Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Last night Barack Obama announced that he had passed the delegate milestone and declared himself to be the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.
Hillary Clinton made no concession, though earlier in the day she did indicate that she would consider accepting an offer to run as vice-president. The wondrous thing about all this is that no matter which Democratic candidate received the nomination, the result is historic.

The result is also heartening to those of us who believe that our country suffers every time the short sighted, grab-it-all-now, America-first-and-only, to-hell-with-anybody-who-believes-otherwise Republicans wield their power. Our hope is that the Democrats, who have repeatedly dashed our wishes against the rocks of political expediency will, this time, truly deliver on their promises of service to the citizens of the US and the world by not shuffling those promises to the back burner and succumbing, once again, to the ambitious powers that be.

My hope is that Barack Obama will bring to his presidency the same kind of moral strength the Jimmy Carter brought to Washington. Local right wingers hold that Jimmy Carter’s presidency was a laughable waste, but that’s just one more sign of the enforced ignorance brought on by totally partisan non-thinking.

Carter was as close to a truly moral man as any that ever held the office. He brought with him a great intelligence and a deep understanding of the risks our history as unbridled consumers and polluters pose to our own future. At this point in history, it is crucial for some president to take office with a drive to deal seriously with the dangers humankind poses to the well-being of the planet.

The Republican party has made it clear through their every act, right down to the Bush “Clean Air Act” that enables rather than curbs air pollution, and refusals to act – note the many years of denial of global warming and the lack of action even after admitting it’s real -- that the economic growth of Wall Street holds primacy over any concerns for the environment.

That leaves a mile wide opening for the Democrats to step up to the plate and lead the nation into its potential place as the world’s leader in green technologies – obviously the planning and manufacturing wave of the future and the potential savior of our economy as well as our environment.

If Jimmy Carter were coming into the presidency right now, I have no doubt whatever that this would be the direction he would take. My hope is that Obama’s pledge of change and claim to innovative leadership will take him in this direction, too, and that all those young voters who have united behind him are prepared to step forward in eagerness to serve their nation in a new way.

We just passed through the Memorial Day week-end; our nation’s traditional day of recognition of the sacrifices made by the men and women who have given their lives in military service to their country. Every year, we go through those same motions and every year we willingly send more young men and women into danger in that service.

And just as regularly, I go through the same process of wishing that we would spend as much effort in honoring those who have served their country through their lives rather than their deaths.

John Kennedy and Sergeant Shriver gave us a way to serve by creating the Peace Corps. My hope then was that the Peace Corps would actually become the force for peace its name implies. Obama could lead the young people of our nation back in that direction and make that dream come true, too.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed both the strength of Martin Luther King’s dreams and the power of Robert Oppenheimer’s nightmares. For the most part, the leaders of our nation have embraced the latter. My deepest wish is that Obama, the embodiment of Dr. King’s dreams, might lead us toward the use of our strength rather than our power and give coming generations the same level of reverence for service by the living as past generations have reserved for the dead.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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