This is written on inauguration day 2013 — a new beginning for the president and members of Congress, really a new beginning for all of us.
The great thing about the United States of America is that we the people come together again after an election. Maybe a big reason we seem more divisive than the old days, not many years ago (don’t, though, get me started about the ugliness of political campaigns — some of the old ones seemed 10 times worse than currently) is because the nominees for president and VP were selected at the conventions. In other words, we didn’t have two years of what seems like endless electioneering. Instead, we had a few months of hot and heavy campaigning, then life returned to normal. In retrospect, the short cycle was wonderful. Did the right and left news media companies figure this out and lobby for long cycles and primaries, all so that they would have a reason for being? So that they would have years of reporting political stuff instead of three months?
Here’s my inauguration speech:
We are one country. It is time again to help one another, to be a community. A black child shot in the ghetto is our child; a Hispanic kid from a broken family, nested in the gang territories of L.A., trying to figure out which way is up and which way is down, is our kid. Children who are not learning in school are our children, regardless of color, regardless of religion. As to gangs, I know a man — one of the sweetest people I know, now semi-retired from a very successful career — who was once a member of L.A.’s perhaps most notorious gang. He is white, by the way. Redemption is possible. It happens every day, but it often needs a nudge, or even a push. Growing up right or learning needs the community. The children of Newtown are our children. The parents of Newtown are our parents. The insane young men who commit the unspeakable, like the Connecticut and Colorado horrors, are our young, somehow socially disenfranchised, men. Isn’t part of the problem that we are so disconnected and disassociated from real involvement (Facebook is not real, you know) that we can’t help the socially maladjusted? We all seem to make sure we don’t even see them.
The United States is not a land of white old-time Republicans, nor of liberal white Democrats, nor of black, brown or people of any particular color among the rainbow that is the United States. We have a black president and a Hispanic Supreme Court justice, and they were educated at Harvard Law and Princeton, not easy plays to survive, let alone thrive. When we send a young man or woman to war, we don’t ask if they are black or white, Republican or Democrat. They don’t take an oath to parties; they take an oath to the country, to us. If educated and responsible adults don’t become involved in communities and help our poor, our uneducated, even our criminals, and many others, many of whom are trying to make it the best they can, we may reap what we have sown. The United States has always been a racial melting pot. It’s just that the earlier models have drifted into forgetting the history of prejudice against Italians, the Irish, Poles and pretty much all of us, except perhaps the English, who came along before the others and built societies that ultimately marginalized Native Americans, the folks who really got here first.
I believe that now is the time to build our one country anew. (And, by the way, if there is a god of politics, I pray that he or she will somehow magically return the election cycle to its proper three or four months; the forever cycle is not working for me.)