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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 06:15 PM
Original message
Will Pitt: These Empty Spaces
Edited on Thu Jun-24-10 06:23 PM by Hissyspit
From Truthout: http://www.truth-out.org/these-empty-spaces60681

These Empty Spaces

Thursday 24 June 2010
by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

My purpose in this life is to chronicle the events of our time, to shine a light on events and actions that damage us all, to reveal good works whenever they actually happen, and when possible, to show people places and times where they can make a difference should they choose to get involved. In the ten years I've been at it, I have seen everything: wars and rumors of wars; economic collapse and environmental calamity; state-sanctioned murder and torture and rape; theft, graft, fraud, deception and greed vast and dense enough to bend the light.

I have also seen millions upon millions of people pour into the streets to raise their voices as one against all these terrible things. I have seen people hurl themselves into political campaigns that have no hope of succeeding because they believed in the candidate, because the campaign message mattered as much as winning, and was made of so much truth that it required their labor. I have seen previously disconnected people get plugged in somewhere, anywhere, because they could no longer abide the silence of the sidelines.

I have seen a man, a veteran of the ongoing Iraq war, walk past me on the street on two prosthetic legs. I have looked into the eyes of too many people whose futures were charred to ash by the flagrant criminality that continues on Wall Street even to this very moment. I have watched helplessly as friends lost their jobs, their homes, and their hopes. I have seen people rise above all this, and I have seen people subsumed by it.

In 2006, I watched as the George W. Bush Big Top Circus finally, finally, finally crashed and burned under the weight of its own incalculable wretchedness. The American people finally stopped buying what he and his people were selling, and on one memorable November night, I watched as those people removed what had been total congressional power from the GOP and hand it to the Democrats. Then I watched as those Democrats failed to do anything even remotely close to stopping the wars, as they failed to thwart the noxious aspirations of the Bush administration, failed to properly investigate and expose the crimes of that administration, failed to impeach, failed to do anything but enjoy the new offices they got for holding majority power.

- snip -

I thought I was prepared for this, but a year and a half into this brave new world, I feel...I don't know exactly what. I am glad Obama is the president, I am glad McCain is not, I am glad the derangement of Republican rule has been upended, I am pleased with a number of policy initiatives that have been undertaken, and yet there are these empty spaces in my mind and heart that actually, literally, ache. A few things are better, a lot of things are worse, and most things remain exactly the same. I knew it would be like this, but still, the emptiness is there.

My role is to chronicle these times. During all the years I have done so, I have been clinging to a belief that has managed to sustain me even on the darkest of days, a belief that has always filled some of that emptiness. It is a belief I fear our president has allowed himself to forget amid the cacophony of corporate power, military mayhem and runaway greed which binds him to a familiar course that, if left unchecked, will come to be the end of us all.

This belief is simple: America is an idea. We have borders, roads, cities, farms, armies, but that is not America. The idea that is America was forged in the crucible of Europe, when kings could mandate a state religion and incarcerate or kill whoever disagreed, when rights only existed if the powerful deemed them so. The idea that is America was forged upon the premise that these things were wrong on their face, that people are endowed with rights that cannot be taken away by fiat. At no time in history had any nation premised its existence on the bedrock truth that all of us are created equal until the Founders did so in Philadelphia, and in doing so, they created a self-improving process of national growth and redemption that functions through the will of the people alone.

We are an idea, and all of us are bound to it through the ink that explains us on old pieces of parchment. We are an idea, and in that idea, we can locate our nobility, our strength, and the better angels of our nature. Too many of us, including our president and congressional representatives, have forgotten this. Perhaps, if we remind them in strong enough terms, if we make We The People a true force for right instead of a catch-phrase, things would get better. Until then, the idea that is America will continue to wither, and the empty spaces within will endure.

MORE

Mods, reproduced almost in entirety under: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. K nR for Will Pitt
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. k&r
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 06:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. excellent essay
I wish I could do that, write like that. My heart is full of similar sentiments, but the words don't convey what I want them to.
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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. The economic inequality that we, the non wealthy, experience is growing on pace with the oil "spill"
This is the unsustainable growth that is ruining the idea of America, the ideals that Americans want in spite of our differences, and the very ideologies of left, right and center.

We have a disease in the United States that has been conjoined with the economic realities of a huge country like China right down to the most modest village in Asia.

We didn't ask for it, we didn't vote for it and we didn't endorse it. All of this was done for us and to us by corporate greed. The very tiniest minority benefits from this tremendous inequality.

Yet we are still called the "small" people, the "folks", or the "little" people.

How much longer are we going to tolerate this?
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county worker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
5. I am convinced that if we don't have publicly financed elections we will lose the middle class
Edited on Thu Jun-24-10 06:34 PM by county worker
altogether.

Until we can put in power people who do not owe their allegiance to the corporate world will continue to lose ground.

We need to be in the streets in every city and town demanding public financing of elections.

I also believe we aren't going to do anything about it. We are not able to come together as a force. What we had in 2008 can't be reproduced to support ideas that come from the grass roots. I don't know why, we sit at these computers and type out our angst but that doesn't get the job done and that's all we know how to do.

In the sixties we had things like popular music and underground new papers and satire television shows that tied us together. The net doesn't do that. I'd like to see the unemployed gather in meeting places in public in towns and cities where they can't be ignored. Sort of like the hippies in the 60's. Bug the authority we said!
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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
6. .
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apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 11:31 PM
Response to Original message
7. Cliche-driven piffle - reads like a speech a HS class president would give to the local VFW to sell
raffle tickets to a pancake dinner benefiting the local cheer-leading squad.

UnRec. :thumbsdown:





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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks for kicking.
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apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Happy to oblige. n/t.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Basically what I was thinking.
A lot of words that don't mean anything substantive. Another person who expected to be disappointed by Obama is disappointed by Obama and isn't sure why.
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. Agree - well-crafted but vacuous
Not reading anything new here. Also unrec'ing (maybe my 3rd such "award")
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Seneca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. Yes, I have to agree
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
24. And your presumably vastly superior effort is where, exactly?
:shrug:
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N_E_1 for Tennis Donating Member (437 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 07:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. K & R n/t
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mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
11. Thanks for that, HSpit. I miss old Will. If he'd man up and apologize,
he could probably get re-instated here at DU.

We've all said and done things when we're drunk . . . everybody understands that.

*****

As for the article, I completely agree. From Candidate Obama, we got a sweeping vision of what America could be. From President Obama, we get excuses.

We voted for FDR and we got Clinton.
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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. We voted for FDR and we didn't even get Clinton.
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
12. K & R
:thumbsup:
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11 Bravo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
13. K&R for Will Pitt. (I hope the day is near when he can post for himself once again.)
He is missed.
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Owl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
25. I agree. K&R for Will Pitt.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
15. Isn't trying a prerequisite for failing?
:kick:
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deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
19. "In 2006, I watched as the George W. Bush Big Top Circus finally,
finally, finally crashed and burned under the weight of its own incalculable wretchedness."

And he didn't even tout his help on May 12, 2006. What a guy!!!!

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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. We'll be debriefing, delousing and debushin for years to come, decades to come.
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theFrankFactor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-27-10 06:47 PM
Response to Original message
21. Corporations Play The System - Both Sides Owned - Dems Are Wash. Generals
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crazyjoe Donating Member (921 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
22. christ, what narcissistic drivel.
I thought we were done with this clown.
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Whisp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. lol!
I didn't read it all but the opening part sort of clicked: hmmm, self importance or what!

maybe I'll read the rest later and change my mind, but that start off made me giggle.
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crazyjoe Donating Member (921 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. "These Empty Spaces"...between my ears
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me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
23. Would have recommended this if I had seen it in time
:kick:
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RadiationTherapy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
27. 'My purpose in this life...' '...seen millions upon millions'
Ridiculous. EDITOR!!!
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