Friday, July 4, 2008
Birth of a Nation
Photo by Mohammed ibn Laith of Gorilla's Guides
Apologies for terseness. Here's to Independence Day and to our country, created by folks who opposed tyranny and had a picture in their minds of a better way to live together. That's the cool thing about idealism: the pictures of how much better things could be. How unrealistic their dreams must have seemed at the time. How preposterous, even fantastical some of their notions! Free Speech. Freedom of the Press. Of Religion, Assembly, Redress of Grievances. We're not celebrating those birthdays today: the constitution took years to complete, and the first ten amendments years longer. I imagine there were many times when those laboring then were so burdened by reality that these ideals seemed impossibly remote. Still. They became real.
Let's remember the dreamers today, and remember their courage to continue when others--" realists"-- said it couldn't be done. One way to honor them is to fight the so-called realists of our own time, so quick to destroy our rights and ruin our relations with other countries for the illusion of safety, or to make a few bucks. It's due to the courage of idealists--who saw things as they could be--that our country was born and through which it can be renewed.
So. Why the picture? Because while I question realists, I attend to reality. And right now, part of that reality includes the truth of U.S. war crimes and the suffering, the real and daily suffering they bring. I have a vision of a better world. I'll bet you do, too. Let us work to make it so. Let us dream it into reality.