Monday, October 02, 2006

THIS IS NOT MY AMERICA

This is not my America!

My America stands for freedom, democracy, human rights, and justice.

My America doesn’t hold people prisoner for years without due process. My America doesn’t run secret prisons all over the world. My America doesn’t torture people, and outsource torture of prisoners. My America doesn’t have a President who pushes for laws that allow torture, abuse, secrecy, and violation of international conventions.

My America doesn’t stifle free speech, labeling those who speak out, those who question, those who criticize as “traitors” or “offering comfort to the enemy.” My America doesn’t ignore the law and spy on its own citizens without due process. My America doesn’t have an administration that considers itself above the law. My America doesn’t have a President who signs a large number of bills into law with a “yes, but” statement that allows him to ignore the law.

My America doesn’t build huge fences to keep people out, symbolically placing a blindfold on the Statue of Liberty. My America doesn’t hate diversity of color, dress and language. My America doesn’t hate people of the same sex who love each other.

My America doesn’t give big tax breaks to the wealthy while cutting funding for education, health care, social services and public infrastructure. My America doesn’t ignore public safety, let poor people fend for themselves and die in a natural disaster, and then break promises to assist with recovery.

My America doesn’t ignore and subvert science, particularly when the environment of the planet is at risk. My America is a leader in science and technology, not an ostrich with its head in the sand. My America doesn’t have a President who fiddles while the Earth burns.

And my America doesn’t invade and occupy other nations, using false pretenses, lies and selected information to pose an enemy. My America doesn’t declare “mission accomplished” while the killing continues unabated under a failed strategy (or no strategy at all). My America doesn’t claim success in a “war on terror” at the same time it has created conditions for even greater terror.

What is my America? I dream of an America where freedom, democracy, human rights and justice are the foundations upon which we help build a better world. Poverty, disease, hate and ignorance are swept away by my America. The people of my America have honest dialogue about who we are in the world, and where we are heading. We use our freedoms, our creativity, our wealth and our amazing spirit of “can do” to work cooperatively with all people of the world, building towards the true fulfillment of human potential.

Unfortunately, the present America is not my America, or yours. And we all should say “Enough!”

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Enough!"

I am with you, Paul.

Keep up the good writing.
Karin

Jonathan said...

Call me a cynic, but this really is your, and my, America. Self-interest rules all, and all of these examples you give are about those with power taking care of themselves. I'm losing faith that the "common good" that Jefferson thought of so highly can ever be realized in our present state of hyper-consumer society. Sorry, it's not what I want either, but ...

Shelly said...

My America is an America where we can all say "enough" without fear. Unfortunately, I fear that may be in jeopardy too.

Thanks for a stunning article Paul.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karin, Jon, Shel. Jon...my non-cynical side comes out I think only during certain stages of the moon, and so I write hopeful things at those times. Sorry to say, I'm not very hopeful that my fantasy America will ever be realized. and this is probably one of the greatest sadnesses I feel.

Paul

Jill said...

Well put Paul.
My America, in fact my world, is not so obsessed with buying things in an effort to find contentment. Can we all downsize our "needs" and focus on enjoyment of simple things? That might solve a lot of problems.

pete said...

It's quite unfortunate that your vision of America is almost impossibly optimistic. If we were devoid of poverty and inequality and hatred then we would just have socialism now wouldn't we. And who wants that? Cooperation is great until you have the chance to step on some backs and make more money than you or the people you support could possibly spend, much less need. Paul I do agree with you, but I also believe that greed and the thirst for power will ultimately prevail in this America until we see radical social reform and restructuring. And I don't see that happening any time soon. My solution- grab all you can for yourself and go down with the ship. Anyway, good blog. Keep it up.

Paul said...

pete...I can't agree more re: radical change in society. This is why I have a problem with the democrats, who can only trot out the same old crap they've always trotted out to claim the high ground for "the people," re: working and middle class. Yes, this particular batch of republicans - the Bushies - are aberrantly evil and fascistic, and need to be booted out (and into jail, if it were up to me). But the democrats in power aren't likely to do anything to change the basic problems with American, and western democratic, society. So I guess I agree with you, although I'm too old - and too socially responsible - to start "stepping on backs." So i guess it's down with the ship for me!

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