembrance

May God bless and comfort those who have lost loved ones on this day. May God bless America especially today.


dave wheeler said...

Judith, beautiful words on this most significant day in our nation's history.

It seems to me that the years since this horrific day have taken a toll on us as a society. Or perhaps it's the endless Presidential campaign. The endless bickering over who is at fault for problems the government has proven it can not or lacks the will to resolve for the five decades I have lived. The endless promises, endless half truths, 24/7/365 spin from folks whose livelihood depends on perpetuating conflict or whose power depends on keeping people divided instead of united. Society has changed, the issues we face have changed yet those who are entrusted to lead and govern us are accountable to no one...well other than those who buy their ear and influence through their campaign contributions whether they accept them from "lobbyists" directly, play a semantical game and accept them directly from the groups who employ lobbyists to avoid the perception of lobbying, or reward donors with campaign positions or "earmarks" that benefit the companies the donors work for. Real change? Change we can believe in? No disrespect to either candidate but look at their respective party's platforms or their partisian voting records. Real change would be a viable 3,6, or 12 party system. 100% public funding of campaigns to level the playing field for the challengers and get the special interest money off the table. Equal money and access to the media doesn't interfere with what you have to say, just the way the time and space is paid for to get their message out. One way to make them accountable to "We the People" again perhaps instead of "We the Special Interests".

I am reminded of the 1976 movie "Network"...and the words of news anchor Howard Beale while he is having his meltdown on the air..."I don’t have to tell you things are bad, everybody knows things are bad: It’s a depression! Everybody’s out of work, or scared of losing their job; the dollar buys a nickel’s worth; banks are going bust; shop-keepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street; nobody anywhere seems to know what to do and there’s no end to it! We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. We sit watching our TVs whilst some local newscaster tells us that “today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes” as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be! We know things are bad, worse than bad: they’re crazy! It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore! We sit in the house and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller and all we say is “please, at least leave us alone in our living-rooms - let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything! Just leave us alone!” Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest, I don’t want you to write, I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write, I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street – all I know is that first you’ve got to get mad! You’ve got to say “I’m a human being goddammit! My life has value!” So, I want you to get up now, I want all of you to get up out of your chairs! I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!" I see a lot of 2008 in these words written in 1976. But that's a good thing.

Mad is a motivator, a call to action. It is a concept not a tactic. It is getting me off the couch and getting involved and engaged in the community again. A place like a public school that proves that folks can united behind a common goal and get some positive things done. Where much more could be accomplished if we had access to more tools and resourses. Solutions to our communities problems can be found in the same place "world class" companies find the answers on how to improve performance. productivity, and results. They talk to the folks on the frontline or on the floor. Can one or two people make a difference? Yes they can!

One might see it in the beauty of the vision Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of in the "I Have a Dream" speech or perhaps in President Clinton's "We need a new spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together, or the American Dream will continue to wither. Our destiny is bound up with the destiny of every other American". The challenges and problems we face in our local communities will be resolved only through the alliances, coalitions, partnerships and friendships we form in our local communities to address them. Its about collaboration not conflict, putting the common good before personal or political gain. It's time to get it right and get it done...

Judith, I truly am sorry about the amount of space I used to speak my mind. Please know I am infinitely thankful however for the forum to "talk" to a person I enjoy conversing with...

judith ellis said...

Dave – I am most delighted that you dropped in and wrote such wonderful words to ponder. Thank you. The truth is, as I was writing the words to this post and listening to Admiral Mike Mullen speak before the Armed Services Committee, I thought of you, your service in the Armed Forces. So, honored veteran, drop by anytime and write away. Your words matter. In fact, there are so many wonderful words to consider here that I hardly know where to begin. So, let me start at the beginning. I hear your heart.

Your point about the special interests, earmarks, lobbyists, and partisan politics are all very important concerns for me and many other Americans. (Loved your
We the People and We the Special Interest bit. LOL!) As with anything else, there are always human elements that go into decision making. Tom Peters says that if you don’t love politics, don’t claim to be a leader. But politics is one of the reason so many senators and representatives go to Washington with every intent and purpose of bringing change and at the end of their time leave with having accomplished very much, consistently voting along party lines as you have spoken of.

I am now reminded of Charlie Wilson and Michael Hiam. Both men were simply marching to beat of their own drums and unconcerned about image or retribution. It takes a rare bird not to be influenced by the opinions of others, which are tied to getting that raise and bonus. Many of us have not really grown up yet. And many of us simply want to get along, to make headway within margins of safety, and to feel as if we are a part of the gang. The sad thing is that often time being a part of the game excludes us from making a difference, from having an impact that will bring the needed change. Change often requires a stepping out of our comfort zones.

The knowledge of our ever changing path is necessary. Who are we? What has influences us? If we are unaware of who we are and what influences us, at any given time in our lives, how to we even begin to fulfill purpose and positively affect the lives of others? How do we even evolve from one state to the other? The evolving process requires conscious decisions. Sometimes, though, we become more fully aware of these decisions after we have stepped out in faith and bravery. It is then the road becomes clear and things begin to take shape.

While for most of us the line from the Movie “Network” is true. But for others there is no real sense that many of us are indeed hurting. How are you aware of this when no one around you is suffering and you are out of touch with the very people you were sent to represent? I agree with Obama in that McCain may not “get it.” These are not mere talking points: McCain’s own words about the economy being sound and defining middle class as those who are in the 5 million dollar income bracket. When you have access to hundreds of millions and are not particularly sensitive to the needs of others it is clear how such thoughts can subsist.

When you have been in Washington for so long, shielded from the lives of those in neighborhoods, I can clearly see how one could be completely out of touch. I can also see that if you are superrich this too can shield you the concerns of average Americans. For this reason and others, I fully support term limits. No career politicians. Go to Washington. You have two terms to make a mark. Return to your community and live within the legislation you have helped to pass.

Yes, anger can be a motivator, propelling us to action. Rosa Parks sitting on that bus, getting off of work as a domestic, tired like all of the others who rode the bus that day, was mad. This mild mannered woman simply said no more! Enough! I will not get up one more time. Now, she had not thought about her action, planned it beforehand, as I had heard her say.

Rosa Parks just simply one day decided that she would resist – not with any display of anger, but with a resolve that simply said, “no.” It takes guts to stand up to injustice.
But standup we must! We must also learn to become outraged not only by injustices done to us, but those done to others. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I must admit to standing up for people all the time and I don’t even have to know their name.

In speaking of alliances and partnerships, I was so impressed with the honesty, beauty, and frankness of Admiral Mike Mullen’s testimony before the House Armed Services Committee a few days ago. I am sure that many would have liked to hear that we are winning the war in Afghanistan. But he did not say that. He instead said that we are not currently winning the war, but that we could indeed win with the help of the Afghans. He said that we could not do it alone and that we “could not kill our way to victory.”

Admiral Mullen also spoke of the necessity to assist in the development of the country, in education their people, build roads and a host of other valuable exchanges. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also underscored the necessity of partnerships by saying that he was “still not satisfied with the level of coordination and cooperation” between all the partners involved, including the military and civilian partners in the strengthening and reconstruction efforts of the government in Afghanistan. America needs partners. The great government and military leaders of all time recognized this. Perhaps we will return again to diplomacy which builds necessary alliances.

Dave, I would also like to thank you for your many years in the Armed Services and to assisting those in need. What a blessing you are! Thank you! Thank you! May God bless you and yours, continually.