Saturday, January 28, 2017

Building OUR America

 Written on January 21, 2017, the day of the international Women's March.
Today, for many Americans, it feels like we are now faced with a federal government that is hell-bent on reversing the progress of the past eight years.  And we are tempted to despair.

We do not have the government of our dreams?  Well then.  Face what is, and move forward.

"Get over it?"  Never.  We accept the reality of the situation as it now stands; we do not relinquish our values, our vision, our principles of what America is and should be:  a place of liberty and justice for all; a place of inclusivity, not exclusivity; a place that sees itself as part of the wider world rather than an island set apart.

We hold our vision.  We stand by our vision.  And, to the best of our ability, we live our vision.

When we see civil rights ignored, minimized, or eroded, we stand up for the equality and basic human rights of all people.

When we see LGBT people spoken of in a derogatory way, we speak up and affirm that they are our neighbors, our friends, our family, and that we will not tolerate any treatment of them as less than that.

When we see immigrants treated with suspicion and hostility, we remind everyone that America has always been a nation of immigrants--and no, our ancestors did NOT all arrive here "legally."

When we hear rhetoric about "America first!" and "America great!" we continue to recognize that while it is our homeland and our beloved nation, America is just one nation among many, not God's Chosen Nation Among Every Place In The Cosmos.  We are all citizens of Planet Earth.  We are all human.

When we see people being ridiculed for their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, we hold fast to the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion and of religious expression, including the freedom to hold to no religion at all.  There is no one true religion in the United States of America, and we will do everything in our power to keep it that way.

We do what we can, where we can, whenever we can.  We hold to our vision, we speak and live our vision, and so we eventually shift the collective vision.

This is not to say that government policies have no role.  Yes, they have an important role.  Yes, a social safety net matters.  Yes, protecting basic human rights matters.  Ultimately, we need those protections established firmly and universally across the nation.

Meanwhile, we each do what we can, where we can, with what resources we have, to weave that net for one another.  We speak up, we stand up, we support and encourage and empower.  We live our vision, moment by moment, day by day, in this time, in this place.

As President Obama reminded us in 2008:  WE are the ones we've been waiting for.

It is in the lives we live, the choices we make, moment by moment, day by day, that we build the America of our dreams.