Thursday, November 04, 2004

Open Letter

My friend Roger wrote an email. Below is my response. I thought posting it here was better than trying to retype all this

My friend (and my friends),

I can assure you that I will not give up. Many people in the office - I have the benefit of working in a liberal office, in a fairly liberal industry - have suggested moving to Canada, which is only an enticing two hours from Seattle. I've been there twice, to Victoria and Vancouver, and it's great. I'm planning on going next summer, to see if I can fulfil one of my childhood dreams: to drive to the Yukon (I was strange, even as a child). My good friend Roman is now a Canadian citizen. But I absolutely will not move to another country.

Despite the right-wing jingosim that questions my patriotism, I love the United States. I love it for everything it is and everything it can be. I love the fact that we were founded on the simple notion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I love that my ancestors came here on tiny ships, escaping a miserable peasant's existence in Poland, Hungary, and Lebanon to try to make a better life. I've stood on Ellis Island, and I touched their names on the wall there, and I imagined them, a hundred years ago, standing on that spot and seeing the New York of opportunity I saw. I love that they could find honest labor, working so their children could go to college, their grandchildren could contribute to society, and their great-grandchildren could become artists. I love that I can say what I want without fear of reprisal from the government. I love our system of government, because I see, as James Madison did, a system ruled not by the tyrranical hand of the majority, but one that inherantly exists to protect the rights of the minorities, whomever they may be.

I look around, and while many states have passed laws banning gay marriage, I recall that Washington state, where I now live, was one of the first states to do so - and was one of the first states to repeal this decision. I see that while emotion, anger, and hatred have catapulted a political party into control, I also see that progressives, who seemed hopelessly mired in infighting as many as two years ago, came together in a way we have not done in a generation. In 2000, Ralph Nader promised us a third choice, an alternative to two candidates who agreed 34 times in one "debate." In 2004, we had John Kerry, labelled as "the most liberal senator in America," because he was, surprise, liberal. And this "liberal" received 48% of the vote, which means that there are a hell of a lot of Americans who do not see liberals as being bad. Nader succeeded.

This is not to say that the road ahead will not be hard. It's going to be a difficult fight, but it's a Revolution we must embrace now, because if we do not, our Brave New World has already been decided for us. We must re-take our language, changing words like "liberal" into something positive. We must stand united, not allowing ourselves to succumb to infighting again. We must continue to organize on grassroots levels, both online and in our backyards. We must seek out others who believe as we do, and empower ourselves to make a change. We must demand accountability of our elected officials. The neo-cons have a mess they must deal with for the next four years. There are questions to be answered about the pretenses for war in Iraq. There is the matter of unguarded, missing explosives. And, no matter how you spin it, the economy still sucks and the defecit has almost reached its cap.

2004 was just the beginning. We are fighting a well-oiled political machine that has been organizing since Goldwater's defeat in 1964, and has quietly subverted the media to its own ends. But they do not own the Internet, and more importantly, they do not own the power of thought. Information and reason are our weapons, and our will to overcome our strength.

My wife pointed out to me that it's the people in the so-called "red" states who are the ones we're trying to fight for. People who are poor, and have been taken advantage of by the neo-conservative movement. On one hand, it's tempting to leave them to fend for themselves - they deserve the tyrant for whom they voted. But on the other hand, the neo-con's decisions will influence us as well, and in order to protect our own interests and rights, we must fight back, and we must carry the people in the red states with us.

I refuse to move to another country. I love the United States, I love the principles upon which it was founded, and the opportunities it has. I do not like the execution of many of these things, but that does not mean the ideal itself is not worth fighting for. I won't leave. I will fight. This is not the end - this is the beginning

My parting words are from Barack Obama, who will, I predict, one day be president.

"That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles."

I learned long ago that miracles do not happen, and prayers are not answered, unless you buckle down, roll back your sleeves, and get to work.

1 comment:

Liz said...

At my darkest hour (in a great long while) you have given me the gift of hope. It is in times like these that I am struck at my fortune of having you in my life. That, and I have to say, it's nice to have you cut through your own rhetoric once and a while and see the real Jason shine through. I do believe that email rivaled Obama's speech.