I'm not going to claim that quote. I have no idea where it came from but I find it apropos here.
There is history happening here. Not just something to put in the textbooks of our grandchildren, but one of those monumental events that dictate whether or not there will be any reason to print those textbooks.
America was born from the tyranny of others. When people became concerned about their freedom, they tried to change their governments. However in Europe at that time, those governments had hundreds of years of oppressive experience and most of the resources to keep these people in their 'place'. So, these intrepid souls gathered their meager belongings and left, or more likely, escaped to the shores of our country.
Once here, they used those talents that made they had learned in their original homeland. The promise of freedom in America brought them here, their hard work and sacrifices brought new brilliance to our society.
Our relatives back in the old country saw and heard what we were doing, how we lived and decided to work with their new American cousins and start chipping away at the old regimes that once had such a hold on the old continent.
In the middle of the last century, when the world went mad, they were given a great oppotunity to make that change.
The America of today was built by sweat, blood, laughter, and pain. From those who came from Siberia 20,000 years ago to those who arrived last week from Bangladesh, America IS her people.
When history tested our nation, we always fought hard and won the day. We did the right thing and joined with other nations to meet these challenges because in order to defeat tyranny you must first expose it to the light of truth and open it up for all to see. America oversaw the death throes of fascism and the starvation of communism with the help of those cousins who chose to stay behind.
America became a global icon for freedom, a trademark for a working democracy. We realized that our founding fathers: the settlers, the natives, the slaves and the servants, had given us a gift that was a living thing. It grew, took nourishment, laughed and cried.
This Gift was not all-powerful, in fact, it was rather fragile. From the beginning, we tended it, cared for it and gave it sustenance. We allowed it to grow into its dream, its promise.
We have learned how to grow our country from without. We have expanded its borders, its people, its ideals. We have created a fine democracy. It has grown quickly, with surety and countenance, with the best of intentions and the strength of will.
Evolution needs to catch up to us. The Gift is showing signs of neglect. Its strength is in its ability to grow and evolve. We have expanded our outer borders, yet neglected to strengthen our inner structure. Our skeleton of standards and ethics have been pushed aside for the worst of reasons; the scope of our image is being used to fulfill the desires of greed and power. The American people have allowed a small group of demagogues change the direction of our evolution. They want to lead America into a new regime, a regime that saw its beginnings in the oppressive places of the old countries.
America has turned full circle from a home safe for democracy to a place where fear is a commodity and hope is a luxury.
To combat the forces of stagnation that have taken hold of our culture, we must become more aware. Education is a tonic against those stagnant entities. American society must open all avenues to greater education, higher learning and the search for answers. Roadblocks that have been put in place the last few years must be torn down. The 'marketplace' should be about ideas and possibilities not profit and loss. The American Experiment must be taken off of Wall Street and put back on its original foundation - on Main Street.
We have strayed. We allowed ourselves to be fooled into giving in to fear and ignorance. That is not why America has succeeded for this long. We succeeded because our courage was greater than our reasons to be afraid.
The remedy, the tonic for our social malaise is to sweep the forces of stagnation from the roles of leadership. We must enter a brave, new world that returns us to those ideals that were spawned when Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Madison were alive.
We talk of freedom to people in other lands. It is time for us to follow our own advise and free ourselves from the yoke of ignorance.