Sunday, September 21, 2008

Letters to Ba'rama #2 "At the Bottom, There's Hope"

OK, Ba’rama. In the last post I appreciated your empathy, your ability, face-to-face, to share with the one in front of you—Amazing! I will likely never stop being impressed by that, that moment in time when we faced each other, when I felt empowered by the soul of Senator Barack Obama at the Cross Orchards in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Thus, today, I’ll appreciate your ability to inspire the grass-roots to empower themselves, a trait I took on years ago in my own writing classrooms as a community college professor. I had the choice to a) empower myself from the knowledge that my students had to pass my required class or b) to go one step further in the recognition that my knowledge of persuasion tactics would make them more powerful citizens. I chose b). The very concept of empowering others to empower themselves makes everything different: that ‘s what you’re doing, and I pray you will be successful on a national scale in the way I’ve been successful (so they say) in my classroom. What could be more meaningful?

Empowerment of others is an art. A gift. An ultimate blessing.

How fortunate that you're where you have the opportunity!

Your understanding of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights as living documents that grow as we grow thrills me, as I’ve not seen much adherence to constitutional law in the last eight years. The Constitution's been used and abused, and that offends me. I’m told I’m “totally out of the box” since my experiences in the Third World have matured me; though not an outlaw, I am a celebrator of our freedoms to license, within our need for restraint as community members. I believe the government has overstepped its function when it interferes in the lives of consenting adults, making personal choices. Responsibly-retired, debt-free, and politically active, I’m deeply empowered by most pages of your book, The Audacity of Hope, even though almost every one requires me to stop and think about your statements: what could be a more telling statement about the quality of a book?

Hooray for you!

So, now, all of a sudden, the other side is spinning its own grassroots appeal, its “soccer-mom-dom,” but, please: Let’s get real. No one on the other side has walked in anybody else’s shoes in years, unless they were stolen from some nameless taxpayer's closet. That side is about money and politics and spin, from the top down. Our stance is equality, about building bridges between the bottom of the beanstalk and the top, fostering mutuality [see my post "Whirling in Teote"]. The non-working “trickle-down” effect has crippled our economy and our international relations. Please, Ba'rama, stay honest, balanced, empathic and empowering!

I’ve been coming from the bottom of the ladder for a long time, as an advocate for the peasants of Nicaragua, deeply abused by American-Empire-Thinking for almost 30 years, and still not addressed realistically by the State Department; your stance for the empowerment of the American citizen in this election empowers both me and “them,” the people we've hurt intrinsically. I call upon you to remember that the “bottom” of our American society is still higher on the opportunity ladder of the world’s people, that the real bottom is the third of the world’s population, sweating for almost ‘nothing,’ living in the perpetual darkness of economic oppression endemic in the peasantry. 90% of Nicaragua is starving right this minute because of our global economic policies.That is a real ‘bottom-line.’ It's no wonder to me that Central American Peasantry has chosen to force the US to live up to its claim to be the Land of Opportunity. Our multinational corporations have been robbing them blind for a century, with government assistance.

So, while I appreciate your ability to empower each of us Americans, I also enjoin you to empower that third of the world’s population. It might help for us to own up to the World Court's verdict against the United States for conducting a "terrorist" operation against the sovereign state of Nicaragua in the Contra War of '80's and to make reparations for that horror, as the Court and most world opinion suggests we do, to show our willingness to walk a more mature and balanced line in the world, to retrieve our tarnished honor. We created that international law which supports that World Court decision: it's way past time to expect of ourselves what we demand of our "enemies." That would be really Real!

When you say that you can’t change Washington alone, but we will, individually, make the difference because we change ourselves, you speak truth and American principles we have almost forgotten: lasting change for truth comes from our personal changes, not just the rules the Senate makes or the continual ignorance of consequences displayed at the highest levels of our power and economic structures. Good Lord, I’m happy to hear a Washington Senator calling for consequences that lift up "Main Street" rather than Wall Street greedheads who've lost their balance and do not deserve a bailout without serious recompense to the North and Central Americans who depend on their supposedly responsible actions for sustenance! At the bottom, there's still hope for the top.

Gracias, CenterDoug

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