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Together We Rise

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We are today at one of the countless crossroads our young nation has faced. It is this moment that future generations will remember us for, and forever laud our foresight, despise our cowardice, or curse our indecision. The choices of the past, fair and foul, have brought us here, to this time and this place, this now that cannot be wished away through desire alone, but must be met with dedication and a will to sustain the struggle against a world that has for so long idled uncontested to this moment. We are, all of us, here, and only together will we salvage a brighter future for our children, as well as for future generations we will never meet and cannot yet imagine.

One is not afforded the opportunity to choose his own family, the time and place of his birth. We did not choose to be here now, to be brothers and sisters on this earth in hard times. But here we are, together.

Today’s America is a fractured one. It has, throughout its history, always been so. The rivalry between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two of this nation’s most integral founders, is well-chronicled, we fought a war against ourselves because of conflicting ideals, and one man from Atlanta with a dream and a voice that would move mountains inspired in some the greatest hope for the future, and in others brought forth bitter hatred. We have always been divided. It is the nature of any good democracy that we should be, so that we will always hear the dissenting argument, the at-first unpopular opinion that may one day become the imperative, the world-changing ideal that may grant freedom to all the men and women of this earth.

But today’s America is different. It may not be more fractured than it was in days before, but this is the world we have now, the one we can change. We will always be divided, but in order to solve the litany of this nation’s ills, from budgetary problems to healthcare, to truly help each other and ourselves, we must understand the argument we disagree with. We must hear it ourselves, consider it, disseminate its meaning to our own ear, without relying on the pundits who make their living selling controversy, an “us versus them” mentality, to translate those opinions for us. We must resist the urge to wrap ourselves in the comfort of our own opinions, resist the urge to speak of the issues with only those who would agree that our opinion is right. We must seek out the other side, in articles, on television, in good debate that doesn’t resort to two equally simple dogmas clashing over the field of mindless partisanship. We must hear the other side with an open mind, rather than listening only to disagree. We must disavow talking points and political scare tactics.

I believe that is the key to progress. I believe if the people of this nation were to listen to one another with an active interest to learn rather than one vested in strengthening our pre-existing convictions, we would find that there is some merit to both sides of nearly any issue. In a democracy such as ours, compromise between at least two differing opinions is the only way to make any progress. Only through an understanding of the other side can we truly accept the necessary compromises that everyone must make.

There are people in this nation, a great many of them, that know this to be true. But they look at the world as it is now, and they believe there is no use in one person dedicating himself to progress, that we are set in our ways and must follow this path until we reach its ultimate termination point. But only we will decide when that day comes.

The winds of change blow at our command, and so too come the doldrums of our disregard, our indifference, our callous acceptance of that which we wish would change, but dare not act upon ourselves. We are the designers of destiny, the purveyors of our own future, the catalysts through which change will come, yet all we can manage is cynicism as we sit idly by and wonder why the world will not change around us. We wait to be saved by people we believe must be greater than ourselves, but who do not exist. They are gods of our own imagining, and before them we make ourselves small. We are content to complain about the efforts of others as we refuse to make the same effort, or better, ourselves.

Robert Kennedy once said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Both brothers understood that the power to change the world was not in their hands as politicans, but all of ours.

We don’t have to like each other, we don’t have to agree with each other, but we are the American family, and as family we must make an effort to understand each other, and through that effort we will find that progress is possible, that together we can move mountains, that we can fell the mightiest walls that stand between us, and that we can lift ourselves up to the lofty reaches that have long been imagined, but never attained.

United we stand, and together we rise.

Written by oobiedoo

May 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm