Saturday, December 12, 2009
The People Speak
Maybe I'm a Populist. I don't pay much attention to labels, but I stumbled across a Bill Moyers interview with Howard Zinn last night that made me sit up and cheer.
Zinn, if you don't know, is the author of "The Peoples Guide to the United States", a history of the events behind the history of our country. The transcontinental railroad may have been an incredible milestone in our development, but we're told very little about the thousands of men who built it. Those are the people Zinn wants to know about.
"The People Speak" is a film featuring actors reading some of the most dramatic, inspiring, yet seldom-heard words from great Americans.
These are everyday people who spoke out for social change. Their words are no less stirring today - a time when all of us again are called to stand up, to speak out, to demand reform, to demand that our country discard the rotting trappings of governance by greed and again stand proud and clean, a democracy created for, of and by we, the people.
The United States of America declared its people free, free to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We actually wrote that as part of our societal goal -
the pursuit of happiness. Not the struggle to survive, not the hunt for the almighty dollar, not the chance to have more than your neighbor. The goal was happiness. We lost sight of that.
I demand it. I demand to be allowed to pursue happiness. I demand it for you, too.
I am willing to work for it. You have to work, too. But our government was established for us - not for a few CEOs, not for Wall Street, not for the people with the most money, the most influence. It was not intended to tax us into submission, to conquer the world, to impose our form of government on everyone else. It was not intended to support corrupt and bloated industry.
We have lost our way. What I've seen of these performances convinces me it's not impossible to find our way back. We have to be willing to speak.