Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence in Provincetown

I am feeling particularly patriotic today, not in that tugging at the heart strings nostalgic way like when I was a kid, but in that deep-rooted conviction sort of way like I used to feel for my religion. It is not confidence in an act or action or even a result, it’s not about prevailing or dominating. It is confidence in an ideal.

If I look at the action of my government over the past three years, I am disappointed and disheartened. In a time when we needed men of conviction and moral strength, we got selfish opportunists. At a time when we needed to reinforce our core beliefs, we jettisoned them in favor of reactionary responses.

But I still believe in the values that have made our country great, and will make it great again: equality, freedom; that we have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that government is instituted among men primarily to promote those goals, and not to promote corporate greed or religious dogma; that our forefathers established a nation not a church.

The United States is nothing except its ideals and the people that hold them. It is a living, evolving entity that was not created in 1776 and set in stone thereafter. It is continually recreated with every generation, every congressional session, by every court decision and every presidential election. Given time, what has been done, can be undone and what is left undone until now can still be accomplished.

The US is potential and hope, nothing more but certainly nothing less. We can reach our potential and keep hope alive, or we can horde and conserve and let greed and selfish ambition ruin hope for all future generations.

Progressives have hope, and optimism in the future. Conservatives have fear and distrust the future. Conservatives think now is as good as it is likely to get so they horde all they can for themselves. Progressive think now is just the beginning of a bright shining future worth investing in for all our citizens.

A man without optimism and hope is nothing but an animated corpse. He is dead, he just doesn’t know it yet. Eventually, the grave will call, and he will go down. The trick is to keep him from pulling you in with him.

So I have hope today, hope that we can once again be the great nation we have been in the past, hope that we will, once more, return to our core beliefs and ideas. Our future is in expanding the hope of all our citizens for today and for the future. Our obligation is not let a shortsighted, self-centered powerful kill hope for our future.