Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Speaking Out

All the time I was in college and graduate school, growing more liberal and progressive in my thinking, I was being told that liberal minded people don't speak out on their beliefs because they don't want to force their views on others, but prefer for those others to develop their own thoughts.  Well, the results of that thinking are now manifesting in this country!  We hear over and over that the country is primarily a moderate nation, but what is the dominate voice we hear - radical right extremes!  Rescind the voter registration legislation, send the "aliens" home, find ways to keep minorities - women, people of color, LGTB persons.

Let's think about those things.  Why rescind voter registration legislation?  The only reason is to keep non-whites from influencing legislation and political policy.  There is no other reason for this move - and make no mistake, Tea Party-ers have indeed indicated this is something they want.

Aliens?  Does someone who comes to his country as an undocumented, come from another planet?  Is our government keeping secret planetary travel that allows these extraterrestrials to come and to make us want to sent them home?   Of course not!  And to anyone who thinks about the history of this nation, who upholds the near-sacred icon of this country - the Statue of Liberty - they know this nation was built on the backs of undocumented immigrants - some brought against their will - people that until the modern era were allowed to come here and build this country.  Think of the Chinese brought to build railroads, think of the Irish, Jewish, Polish people who came and helped build this nation.  Perhaps we need to call to mind repeatedly the words of the Statue - "Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free . . .

What scares these people is the thought that the white nation founded - one might point out over the slaughtered bodies of Native Americans - will be subsumed under the minorities brought in the help build the infrastructure of the nation, and increase the wealth of whites willing to do anything to get more wealthy, more powerful - be that slavery, cheating on contracts, reneging on treaties - all in the name of "manifest destiny."

It's time we acknowledge our past, our dark secrets (that aren't even secrets), and start maturing beyond that domineering, empire-creating mentality.  It's time to recognize that blacks, whites, Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and women, straight and gay, have all contributed to the legacy of this nation.  Let's start by having progressives speak out with as much power and vehemence as the ultra-conservatives.  Or at the very least, let progressives learn to use all the tools available to silence the hate-mongers on the right.  First amendment rights do not include inciting rebellion, and second amendment isn't an excuse to allow people to develop personal arsenals and to form private, white-supremacist militias that have in fact spawned domestic terrorists.  I have no problem with someone owning guns, but no sportsman takes an automatic, weapons-grade rifle to shoot game.  I have no problem with someone sharing their alternate view of this nation's direction, so long as they understand and honor that it is indeed the right of every citizen to speak their mind.

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