The world can breathe a little easier now that the new president of this country, my country, urges our people to take responsibility for this new age with grave challenges – to meet the challenges of climate change, unbridled militarism, economic and social and political disruption and inequalities globally. Past policies have been insane, threatening life as we know it on this planet.
I was struck by his call for us to choose our better history — such insight, poetry. But we can do so only by being aware of the bad parts of our history. I understand it is his job to uphold the Constitution of this country and that this was the focus of the Inauguration. We need to remember that our Constitution is both revolutionary and an extension of common law, common law that has been developed worldwide and on this continent for tens of thousands of years, too much of which our ‘founding fathers’ ignored, or rejected unjustly.
Our Declaration of Independence speaks of the people’s need, responsibility and right to change our government when it is wrong. We have freedom of speech and assembly. So part of our responsibility is to raise criticisms as we see them. Constructive, from the better part of our history and conscious of the bad.
The ‘West’ was settled before people packed up and came across oceans. Some people walked here long ago and continue walking, later some rode burros, horses — who are the ‘we’ who settled here, laid the foundations of humanizing this hemisphere, who had the misfortune to be discovered as ‘heathens.’ They were soon seen as obstacles to development, adversaries, terrorists or weaklings in need of our protection for whom we had a noblesse oblige, a sacred responsibility to take care of their business. It was called leadership too, responsibility, Manifest Destiny, Monroe Doctrine.
Perhaps from this perspective we might gain some insights about our predicament in our economy ‘depending’ on fossil fuels: that it is in our interest to seek mutual interest with those peoples whose lands contain such resources and work to not be adversaries or even competitors.
I believe the responsibility Obama speaks of and is open to includes seriously looking at this perspective and that, yes, may all America and all the earth be blessed, not just our United States.