FIRST THOUGHTS Wednesday January 11, 2017, Reflection by Mary E. Latela
I believe that Julia Cameron suggested a morning exercise of about 10 minutes of free writing. As I wake up, I am bursting with ideas. I am captivated by the story of The Barefoot Lawyer about which I will later write. At the same time, TV is buzzing as members of the new Cabinet are being questioned by the committee.
But last night, I experienced one of those rare and beautiful moments while watching and listening to President Obama’s Farewell Address.
I feel so blessed to be an American on this night January 10, 2015, as President Obama ends his term of office. The subject is democracy. See the quiet dignity of people at work. See the power of teachers to mold and support bright children with challenging, powerful goal. Notice the way contentment comes to ordinary people working together to demand it.
This is our living experiment in self-government and there is nothing like it. Our strength comes from the power of free people. We come from a more perfect union and we are called to expand and solidify that union.
We have individual goals and dreams – unalienable rights. And we have shared goals and dreams – to work together for the greater good for the common good.
Those who fought on the beaches of Omaha, Iwo Jima, Iran, Afghanistan – were living out our commitment to democracy. Those who marched on Selma, walk on today, the freedom riders, “marching to Jerusalem,” to a state of community, true friendship, free of deep animosity, loathe to take up arms.
We have the capacity to change. Otherwise, our first Fathers might not have been so dedicated to forming this morning perfect union. Democracy is not a simple path or a simple goal, because it means that ALL, not just SOME will participate and reap the benefits of neighbor plus neighbor, protection from vile selfishness.
We are called to be citizens, first. Democracy involves understanding that this government by the people, of the people, and for the people, shall not perish as long as we look around, look from side to side, and help one another to achieve their most precious goals.
It’s true. We need to awaken to any attempts to weaken our undergirding of democracy.
At the end of last evening’s magnetic talk, there were tears, there were farewells from all – the first family – Barack, Michele, their daughter, and Joe and Jill Biden – and the many who took in this precious moment. For this brief moment in time, all is well, and hope is evident.
In our heart of hearts we believe that together, working for justice, helping other lands where justice and denigration of citizens has halted progress, forging dangerous alliances, built on might and not on community, we must remember who we are. We are not the world’s police force. We are – as it were – guides for the blind, teachers for the uneducated, role models for our young people, sometimes lost in a sea of violence and fear. We live and work in the real world, and little by little, we can change our own self-interests, widen into compassion for all.
Yes, WE CAN!