Thursday, August 11, 2011

Of The People, By The People And ....

... Instead Of The People!

It has taken me, as well as everyone else I know over age fifty, more than thirty years to get over Watergate. But who really “gets over” Watergate?”  Or, those “big” three assassinations of the ‘60s; of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

Mourning is a process that follows on the heels of a significant, life changing loss. Mourning takes time, often a very long, long time. Managed conscientiously, it paves the way to an acceptance of a new reality. Mourning teaches us things.

New opportunities emerge out of our losses. Still the original wound lingers on. If it was important enough to our lives, the wound may never fully heal; a fact that becomes, after a time, meaningful in and of itself.

I have come to accept that myself, like many others, will never fully recover from what we lost in those assassinations and from Watergate. Still, as Jews proclaim of the Holocaust, “we remember that it may never happen again.” Remembering teaches us things we need to learn.

I’m never going to forget the April, 1968 day I stood by an apartment window in a high rise across from the Pentagon, watching Washington, D.C. burn. And, I am never going to forget the Friday, following the 2008 election of Barak Obama that I finally went into Washington, for the first time since that April day with joy and hope.

Unlike many of my fellow metro riders, also optimistically astir that November, 2008 day, however, I did not presume that the second coming of America’s “Messiah” was finally at hand. I had learned that lesson well.

Washington’s political scene, as long as I, or anyone else has truly known it, is a “game.” And, quite a mean-spirited one a great deal of the time, at that. People should know that and accept it. Maybe this time, after our recent, nasty debt ceiling debating showed, more people will.

How many eyes must we have to see that “We, the people…” are the hope of this country.

There is no coming Messiah!

We, who were yesterday’s youthful “Arab spring” are supposed to be today’s grown-ups, living out the wisdoms of what once were the elders upon whose shoulders we were carried. And, those truths we have come to know ourselves.

Our president is truly, like all others before him, “of the people, by the people, and instead of the people.” Those most invested in either attacking him or living through him are, more than anything else, projecting on to him that which they, at either extreme, are rejecting or wishing for in themselves. Both extremes are a way of using a person, typical of our American-way.

We love to live vicariously through our high profile people. Our own lives don’t seem to be enough to fulfill us. (Also known as co-dependency. With celebrities we do the same, albeit from the distance; same dysfunction, different venue from the one with which one might be sleeping.) So be it.

But, come on, try to get this, if you really be a true citizen of this democracy, stop pointing your fingers in blame at the president or “turning on” to him with your excitement addiction. Instead, try on this new way to think:

“Ask not what your country (or your president) can do for you, but what you can do for it (or him).”

Grow up, if you are even a bit shy of it, and accept that some of our greatest leaders of the second half of the twentieth century are gone! The American Messiah is not coming, again, to save our great and wonderful country. Complaining, blaming etc. are ways to avoid accepting what's real.Let’s mourn these losses and keep learning from them how to be leaders ourselves.

Mourning is not an event, such as was naively attributed to reactions to yesterday’s massive downslide on Wall Street. Mourning is an honorable process that paves our way to learn.

And, it behooves us to do just that! Beginning right now.

P.S. Though I be a registered Democrat, I cannot, personally, promise now who I will vote for in 2012 so don’t be blaming that fact on me for my words here.

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