Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘#AmericanDreams’

Post-inauguration, the news is flooded with articles on the likelihood (or not) of unity in America, and even some on the failure of America as an ideal, as a dream. No matter what, some say, it will never be what it was again.

That may be true. But what if it can be better?

The Japanese have an art, Kintsugi. The art of broken things, of finding beauty in imperfection.

Rather than being thrown away, damaged pottery is rebuilt, pieced together with lacquer and gold binding the seams.* The results celebrate the history of the piece, not only what it once was but the damage it experienced and the conviction that it can be rebuilt into something beautiful. That it is worth saving.

“Some four or five centuries ago in Japan, a lavish technique emerged for repairing broken ceramics. Artisans began using lacquer and gold pigment to put shattered vessels back together. This tradition, known as kintsugi, meaning “golden seams” (or kintsukuroi, “golden repair”), is still going strong.”

― Kintsugi, The Japanese Art of Mending Broken Ceramics with Gold

“The restored ceramic becomes a symbol of fragility, strength, and beauty. Many see Kintsugi as a powerful metaphor for life, where nothing is ever truly broken.”

* * *

What has kept humanity going through lifetimes of broken dreams? Hope, faith, and the deeply-held conviction that progress is possible, that something strong can be built on what’s good about the past. I hold that hope now, for us.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places–and there are so many–where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

― Howard Zinn

* * *

* Commitment and cash, essentially; there are probably worse ways to describe what we need right now to rebuild.

Read Full Post »

Dear Republicans, from Georgia to the White House,

Congratulations, you won. Happily, that’s not the end of your journey. Winning means nothing in isolation. Instead, you’ve landed a much harder job. Politics isn’t about the race for office, it’s about what comes next.

You fought for the chance to govern. You won because you managed to convince a majority of voters that, for the moment, you were their best option for a brighter future. Go you.

What’s your prize? Celebrate, sure, but then it’s time to pay up. With great power, and all that. You are now accountable for the life, liberty and happiness* of the American people. Even the ones who didn’t vote for you. Even the ones who disagree with you. And especially the ones who will come after you.

A brief suggestion? Focus on what’s best about our way of life. This is America, imperfect but always striving for more. Look to build open, safe and productive communities, with educated people, well-fed children, healthy places to live and work, and the free and constructive exchange of ideas. Diversity is strength, and if you don’t agree with that ask yourself: did you create the iPhone, go to the Moon, build an airplane, invent video games, the Super Soaker, or make that amazing touchdown in last year’s Super Bowl? I know I didn’t, but I’m proud to come from a country of people who did.

We may disagree on methods, but look far enough down the road and we may agree on the goals. We are much more alike than not. Find those points of overlap and use them to aim for something better.

Don’t think you need to worry about those who did not support you? Take a look at your margins of victory, then ask what would happen if half of your constituents went elsewhere overnight. (Heck, ask Detroit.) That’s half of the people who pump gas, grow food, and teach in schools. It’s also half of those who keep the lights on, pick up the trash, police the streets, set bones, dispense medication, own businesses, build houses and, oh yes, pay taxes.

Even within parties there are diverse views and significant divides. Every day, we work together across those lines to make our communities function.

That’s the job.

So again, congratulations. Time to get to work.

. . . . . . . . . .

* Sounds a lot like healthcare, rights and economic wellbeing, doesn’t it?

 

Read Full Post »