Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Nation of the Big Shoulders

CNN.com - A mother and the president - Aug 15, 2005

CNN.com - A mother and the president - Aug 15, 2005: "But the people who did come made it seem different from other antiwar spasms. A retired postal worker drove from San Diego for 26 hours. A local soldier who had just returned from Iraq appeared with his mom. And a truck driver -- a former Marine who had never been to an antiwar protest before -- decided to pull his 18-wheeler full of frozen pizzas into Crawford just to shake Sheehan's hand."

This line from Amanda Ripley's piece made me choke up a bit this morning. I hate choking up at six in the morning. Makes the coffee taste thick and bland. Marlboro smoke tastes like the bottom of an ashtray...

Cindy Sheehan's protest -- as with any good and honest protest -- strikes a chord with people, obviously. Retired postal workers. Recent returned combat troops. And a former Marine in a big rig swinging by just to shake a woman's hand.

It is in the sense of populism that all causes gain equal footing with the things they seek to change. It is the reason why "mob rule" protests like those against the World Bank, the WTO, abortion, and poverty often fail miserably. Unless one reaches out to those who really make the decisions in their government with their ballots and their tax dollars, no cause will ever succeed. It is the truckers, the waitresses, the anything-but-average farmer, the pulpwood cutter, and the tradesmen who make a cause worth fighting, if only because they are willing to extend a hand in support.

America is not filled with crazed, right-wing zealots, with only crazed, left-wing zealots as a foil. The U.S. is so much bigger than that. We are, after all, the People. The concept of "the People," as defined by the Constitution of the United States, are to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

It in this pursuit of a more perfect union and the Blessings of Liberty that one finds the heart and soul of the American people. It is not broadcast by the talking heads at FOX or Air America, not advocated by the Democrats, Progressives, Liberatarians, Republicans, Communists, or the Greens. No one ascribed-to ideology holds a monopoly on American thought or consciousness. Establishing that glorious concept of "We, the People" exists in a simple handshake surrounded by free will and independent thought.

And that's why I got choked up this morning.

It's nice to see truck driver hold up a massive pizza delivery simply to extend a grieving mother and antiwar protester a handshake. That means so much more than any meeting Sheehan could ever have with George W. Bush, Karl Rove, or even the UN Security Council. This represents the best America has to offer the world, in terms of standing up for your beliefs when others tell you to sit down and shut up.

Chicago; by Carl Sandburg
HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
faces of women and children I have seen the marks
of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.


JWJ

3 comments:

Lupe said...

Heya Baby!
Lng time no hear...or post...or something! Working on getting my own blog, but stupid ex is still like stalking me. Thanks for the help registering for classes...heard a 16-year-old was like macking on you or something this summer...what's the deally-yo??? Still in NYC with sis.

BTW, love the Sandburg poem. And the post:-) Okay...calling...right...now

The ZenFo Pro said...

LOL....woman, where do you get your information? Not even close. Tell your sister I said hi.

Blogger said...

Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigarettes? I'm buying my cigarettes from Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60%.