Sunday, January 25, 2009

a serious loss of perspective

rod blagojevich, illinois' illustrious, soon to be ex-governor, has said and done many things in the past few months to cause one to wonder how in touch with reality he is. my personal guess has been absurd arrogance, but there have been moments where his impassioned claims of innocence have caused me to remind myself that our country must prove guilt.

but then when my thoughts of megalomania start to dissipate a bit Blago pulls this out of his posterior. in an interview with Good Morning, America (part of his whirlwind tour of strange interview defenses that will replace his being present in Springfield for the impeachment trial) he said that on the morning he was arrested by the feds, his first thoughts went to his children and wife. his next thoughts were comparing his situation to that of Mandela, Dr. King, and Ghandi...

really? Rod...did you maybe forget Abe Lincoln? he's from illinois, too.

he does not equate selling a senate seat as an act of oppression, using his power and position for his advantage at the expense of those he governs. he views it as his being oppressed. this is his serious loss of perspective.

truth is, it's not uncommon for privileged people to adopt the position of the victim. sociologists and psychologists say this is a very bad place for privileged people to be...probably not for them, though. it's bad because if the people with power feel they're being wronged, usually it's by people without it. the common folk bear the weight of it.

you don't have to listen closely to hear Rod say that he was fighting for the people of illinois in everything he did. without hearing the rest of the charges that will be coming from the federal investigation, the recorded conversations regarding the selling of the illinois senate seat show that his interests did not lie with the people of illinois. they lay with him. and if that doesn't fly in the face of legacies of self-sacrifice on behalf of the oppressed...legacies left by men like Nelson Mandela, Dr. King, and Mahatma Ghandi...well, than i guess i'm the one who's lost perspective.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

this was no ordinary day

i have lived through moments that will forever mark my memory...9/11, the fall of the berlin wall, the space shuttles explosions, and both iraq wars, to name a few, but today stands apart and above them all. this time, every iteration of the swearing in of 43 previous presidents has new in the inauguration of the 44th.

whatever your political persuasions or religious convictions, this day marks a different inaugural event. while the work of making the words "one nation, under 6od, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" true for people of across all lines of color,gender, class, faith, and education is still a long way from reality, there has been no clearer evidence of a country tired of life as usual than today's proceedings.

there will still be struggle. there will still be inequity. there will still be many...many who face injustice...who live apathetic to our interconnectedness and interdependency...who oppose the gains of some because they know it may mean their loss. still, today exposed something different.

there is new and renewed hope. there is new and renewed awareness. there is new and renewed excitement. today, one out of every 260 americans withstood the cold of winter to reveal a warmth of brotherhood possibly never felt in this nation least not in the way it was felt today.

today a new voice cried out. not just the voice of our new president, but of a nation slowly realizing (in the sense of making real) what it declared to be true on the day it was formed. that voice joined the voices of heroes of all ages, colors, nations, and genders who gave their lives, figuratively and literally, to the belief that God created all men are created equal. this new voice was of women and men who stood with that renewed hope as they watched something they barely dared to dream 50 years ago. this voice sprang from the new hope of young people who could see not just a visage of access to everwhere and everything, but a physical representation of it. it came from the renewed awareness of people who grew into adulthood in this country knowing little of any culture outside their own. it called from a generation who tired of legacy left them by their parents and their parents' parents that said freedom was for everyone, but killed or stood by while everyday life proved otherwise. and it sang with the excitement of old and young, red, yellow, brown, black, and white who stood 1.4 million strong together to cheer a day unlike any in our history.

it was no small historic moment. my parents remembered exactly where they were when they heard the JFK had been killed. many can say the same for MLK Jr. i will not forget rising to WBBM radio saying a plane had just crashed into the first Trade Tower. change rose out of all those events. and change will rise from this. some will fight it with every bone in their body, but this will be difficult to slow. it's not the voice of one man leading the charge. it's those reverberation of the old voices and the exuberance of the new voices who have come together it a choir declaring it to be a new day.