Scott Brown -- America's muse for the day, if not the next entire week, if not for the next 10 months, if not for posterity looking a hundred years down the line. Sure, this could be a slight exaggeration; he's just a man. How did he so eloquently finish last night, "I'm Scott Brown, I'm from Wrentham, and I drive a truck."
America doesn't get any better than that.
I had my apprehensions; between the emotional days watching the fallout of Haiti's devastation -- between stories of orphans coming to America, which, by all accounts, doesn't seem fast enough when looking at their faces -- between a replay of hanging chads clouding the mystery leading up to the real vote count, as poll skepticism was looming large and everything pointing in the direction of another one just too close to call or fears it may take weeks to decide came rushing back. My usually centered self was all over the place and couldn't be quite sure which way the world was turning.
That is until last night.
Scott ran an inspiring and clean campaign based simply on the idea that America "can do better than that."
It comes easy for us to recognize the depths and lengths we Americans can go to assist those in need anywhere around the globe, we see the immediate sigh of relief right before our eyes; we see the blanket of security we bring; we see the level of compassion and ability to drop whatever it was we were doing and go lend a hand or donate our hard earned money to help; Americans of all walks of life, experience, and expertise often come together in places where it's ever so difficult to find any criticism of our efforts whatsoever, unless of course you are a dictator or a minister of France.
But here at home? We are dazed and confused, asking ourselves just how did we get here, knowing in our heart of hearts we truly can do better than that, than this.
Scott is spot on; America can do better.
When President Obama was being sworn in, his inaugural speech included the ringing in of "a new era of responsibility." It was Obama's way of saying exactly the same thing -- the overall sentiment that we can do better than that -- and it would begin with him one year ago today.
But we aren't doing any better, are we? We are less secure than we were a year ago.
On this day, one year ago, when we thought all of our prayers were answered.
Obama came in, with all our hopes and dreams wrapped up around him -- that he really could ring in a new era, restoring the people's trust in government, breaking down partisan barriers that impede true progress, and bring people together for the common man, for the common goal of making America stronger. We all wanted the same thing, or so we thought.
Not much has changed; we all were in agreement then, and argue over it in agreement now, America can do better than that.
And here we are, the day after one of the most cataclysmic political races of our time and one year into the Obama world, we can safely conclude that we haven't gone very far (while some may say we are worse) but make no mistake and let me be clear -- WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT -- as the state of Massachusetts told us so.
All I can say is thank the Lord, sweet Jesus, the seat of America's soul is alive and well -- even here at home.
The past year has been this gigantic, nationwide teachable moment for most of us; the irony, hindsight being what it is, Obama is probably the greatest gift to America that has ever lived (Beck was right).
The new era of responsibility, the one we thought was coming on the tails of the hope and change we can believe in campaign and masterfully played out right into the palm of Obama's hand, has been nothing but a hoax. He isn't the all knowing one who can fix all evils; he is the problem reincarnated, new packaging but same old, same old. And in the last year he has proved it time and time again either by disappointing his own avid left, alienating the right, and annoying nearly every one in between for one reason or another. And let's face it, truth is -- the independents and libertarians seem to be the one's making the call; it would behoove all of us to stay alert and look beyond our comfortable boundaries of "R" and "D".
Scott Brown won because it was not "the Kennedy's seat" -- as he pointedly shot back to the debate moderator, David Gergen, that it is "the people's seat" -- and isn't that just what you want to hear coming out of the streets of Boston? How poetic and timely and revolutionary is that!
If we could only be so lucky to have this Scott Brown take his seat in Congress later today, and turn around and run for President within the next couple of years, a path reminiscent of someone very near and dear to all of us. Now that would be the real stunner...Go ahead, Scott, drive your truck to D.C. and park it outside the gates of your next home, as a sweet reminder to our current Commander in Chief, the seat he is in is THE PEOPLE'S SEAT and thanks for keeping it warm but we want it back.
A look back to the last year is rot with failure and discontent. The people are angry; and yet the powers in Washington continue to dismiss the prevailing attitude as nothing more than petty ignorance or mass hysteria. Well the people in this great nation continue to speak, and what may appear as some kind of murmur of a few is more than that -- we now know it in every fiber of our being-- and while we may seem to go out of our way to look foolish and politely march on Washington to remind them of their solemn oaths and the people's process, the real failure will come in the pure lack of understanding how deep and real this discontent lies.
We may have a seat in the nosebleed section right now, but as of today, everything changes.
It is not just about health care -- even though, make no mistake, health care is an issue Massachusetts knows quite a bit about. They have seen that level of failure -- and it's openly and honestly and constructively debated throughout the pages of the web...studies have evaluated MASS health care since the days of Dukakis and universal coverage dating back to 1988!
Other states -- like Oregon, Minnesota, Tennessee, Vermont, Maine and Washington -- have also tried. And all have failed. Research suggests that there is very little reason to believe that a national plan modeled after failed health reforms of our past will fair any better -- without it going way over budget, still not attacking the issues of waste and fraud and TORT reform, and still leaving people uninsured. It is unrealistic to believe otherwise; Massachusetts voters have lived it and Scott is a U.S. Senator today because of it.
Ahhh but the real joy, is that it's not just about health care anymore, is it. We have a controlling block of 41 votes in the Senate up until the next round of elections -- this should stymie the government run amuck for the time being.
We can catch our breath now -- and take a moment to realize the power of the people still stands strong.
Considering this administration continues to live on another plane then those of us who drive a truck with over 200,000 miles on it, with any luck they will keep their distance and hunker down just outside cell range for awhile longer. Go ahead, deny that we even exist at all; then come November, the people will decide just how much we can do better for ourselves and the country we love, again.
Monday marked the birthday of Martin Luther King. I took a moment to listen to his "I have a dream" speech, and trust that it was played over and over again all the day through by many Americans. I played a YouTube video with my girl along side me and listened intently at his every word, and for the first time, opened my eyes to the audience at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, a gathering clearly captivated by this man.
The crowd was black and white; they were sitting together in 1963 smiling at moments that touched their heart, emboldened by the minister's words of healing and renewal and responsibility and race (me being only one year's old and living all the way on the other side of the nation, in California).
I am struck by the level of agreement at play -- the agreement that we can do better than that -- when it came to getting along with all people of this great nation. The message was directed to the whole and to the individual to do their part -- that our freedom was shared equally among man as a child of God, unalienable and carried with it certain rights, and as citizens, great responsibility and privileges. In his dream all people would "work together, pray together, struggle together, go to jail together, and stand up for freedom together." And continues then to recite the words of my country tis of thee...
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong...
The lyrics were written by a man from Massachusetts, Samuel Francis Smith, in 1831. It was the national anthem before The Star-Spangled Banner took over; and the melody, as most of us know, came from the British national anthem in "God Save the Queen."
What seems to work for America, and certainly never tires, is our unwavering praise and allegiance to what makes us great; uniting in spirit whether for a common cause to make real change in race relations, as did all Americans, both black and white, who came together to listen to the words and vision of Martin Luther King; uniting in humanitarian efforts for an island nation who had literally self destructed long before the physical devastation of a natural disaster;and in the uniting of the common man, of all walks of life and ideology, in restoring the balance of congress with taking back "the people's seat".
"Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,"
It is days like today we feel freedom ring and only wish Martin Luther King was still around -- not just for him to see how far we've come, but to selfishly ask of him for more; how his words of guidance and wisdom might enliven this president, this congress, and this nation once again. This country was made and has prospered exponentially by collectively taking individual responsibility, whether it is to make crooked streets straight, "make every valley exulted, every hill and mountain made low". And for the nation to truly become great according to King, we need only to heed the words of my country tis of thee for "this must become true" to make it so.
We have Scott to thank; we have Obama's first year to thank; we have the people of Massachusetts to thank (and New Jersey -- and Virginia); we have Martin Luther King to thank; we have past presidents good or bad or indifferent to thank; we have all of history that has come before us to thank; and we have God.
We are sitting here today knowing full well that we can be a little bit better at a lot of things and are determined to make it so -- that is if the good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise -- which for southern California is mighty likely as a third rain storm bears down on us...
on this Wednesday,
a year after the first day of the rest of our life (not) took his seat
and the day after a giant and a rock couldn't keep a Scott from taking his rightful place in history --
for it's the people's seat, you know,
and you can be sure that the people will never allow you to forget it.
Make it a Good Day, G