Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hopey or Mopey?

I'll begin by admitting this:  I'm stubborn.

I don't like to be told what to think or do or believe. I've been known to hold onto a failing opinion like a drowning passenger with a glass of champagne on the unsinkable Titanic.

Eighteen months ago, we thought our high-riding, much-approved, majority holding Democrats were unsinkable.

Glug. Glug. Glug.

Here's the news today: According to an ABC poll, a majority of Americans want Republicans to run Congress, not Democrats. We still mark our surveys mostly in favor of President Obama - but now we want some checks and balances on his ideas.

ABC news today

I am not alarmed. The democrats have done little-to-nothing-to-absolutely-nothing to flex the majority muscle we all canvassed and campaigned and voted for them to have. Oh well, I say. Let it be.

Am I disappointed with the country's leadership right now? Yes.

We're at war(s). We're financially out of control. We're showing signs of becoming less benevolent on the world stage instead of more benevolent. Greed runs rampant. The rich get richer. The voice of the unheard remains the hum in the background of the powerful.

Am I discouraged? Have I given up all hope for change?

With apologies to those who believe unfettered optimism is something like putting on blinders and dancing to "Don't Worry, Be Happy" - I'd like to say I become more hopeful when "we the people" become more concerned. Only then do we wake up to the smell of the coffee in the kitchen and decide to jump into the day.

Perhaps you missed the part of Barack Obama's "hope and change" rhetoric in 2008 that suggested: "be the change you want to see in the world." Maybe you forgot, in the thrill of the national decision to rally around Obama's hope and change in 2008 that he said this when he announced his candidacy in 2007:

"I’m in this race not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation."

To gather with us. You and me. One guy can't do it. 534 men and women on Capitol Hill can't do it. If change is what we're after, change is what we must all participate in creating.

Or...we can let a snippy, VP-losing, governor-quitting, FOX news-opining woman from Alaska tell us it's time to give up:

February 2010

She wins if we all stand aside and drop our heads in resignation.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Land of the Free

It seems appropriate, as we look straight into the face of our country's hard-earned liberty this weekend, that we evaluate the difference between free and entitled.

Free - Not controlled by obligation or the will of another
Entitled - Qualified for or allowed or worthy of being chosen

It's a fine line, to be sure.  Let's be honest: One is what we have - a life full of national choice, individual liberty, and options for happiness.  The other is what we want - comfort, abundance, insulation, adulation.

Somehow the term "inalienable right" from our constitution has come to mean "anything we please:" 

The right to carry a gun into a crowded event, where we might be met with opinions other than ours.
The right to broadcast lies and hate-laced tirades in the name free speech.
The right to pay, shove, and kill our way to power.
The right to consume most of the world's food resources.
The right to squander much of the world's clean water resources.
The right to destroy the coastal waters of the Southwestern United States in the name of gasoline and styrofoam. 
The right to look at a world in dire need and say, "too bad for you.  I have mine."

It reminds me of the pizza my sister found at a grocery in Holland a couple of weeks ago.

Not really that funny, is it?

No one will choke up faster than I will Sunday evening as the Star Spangled Banner is played and fireworks fill the night sky here in Austin. The stirred emotion will not come without the sure awareness that we are Big Americans.

But if we don't do right by our freedom, we're going to look a lot like a Dutch pizza: "crispy outside...soft  inside."

O say can you see?  To whom much is given, much is required.