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inspiring

So today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming – or even impossible – let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation…it’s who we are as Americans…it’s how this country was built.

And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us…if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button…then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids.

And if so many brave men and women could wear our country’s uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights…then surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights…surely, we can get to the polls and make our voices heard on Election Day.

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.

Watch Full:

“Transcript: Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech” NPR. September 4, 2012. Web. 6 September 2012.
Link: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/04/160578836/transcript-michelle-obamas-convention-speech

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what is past is prologue

I like history. I read historical books just for pleasure but I won’t say I am a historian or have any advanced knowledge beyond anyone else who has taken a history class or two. However, from my personal knowledge of history, I have been wondering if we are on the verge of a watershed moment. A critical turning point.  A moment in time where everything changes.

In watching the politic discourse saturated with divisiveness and what appears to me to be a exponential widening of philosophical differences, I find myself sad and worried. Listening to NPR the other day I heard an author speak to the insane growth in extremest groups just since Obama was elected. I am also saddened knowing that as humans we have to seek the so called unalienable right to marry from an apathetic electorate. Why people care about someone else’s marriage confounds me daily. And, I am watching with disgust as a battle is played out in political arenas over the rights I have over my own body.

So here we are again and again and again. There is a focus by the legislative branches on extreme social policy underpinned by an true economic crisis. Ring any bells? Hello Mr. Lincoln.

What is past is prologue.

While I don’t really believe we are in for a civil war fought on the soil, we are in a real civil war of social policy that is having a dire affect on political and economic policy. I don’t think there will ever really be wars fought in such narrow bounds ever again. We are now in a constant state of war. There are no real defined enemies, no winners or losers. We are being fed a cacophony of boogie men. A distraction. Here at home in the good old USA the electorate is being pitted against one another over topics that should be nothing more than a individual’s rights and protections in a free society. Instead, we are being introduced to a host of foreign sources to blame for our woes. We are being controlled by fear, hate and divisiveness.

As we edge closer to another election, I do think we are at another important moment in time after the voting lever falls. No mater what you believe or how you vote, after the election, there are going to be huge consequences we all will have to face. There will be no winners.

That being said, I am still optimistic that it is just one of those moments and it will pass. What has me hopeful is my belief that there are other tipping points coming very soon. We are just one “generation” from when my generation, Gen X comes into real positions of power. We are a small generation so it will be only a short time after that when Gen Y and the Millennials will begin having real influence over social, political and economic policy. There will always be “haters” but their ranks are shrinking and the smaller a group gets the louder they shout and the more extreme they become in the spirit of protectionism. Shrinking because, the younger generation has come of age in a very different time. Information flows freely for them and their perspective is broader than any that have come before.

I hope I am right. A the very least, I am looking forward to the pendulum swinging back the other way awhile.

the sad state of free speech

I read Joan Walsh at Salon.com. In a recent article she was discussing what had happened when a controversial talk radio host made a bid to become part owner of an NFL team with some other investors.

In the article she wrote about the sad state of free speech in this country in that individuals think the right to free speech also guarantees he or she will face no consequences for that speech. I agree wholeheartedly. If you live an die by your mouth like a “Rush” it seems you are likely to wear the badge of free speech like talisman as if it will shield you. It brings to mind the idea of consequence and responsibility. Personal responsibility and the understanding that actions have consequences seems so lacking in many individuals in today’s society. I hesitate to attribute it to a generation since the ability to accept and just as important take responsibility is more like a personality flaw than a result of your age.

When I was reading Joan’s blog, it also reminded me of an interview I saw with George W. following the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, controversial statements. He said something pretty true of the situation that should be a lesson to all especially his fellow republicans like Rush. Forgive my recalls not what it used to be but what I heard him say in that interview was that sure, every American has the right to free speech, but you can’t whine about the consequences and if a bunch of people want to bulldoze your cd’s because you said something not nice about the president, that’s how the cookie crumbles. And, don’t you know that Rush was one of many on the “crush the Dixie Chicks” bandwagon then. Branding them heretics and traitors while out if the same mouth now offering gems like “I hope Obama fails” and as Joan provided, “bend over, grab the ankles” for Obama because he’s black. Disgusting.

So, Rush, if the NFL doesn’t want to align itself with you that’s just a consequence of your mouth and not some global liberal conspiracy. Man up you wimp. Speak your mind all you want. Just stop your whining and accept responsibility.

Stay tuned…next post, I’ll be writing about the tension between “Live and Let Live” and “Leave No Trace” after camping for a few days in Terlingua.

rallying cry

I attended a rally at Gilley’s for Health Care Reform host by Organizing for America. I enjoyed feeling the positive energy of the crowd. It was not a discussion about the specifics just a rally to engage citizens in the movement.

Health Care Reform Rally

Health Care Reform Rally

There was an assortment of local speakers and after receiving hundreds of emails over the last few years, I finally got to see what Mitch Stewart looks like when he took the stage as the final speaker. Most where very inspirational.  I was surprised at the crowds response to the District Attorney. Admittedly, I know nothing about him. I am interested in reading up on him .

Mitch Stewart, Executive Director Organizing for America

Mitch Stewart, Executive Director Organizing for America

I was going to shoot (pictures) the protestors when I left, but they were gone before the rally ended so instead I took shots of OFA’s “Let’s Get it Done” bus for the tour.

See the – Full Gallery.

Health Care

Four Reasons Why the Public Health Care Option is Irrefutable from Cenk Uygur Host of The Young Turks

1. The government doesn’t have to advertise. No marketing budget means less costs to pass down to the consumer.

2. The government will not take a profit. That is about 10-30% of costs wiped out immediately. Private companies by their nature will add a certain percentage to the product for their own profit. That comes directly out of our pocket. An option that doesn’t take profit also doesn’t take as much money from us.

3. The government will have enormous negotiating leverage with drug companies and health care providers, so they can drive down the costs to the consumer even more.

4. It is an option! If it turns out that the government option does not work as well or costs more, no problem, just use the private insurance you have now. This is only an option you have in a more competitive market. Who can argue with that?

Makes sense to me…

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