Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Because we are *still* Americans

folkmew asked, in a reply to smallship1:

If Bush is elected again how will I be able to say I’m an American to any of my friends overseas?

Because Bush isn’t America.

Good, hardworking, decent folk all over the country are America. Honest, plain-spoken, determined people, both Democrats and Republicans, dedicated to the principles of freedom and justice are America. Helpful, compassionate, community-oriented people, in cities and on farms, are America.

When a neighbor reaches out to a neighbor, there you find us. When people pitch in together for the good of their families, their neighborhoods, and their communities, there you find us. When people do the right thing for no reason other than its the right thing to do, there you find us. When the law protects the individual from the mob, there you find us.

Bush and his crowd are just a passing thing, in the great wash of history. There are many ways, too many to list, where they are bad for us, and bad for the world, but they too shall pass, and the ideal that is America shall remain.

Because America isn’t a man. It isn’t a political party. It isn’t an ideology.

America is a belief in a better future, in a rule of law, and in the idea that no matter how divided we become over matters of religion, race, or political ideology, we have the right and responsibility to peacefully work toward change.

Right now, the American Dream may be a bit tarnished. Sometimes its hard to see. Sometimes you can be so frustrated that you don’t know how to go on.

But we will go on. We will go on working to ensure that the principles that made America an ideal do not vanish, do not falter, do not perish from the earth.

There’s work to be done. And we will do it, no matter who sits in the halls of government. Because we are Americans. Even now. Even today.

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41 Comments

  1. I liked that entry very much. Did you know that the constitution of Switzerland is based on the constitution of America and some (US)indian tradition ?

    • No, I didn’t, but that’s facinating. Thanks!

    • Tell me more --

      • Around 1840 Switzerland had no constitution. There were about 15 states (cantons). So a commission was founded to write a constitution. The traveled to America and they had a meeting with some indians a well. In 1848 Switzerland had a constitution was a federal state. The Swiss government is a group of seven “Bundesr├Ąte (minister)”. Every year the Presiden is elected out of the 7. It is a tradition that the “older” ones are elected to Presidents before the “younger” ones are elected…

        • *nods* That the constitution wasn’t ratified until much, much later -- but I believe there had been a number of tries at a federalization, including a Napoleonic code, wasn’t there?

          Yes, I love the Bundesraete -- 7 “Presidents” and they choose their leader amongst themselves. (And have elected more than one woman to it since women got the vote in 1975!)

          I’ve added you to my friends list -- welcome! (I’m sure you know the LJ handle reference…)

  2. Extra snuggles for the smart man … may I link to this later?

  3. Added to memories. Thank you!

  4. Yes, it’s still beautiful.

  5. This is a wonderful post.

  6. I needed that, thank you. Added to memories. *hug*

  7. I shall save it and show it to all my Canadian friends when I move up there.

  8. Wonderful post! *big hugs* Thank you for writing it!

  9. What was it Winston Churchill said? “Our darkest hour, our finest hour”? Now it is that time for us. Our darkest hour because of our country’s so-called leadership. Our finest hour because of the people who will stay and perservere and stick to the ideal we know and love as America.

    • Darkest hour?

      Before calling the present America’s “darkest hour,” it’s a good idea to look at some history books. During the Civil War, Maryland (which never seceded) was under martial law. During World War I, German-Americans were persecuted and critics of the war were jailed. During World War II, American citizens of Japanese extraction were forcibly relocated from their homes to internment camps. And these things happened under three widely admired (I’d say overrated) Presidents: Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt.

      Remembering this serves on the one hand, to avoid hyperbole about the present situation, and on the other hand, to remind ourselves that worse not only can happen here, it has.

  10. ceo

    Gorgeous. I’m linking to this.

  11. It’s a nice post. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans no longer appear to believe that America means what you and I wish it meant, and what it used to mean.

    • Then, as I said, we have work to do. We might have to convince them one person at a time. It may take years, but that’s what’s in front of us.

  12. Yes.

    And thank you.

    (Followed the link from ‘s journal)

  13. Thank you. I don’t know how much I believe it yet, but I needed to hear it, and hopefully soon will be able to believe it.

  14. I wish I could take comfort in this.

    But I can’t believe it. Not the important parts of it. First of all, America is made up of people, not ideas. The ideas have traditionally gone hand in hand with the people — the peope nurtured specific ideas, which shaped the next generation of people. Only now the ideas held by a majority of the people are so alien to what American ideas used to be that I don’t see any connection, nor any way to teach effectively so that the next generation gets them back. Especially since the ideas of hate and superstition and abandonment of responsibility are so much easier and more seductive than those of reason and tolerance and effort. I don’t think the “work to be done” will ever work, and I’m *tired*. I don’t want to break myself on a task that won’t get anywhere. I’d break myself willingly if I thought it would genuinely turn America back into the country I love but I don’t think it will. I don’t think anything can.

    I know I’m a coward. My instincts are more to flee than to fight, and I am so afraid of uncertainty that, like Kerry, I will defeat myself while there is still technically a chance, if it isn’t a chance I can believe in my guts. I don’t like that about myself, but it’s true. Rule of law, the rights of the individual, government of the people, by the people and for the people, may have started with America but it’s spread by now to other places. If the old home of freedom can no longer support it, I don’t want to go down with the ship. I want to cling to one of its daughters, who remember better what America has forgotten about what values matter.

    “The melody is over, but the echos linger on
    In the seeds of life we planeted ‘gainst the dying of the sun.
    The echo’s growing stronger, as it calls of Man’s rebirth
    And a score of worlds are singing now the songs of distant Earth.”

  15. Oh, please.
    As long as you guys still have that notion of being superiour you WILL indeed have difficulties with the rest of the world.
    What you so sentimentally try to describe is called “humanity”, it’s not an American trade mark but a human ideal you’ll find now and then everywhere in the world.

    • Um, yeah, have to agree with this.

      When a neighbor reaches out to a neighbor…etc…there you find us.

      Yes, true, but here you also find Spaniards and Chinese and hell, probably even Iraquis.

      • I don’t believe this was to say that Americans are these things as opposed to other countries and people -- it was Americans are these things as opposed to what we feel ashamed of, in this case Bush. We are not Bush, and if we don’t agree with his apparently values and/or many of his actions and if we tried to keep him from a second term, we should not be ashamed. That’s what I take this as.

      • Why are you reviling _all_ people here in the US as a group hive-mind of universally arrogant and stupid people who don’t deserve to live? Seems to me you’re practicing the very things you’re accusing us of. We are _all_ individuals here and frankly, anyone intelligent enough to be in this particular LJ community is highly unlikely to deserve the harshness you’re dealing out here. We all know we all share the same humanity. Surely we can all agree on at least that.

        • Y’know, I don’t recall reviling anyone, saying anyone doesn’t deserve to live, or dealing out any harshness. And in fact the person I was responding to didn’t do any of that either. So you must be responding to someone else’s comment altogther, and this is obviously some kind of glitch in LJ’s comment sending function. Cheers!

          • You are right, here; I apologize for going on the offensive. I didn’t mean to attack you personally and I certainly should have either thought out my response more carefully or refrained from butting in altogether. I find anymore that I have a hot button about anyone from _any_ country (such as Iraq, for example) getting slammed just for being from somewhere unpopular, and Americans are currently the popular ones to hate. People are still individuals and nobody deserves to be discriminated against because the country they come from has bad leadership.
            Autographedcat’s point which seemed to get missed here, was not saying we’re better than everyone else but that it’s a scary time, here, and we need all the reassurance we can find that we are still ourselves, we will survive the scary times ahead and we will change things for the better. We are American people and that is _not_ a bad thing; we are _not_ Bush and we do not all hold his values.
            (sorry, I accidentally posted this originally under it_aint_easy’s account…apologies!)

          • Yeah, it certainly seems to me that A-cat’s intention wasn’t to declare that we Americans have nothing to fear because we’re inherently superior. On the contrary, his post seemed more designed to say “Don’t give in to despair”. It is a very dark moment for many of us in the US, and we need to help each other to emotionally rally. The basics of the country’s founding — Democracy, the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, etc. — are still things to believe in, and things to be proud of.. even if we have to fight for them against our own government.

        • What said. I think that was meant to go to instead.

        • *hugs* Hard as it may be, let’s try and keep our calm. We’re all friends here, even when we disagree.

          A lot of us are hurting right now. This election was very close, and a lot of us aren’t happy about the way it turned out. But it’s still our country, and it’s values are still my values, and I’m still willing to work for making sure it keeps living up to its promise. Some people won’t get that. Some of them will be hardcore Democrats who think i’m being a pollyanna and ignoring the peril. Some of them will be hardcore Republicans who can’t imagine how my values and their values have anything in common.

          But the things we have in common are greater than the things that divide us. If we can stop long enough to find that common ground, we might get past this bitter division. That’s the hard part. that’s the road ahead.

          Take some time to hurt, and to grieve. But not too long. There’s still lots to be done.

          • Honest, plain-spoken, determined people, both Democrats and Republicans, dedicated to the principles of freedom and justice are America.

            You said it: both Democrats and Republicans. And 51% of these people voted for Bush. (11% of registered Dems voted for Bush, 9% of registered Repubs voted for Kerry.) The Dem message isn’t getting enough traction among these honest, determined people, and you have to ask yourselves: why?

            Don’t worry. Four years from now you’ll be able to look back and say: “Well, this wasn’t so bad. This is still my country.”

      • Yes, but I wasn’t talking abou them. I think summed up perfectly what I was talking about.

    • Absolutely -- I read this as including it as part of the best of America, not denying it as being part of the best of the rest of the world as well. Your reading clearly varies.

    • Please don’t take offense, but…this isn’t about you guys. Yeah, these are attributes that good people all over the world value, and no denying.

      But what i’m talking about us people in this country getting our own house in order. It’s our family dispute, and someone needs to point out what it is that this family should value.

  16. Thanks for sharing

  17. Heartfelt thoughts. Much needed words of encouragement after the results of Tuesday’s Presidential and Congressional
    elections. And after all those state Constitutional amendments. Thanks, Autographed Doc.

    So many possible things to say in response. None of them at all optimistic. It’s just beginning to sink in, as
    9/11 took its time sinking in. Maybe I’ll toss out a few of today’s thoughts and head back to my coffin.

    What America means is being redefined. Remember “activist” judges viewing the Constitution as an evolving document,
    rather than as something carved in tablets of stone? It’s a question of who’s in charge of the redefining.

    For many people, those who have certain incurable diseases, it’s a confirmation of their early death sentence.
    Whatever tiny chance they might have had of help from stem cell research is delayed for at least four more years.

    As far as the future direction the redefining of America takes, think of how many Supreme Court and other justices
    will be appointed in the next four years. Think more like forty more years of effects from the voting, not four.

    Ann O., American in mourning.

    • I think you’ve clearly outlined the problem with “evolving document” approach -- you may not always like those doing the evolution. I’d rather there be no redefining. If you want to evolve the Constitution, do it the right way -- via amendment. It’s been done many times.

      Fortunately for all of us, Bush’s judges are much less likely to be “evolutionists.”

  18. You’re right, I did misread the meaning of the original post. At first glance, it read like a paean to uniquely American qualities, which always makes me suspicious (my own “hot button,” I guess). Apologies to both you and Acat.

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