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Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:25 PM

 

"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America."

In all the darkness, the teeth-grinding fury, the disgust, and the desperate temptation to surrender to despair, I remember:

That Black people who were brought here in chains won their freedom, and then more freedom, and then equal status under the law. It was a long and horror-filled road, it should never have happened, but we as a nation fixed it, and many of us fight for it still (because, sadly, we have to).

That women have only had the right to vote for 95 of the years this country has existed, which frankly blows my whole mind. We as a nation fixed that, and many of us fight for it still (because, sadly, we have to).

That growing old used to be a dead-bang guarantee of growing poor. We as a nation fixed that, and many of us fight for it still (because, sadly, we have to).

That 146 people, mostly women, died in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire because as workers, they had no rights. We as a nation fixed that, and many of us fight for it still (because, sadly, we have to).

That marriage rights existed in a state of apartheid, to the exclusion of LGTB people, until the dam broke recently. We as a nation are still fixing that, and many of us fight for it still (because, sadly, we have to).

The curious thought experiment that is the United States of America is built on a lot of mythology, and a lot of greed, and the machinery of that construction was lubricated with an ocean of Native American and African blood...but it has a lot of soul, too, and an astonishing amount of potential.

So very slowly, one brick at a time, we have worked to improve our flaws. It's a hell of a project: take people from every country in the world, every religion, every nationality, all packing centuries of racism and resentments and differences, throw them all together, shake it up, hand them a couple of pieces of old parchment, and say, "OK, figure it out." Sometimes, it's two-steps-forward-one-step-back...and sometimes it's one-step-forward-two-steps-back....but the push forward is always there, even in those times when it loses ground.

I'm not much for the concept of "American Exceptionalism," but unless I missed a chapter in my high school history textbook, nothing quite like this has been pulled off before in all of human history. All we have in common, really, are those old pieces of paper, and the ideas inked upon them.

It's hard. Brutally hard. What was that line from the movie "The American President?" Oh, right: "You gotta want it."

I want it. I will live my entire life and die not having achieved the goals I want for this country, and when I go, I will be fulfilled, because the effort yields its own rewards, and the idea is worth the fight.

While I am certainly not the biggest Bill Clinton fan in the world, I hold close and dear to my heart a line he delivered during his first inauguration.

"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America."

Bang on, Bill.

Shoulder to the wheel.

There are more of us than there are of them, and the arc of history bends toward justice.

Happy Fourth of July, all. We rise, because evolution is real.

17 replies, 2505 views

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America." (Original post)
WilliamPitt Jul 2014 OP
randome Jul 2014 #1
BlueMTexpat Jul 2014 #2
Prophet 451 Jul 2014 #3
defacto7 Jul 2014 #15
valerief Jul 2014 #16
OKNancy Jul 2014 #4
RobertEarl Jul 2014 #5
hfojvt Jul 2014 #6
el_bryanto Jul 2014 #9
bigtree Jul 2014 #7
Half-Century Man Jul 2014 #8
Boom Sound 416 Jul 2014 #10
The Wizard Jul 2014 #11
Crewleader Jul 2014 #12
SomethingFishy Jul 2014 #13
lovemydog Jul 2014 #14
WilliamPitt Jul 2014 #17

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:36 PM

1. That quote is always relevant.

 


[hr][font color="blue"][center]“If you're not committed to anything, you're just taking up space.”
Gregory Peck, Mirage (1965)
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:37 PM

2. The day I quit believing that is the day that

I change my citizenship.

It's been 70+ years ... and despite some harrowing moments, especially considering the five troglodytes (sorry about insulting ancient cavemen who had no real choice in their lives) on the Supreme Court (and anyone else who was on that Court and voted for Bush in Bush v. Gore) - it hasn't happened yet.

There are a LOT of great Americans and many - if not most - of them will go forever unheralded except by those whose lives they have touched for the better.

It is a real shame that the comparative few who cause harm have such a disproportionately bad effect on us all - as well as on the world.


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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:42 PM

3. Not sure I can agree

The reason is the SCOTUS. You have one entire party that's just the political arm of the ultrarich and they have a majority on the SCOTUS. Any law you pass to try and bring things back will just be ruled "unconstitutional" by this SCOTUS. And any vacancy on the SCOTUS will have to be filled by a centre-right justice because that's the most liberal judge you'll be able to get confirmed.

Unless you want to pray for a fatal four car pile-up in the SCOTUS parking lot. Then I'm right with you.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Reply #3)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 05:43 PM

15. Oh come on!

Let's have a nice Independence Day!

Tomorrow, I'll agree with you 100%.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Reply #3)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 06:37 PM

16. I can't get the four-car pileup image out of my mind. Scalia's fat head

is rolling across the big, empty buffer zone, away from the blazing inferno, and we're cheering way off on the other side of the border. Simultaneously, Dick Cheney fatally shoots himself in the face. And Rumsfeld takes too many blue pills and explodes. Wolfowitz fatally chokes on a comb. GHWB, GWB, Neil, and Jeb all go skydiving. Unsuccessfully. Finally, while shopping in Florida, Condi is accosted by an AKKKer who feels threatened.

Sweet dreams, all!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:45 PM

4. Thank you!!!

Your best post in a long time IMO

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:46 PM

5. So much history

 

We stand today on ground, plowed, sweated over, and lives sacrificed, by those who came before us.

Much has grown from this sacred ground which need be worked daily to keep the tree of liberty producing.

Shoulders to the wheel, boys and girls, keep pushing!!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:52 PM

6. "an ocean of Native American and African blood"

thank goodness if you cut white people, we don't bleed.

Don't have eyes either.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #6)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 04:25 PM

9. I'm not sure what you mean by that -

Certainly Mr. Pitt acknowledged that blood in the line you quoted, didn't he?

Bryant

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 04:14 PM

7. rec

. . .

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 04:19 PM

8. A day to celebrate what we have accomplished

Then back to work to fix, brick by hard won brick, what we need to.

"America, love it or repair it."

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 04:45 PM

10. DUrec

 

We don't always agree here.

But great post. Happy 4th

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 04:53 PM

11. The current Supreme (mediocre) Court

is proof there is no god.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 04:57 PM

13. Well said...

We often miss the big picture when squabbling about the little ones...

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 05:00 PM

14. Happy Fourth to all here at DU

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Jul 4, 2014, 07:18 PM

17. Up

 

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