I don’t think the way I grew up was much out of the ordinary. My father was career military, both my families came from farmers and ranchers. My mother and both her parents were cooks. I came from fairly conservative stock, both respectable and redneck. I went to public schools all the way through college and was the first in my family to graduate with a degree.
I grew up being taught and believing that America was a special place because we were the result of something that had never happened before. A nation born on a hope and a promise never seen. The very first words we spoke to the world in a Declaration by “we the people”. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness we proclaimed, with freedom and equality for all citizens.
Even as it was proclaimed though we knew it was something we would have to strive and struggle to make a reality. But that was the promise and the vision and that has been what has guided our country, battered as it has been at times.
I make no apologies for being progressive. For me it’s the natural outcome of the things I was taught from childhood. Everyone is equal. Everyone deserves freedom. Justice should be blind. To belittle or disregard another human being is wrong. To discriminate against another because of differences in religion, race or any other measure is wrong. Each person deserves the opportunity to stand on their own and make their way. When something stands in the way of these things it needs to be overturned and it is worth fighting for. Greed, selfishness, prejudice, dishonesty and cruelty are bad and denote low character. This is what I was taught. This is what I grew up believing and what I believe to this day.
But I have experienced disappointment in what I believe. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say because of what I believe. Because too often the reality has not lived up to the promise. There have been many times our nation has failed to follow the promise.Even times when it seemed we were in danger of losing our way, when the light grew dim.
These days seem like one of those times. As we watch the checks and balances of our government negated. As we see with growing clarity the kind of people who will gain control and realize what their agenda is likely to be. When we see a majority of Americans’ votes negated. When we begin to understand the damage that we fear they will inflict, selfishly and callously. When we see the rising violence and hostility.
But they would have us see ourselves as weak outsiders when we are in truth strong and determined. And we are the majority! Never forget that. We have fought these battles before and often and we have won. Right now, before they can act, we have brought this nation to a greater level of freedom and equality than ever before. The last fifty years alone have represented great movement. Even now, under this shadow, real dialogue is emerging that shows promise. We need to stand and respond with faith that we have it right, that the progressive movement will overcome as we have before. I believe we can prevail. We carry America’s vision.
Till next time.