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We The People
September 20, 2001
by AJA

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In the crucible of crisis, the mere and superfluous characteristics of a person are burned away, and what remains are the core values and essences of a person. So too a nation of people.

This past week, I have noticed that people are talking about what America means to them. I have noticed white, black, brown, and yellow Americans all waving the red, white, and blue flag, and speak to one another as members of a family instead of as strangers. In my time, this is unprecedented.

What I hope for is a continuing and broadening civil public discussion on what it is to be American, what America stands for, and for what it opposes. And I hope that both sides of the political spectrum come to greater consensus on the need for justice, for liberty, and for common concerns of the American citizenry. I hope that the debate shall commence on what the rights of people in a representative democracy are and what the obligations of the government and private enterprise or capitalism truly are for the benefit of the people of this nation.

I hope that Americans of all colors will see no color when America is spoken of. And that in their hearts, and actions fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, where we arrive at a time when the content of a person's character means more than the color of their skin.

I hope that the right in America will recognize that we as a people will not survive with their past attitudes towards those less fortunate Americans and will no longer have as a political basis their attitude of "I'm alright, Jack, I have mine, get your own." I hope that the right sees that to be a patriot truly means helping America be strong in the neighborhoods and schools, and on every street in the land, as well as in arms and national defense. And that its true strength lies in its people and their enfranchisement in the economic and political processes.

That as a patriotic duty, no child goes hungry, no one remains sick or dies because of inadequate medical care, and that our elderly are adequately cared for. That all children are cherished, nourished, and educated to the best abilities that America as a nation can provide. I hope that this tragedy brings even the most wealthy to understand that their wealth is drawn from the well of the entire nation and that they must share common cause and concerns with the rest of the nation.

That human rights support throughout the world will be our best weapon to provide our own security. I hope that the right will begin to understand that in the international arena if we promote capitalism without democracy, or side with foreign tyrants against the indigenous population, then we shall again, and again, reap the whirlwind.

I hope that the right sees that as we move forward, the view that we as a people are all in this together, that a new awareness of justice shall be awakened and the current injustices to many in America are addressed so as to fulfill the promise of America as the best hope for freedom, liberty and justice for all Americans.

From the left I hope to see an increased recognition that the world is a brutal, and cruel place, that the world is not black and white, but shaded in grays, and that good does not always triumph over evil. That the nation needs to be vigilant in its defense, and that America even with all its many faults and unfulfilled promises stands as the best hope for freedom for future generations and for the things that they and I espouse in our words and actions today.

And recognize that it will require hard work from us all to bring this about. And that we as a people are prepared to hear and willing to embrace through sacrifice and through action the spirit of the words spoken by John F. Kennedy, "a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"ča struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself."

These things are not a call for state fascism, or communism. They are the natural consequences of an enlightened and vigorous debate on the social compact of the American people that has lingered on the edges of our national consciousness since it was first alluded to over 220 years ago in the Preamble to the United States Constitution:

"WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I hope for the best.

Assalam Alaikum (Peace be Upon You)

 
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