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Wed Sep 5, 2012, 08:27 AM


A Clarion Call for a New Democratic Era

Last edited Wed Sep 5, 2012, 10:02 AM - Edit history (2)

MICHELLE OBAMA'S speech last night before the Democratic convention was a clarion call for a new Democratic era. It was due notice that generations of Americans are poised to move forward -- from the promises and opportunities of our nation, to their struggles and challenges to redeem those; -- and, to the hoped-for realization of those dreams and aspirations.

Moreover, as our First Lady affirmed the struggles and challenges that she and her husband, Barack Obama, have faced on the road to the highest responsibility in the land, she gave voice and light to the struggles and challenges that her husband has dedicated most of his life to resolving and triumphing over for countless Americans from all stations of life.

If I close my eyes and listen to her testimonial and short history of their lives together, I can see generations standing before her; proud of her inspiring words, but anxious to get to the actual realization of those dreams and aspirations Mrs. Obama so lovingly and convincingly conveyed. I can also see generation after generation standing behind her; energized by her enthusiasm and optimism, but anxious, as well, to move past the cynicism and deliberate obstruction from those without vision or concern for the future to their promised successes.

In the hall filled with Democrats and others, I could see countless men and women who have pulled themselves up from the hard and firm roots of our nation to bask in the energy and sustaining light of our party's ambitions for their ultimate growth and blossoming.

There isn't the same sense of just a handful of fortunate ones having arrived at the gate; there's been a bumper crop of minority youth, women, physically-challenged Americans, and others who have little memory or expectation of some deliberate oppression or some organized epidemic of discrimination sanctioned by our government and encouraged from the highest levels of our government. This is a generation of Americans who have come to expect that there will be opportunities and successes in their lives; and, who have come to expect that they can effectively defend against interference and noise which threatens to deny them those opportunities and successes.

Cynicism is now a luxury, as Bill Clinton used to say. Cynicism is mostly an imposture, used opportunistically by those opposing and resisting transformational change in America as a lure away from the path and from the realization of that defining progress we seek. It's no coincidence or accident that those in our party who have taken up the banner of opportunity and progress regard cynicism as an anathema to those efforts.

It's also no coincidence or accident that those who would stand in the way of progress are fully invested in cultivating doubts and suspicion of our collective efforts in government. That contrast between the aspirations of our two major political parties couldn't be clearer. Democrats are invested in hope; republicans are invested in denigrating, belittling, and squashing those hopes.

Yet, generations and generations are now at the gate and ready to step into whatever opportunities for responsibility we can offer; more Americans than ever before in our history have taken advantage of the gifts generations in the past have placed before them and are poised for personal greatness; poised to take that next step to assuming responsibility for generations to follow.

Those who have invested themselves in blocking these classes of Americans from opportunity have little but avarice, antipathy, and acrimony to keep them company. If they can knock down those in the lead -- the folks opening the doors ahead of us -- they can forestall progress and change. They are a desperate and threatened cabal of obstinacy. The American dream, for many of them, is just a political prop and justification of their own excess; perverted into a defense of their own sweet selves and their fading preeminence.

In this election, we are privileged to have a pragmatic optimist to champion our Democratic causes into the next presidential term; into the future. Barack Obama has remained incredibly focused on our futures; even as he defends his political one. It's remarkable just how many of the issues, initiatives, and ideals that he's represented since his first presidential run are still at the forefront of his political efforts -- even in his campaign for reelection. His rhetoric and his mindset is firmly focused on us; the American people who he represents in office. He's determined to capture and deliver that American dream for as many of us as he's able; for republicans and Democrats alike.

Michelle spoke to that last night. For those who've witnessed this lady in action, it should be clear that she has been one of Barack Obama's toughest critics. It should mean a great deal to us, therefore, that she believes our President is the best suited to lead us to those things we aspire to.

Indulge me a bit, read through, and let this passage from Michelle Obama's convention speech resonate against what I've said here . . .

Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it . and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we're from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity . you do not slam it shut behind you . you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.

He's the same man who started his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work . because for Barack, success isn't about how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives.

He's the same man who, when our girls were first born, would anxiously check their cribs every few minutes to ensure they were still breathing, proudly showing them off to everyone we knew.

That's the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night, patiently answering their questions about issues in the news, and strategizing about middle school friendships.

That's the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him.

The letter from the father struggling to pay his bills . from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won't cover her care . from the young person with so much promise but so few opportunities.

I see the concern in his eyes...and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, "You won't believe what these folks are going through, Michelle . it's not right. We've got to keep working to fix this. We've got so much more to do."

I see how those stories our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams I see how that's what drives Barack Obama every single day.

And I didn't think it was possible, but today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago . even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met.

I love that he's never forgotten how he started.

I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he's going to do, even when it's hard especially when it's hard.

I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as "us" and "them" he doesn't care whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above . he knows that we all love our country. and he's always ready to listen to good ideas . he's always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.

And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we're all sweating it when we're worried that the bill won't pass, and it seems like all is lost Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise.

Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward . with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.

And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here .and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.

But eventually we get there, we always do.

We get there because of folks like my dad . folks like Barack's grandmother . men and women who said to themselves, "I may not have a chance to fulfill my dreams, but maybe my children will . maybe my grandchildren will."

So many of us stand here tonight because of their sacrifice, and longing, and steadfast love . because time and again, they swallowed their fears and doubts and did what was hard.

So today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming or even impossible let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation . it's who we are as Americans . it's how this country was built.

And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us . if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button . then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids.

And if so many brave men and women could wear our country's uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights . then surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights . surely, we can get to the polls and make our voices heard on Election Day.

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire . if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores . if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote . if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time. if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream . and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love . then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.

Because in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.

That is what has made my story, and Barack's story, and so many other American stories possible.

I couldn't have said it better, Michelle.

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Reply A Clarion Call for a New Democratic Era (Original post)
bigtree Sep 2012 OP
deutsey Sep 2012 #1
bigtree Sep 2012 #2
Doctor_J Sep 2012 #3
deutsey Sep 2012 #5
bigtree Sep 2012 #4
bigtree Sep 2012 #6
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bigtree Sep 2012 #7

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2012, 08:44 AM

1. For the first time in a while, I heard my own story reflected in political speeches from last night

Last edited Wed Sep 5, 2012, 10:49 AM - Edit history (1)

I come from a poor, working-class background, the first to go to college (worked my way through with loans and grants), and am struggling to hold on to the modest middle class life my wife and I are providing our three kids.

I'm not interested in being rich, I just want to earn an honest and fair income (doing meaningful work) that helps us maintain the quality of our lives and that provides enough of a cushion where we're not sweating it week to week paying bills.

I'm concerned about the world my children are going to inherit. I've struggled hard to help give them a better childhood than I had (one marked by poverty and dysfunction), but I don't know what the future holds for them...global climate change, a shitty economy, a fracturing nation, unaffordable costs for higher education, etc.

My grandmother didn't finish grade school, was a Rosie the Riveter during WWII, has suffered some terrible setbacks in her life, and yet through her love and hard work, I've had a better life than she ever had. I want to do the same for my children, but I'm not very optimistic at times no matter how hard my wife and I work, especially with the likes of Ryan and Romney pushing their economic snake oil.

I could go on, but I heard so many things in Michelle's story and Castro's story that I, as a white man, could identify with. I know there's a lot of hard work to be done to do anything to translate those stories into political action, but it was refreshing to hear them, nonetheless.

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Response to deutsey (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 5, 2012, 08:51 AM

2. and you know, deutsey


. . . I could feel that connection she was making in her remarks to the majority of Americans' lives with every fiber of my being. It was the most profound political address I've witnessed. I'm not surprised at all that you saw your own story in her remarks. She was truly inspired.

Thanks for your perspective, deutsey.

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Response to deutsey (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 5, 2012, 09:18 AM

3. The devil is in the details


as you have said. To actually realize what you're hoping for, and what last night's speeches expounded on, is an uphill battle. We are fighting against tremendous forces, most of which we can't even see. And we can't do anything legally about the ones we CAN see (voter purges, propaganda apparatus that would make Goebbels blush, environmental disasters...)

The convention is very hopeful and I think the president will be re-elected comfortably. But if anything like what you're hoping for is going to take place, the president is going to have to be the instigator, or at least the leader of the push. I think we will know by mid-February how things will play out. If he's talking about health care for all and infrastructure rejuvenation and voting rights and strengthening labor, he'll have hoards of citizens behind him, will shape the Congress to get some things done, and will set the table for another win in 2016 for O'Malley/Warren/Castro. If OTOH he's talking about deficit reduction and school vouchers and job creators, it's over for at least another generation. He'll suffer another massacre in the mid-terms and the agenda will be Reaganesque.

Here's hoping!

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 5, 2012, 10:48 AM

5. Agree 100%

I am hopeful but extremely wary.

Political speeches have a way of painting pretty pictures but not in creating realities.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2012, 10:03 AM

4. kick


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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2012, 02:21 PM

6. kick


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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2012, 03:40 PM

7. .


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