Speaking Truth in Violent Times

It might seem strange at first to use reflection on the recent shooting in Arizona to make a point about progressive politics, but it's absolutely compelling. Go read this, seriously:

Instead our shadow in this country is economic greed, and there is a constant pull to unfetter business, to disallow regulation, and to let business do the business of business no matter the social cost. I have no brief against business and economic activity. It is a human thing. It can be glorious. And, it has deep shadows, including the inclination for the rich to simply continue getting richer while the poor get poorer. The growing gap between the fabulously rich and the rest of us, and the increasing uncertainties needs to be noticed, needs to be challenged. And challenged from a pulpit informed by a deep knowing of our intimate connections, all of us. The average American is being taken for a ride, hearing the false witness of conservative and libertarian economists and other apologists for the rich, pretending we all might get there, too. For the sake of the many, for those who have never benefited from the business of business, as well as those who have succeed in this enterprise but remain of good heart for all, who show us how it can be done, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for the poor who have broken one law to cross our borders, to become a part of the dream of possibility, who provide the hardest labor upon which this country's comforts are built, but who live in shadow and fear and become the scapegoat for those who would rather we not look into the dark hearts of those who are making most of the money, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for a fair and equitable access to healthcare for every one of us, I will not be silenced. Speaking for access to a good education for all, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for those who are given second class tickets to the feast of life because of their color, and who continue to struggle, having to be twice as good to get to the first rung of our society's economic ladder, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for women who have finally, in this country, at least, and some others, achieved most of the rights we assume are human rights, but whose positions are still fragile, who need men to stand with them, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for lesbians and gays and bisexuals and the transgendered, people who have been for too long the easy scapegoat for imagined ills, whose love has been denied for vastly too long, and who now stand at the edge of genuine freedom and an authentic place within our culture, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for our precious planet, beautiful and fragile, ravaged by our human hands, and in need of healing, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for this wondrous country of possibility, acknowledging its long shadows, and its astonishing potentials, a republic of dreams, a home for the birds of paradise, celebrating it for its good and chastising it for its crimes, I will not be silenced.

And, neither should you.

Really, you should read the whole thing.


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You're right. The essay was well worth reading. Thank you.

You're right. The essay was well worth reading. Thank you.

Yes, worth the reading.

Very powerful rhetoric; and exactly the sort of narrative we need, emphasising positive changes and human decency, to counter the position of those who would drag us back into the dark ages of violence, exploitation and ignorance.

By stripey_cat (not verified) on 11 Jan 2011 #permalink

Somewhat naively idealistic.
Instead of assuring the equal opportunity make sure that the outcome is equal.
Don't recognize that the rapid influx of foreigners may cause social problems (schools, housing, social services). Add to this an unknown, but observable, level of deliberate activities to gain more (double identities to gain participation in social programs) plus a straight forward criminal activity.
"Speaking for those who are given second class tickets to the feast of life because of their color, and who continue to struggle, having to be twice as good to get to the first rung of our society's economic ladder, I will not be silenced." Where does the author live? In Russia? China? Japan? Review the admission policies to the universities in this country !
The subtle difference between the US and Europe ( that superior,the envied) is that the first is a "by-product of the myriad of people who are free to choose" while the second "have become a set of instructions" ( Roger Scruton: "I drink therefore I am" Continuum, 2010).
Healthcare? Denying somebody access to needed care based on the lack of insurance is a punishable offense (50K for the hospital + 10K for the doctor). Yes, there are problems, one has to be precise in defining and correcting them.
As for gays and lesbians place in our culture: the author should familiarize himself with Sappho, Plato, Alexander the Great (just to name a few). In case the author doesn't consider it to be valid ( not everybody feels connected to ancient Mediterranean) : Auden, Proust, Verlaine, Shaw, Genet, Capote, F. Sagan, Pasolini, Turing, Broad, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Tchaikovsky, S. Barber, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Nijinsky, Diaghiliev and many others. Isn't their place in the culture authentic? Is it silenced?