The "here" is obvious:
polarized, corporate-funded, mean-spirited politics where most Americans feel powerless and subsequently, dismissive of the whole system. The "there" of which I speak is the fecund, vibrant, living geography where we can flourish rather than the bleak, disparate havoc of today's America body politic.
The political landscape as it is makes being informed not only difficult because of the mainstream media owned by corporate concerns but the two-party system which often forces average Americans to pick "the lesser of two evils." I myself have voted for democrats I didn't like because the candidate I really liked didn't have a chance of winning and my vote would have been 'wasted.' Dennis Kucinich certainly falls in that category. Truth is it's a dirty, rotten, shame. Americans are so turned off to the system as it is that they simply don't participate. Then corporate concerns and politicos play their games, a pitiful percentage of Americans vote and we continue in the destructive-to-democracy cycle we find ourselves in currently.
I listened to an interview with Ralph Nader this morning. He has much to say and it was worth a listen to if nothing else, get me motivated to write this piece today. There are still voices that resonate for me, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, bits and pieces from the current crop of candidates for president. Some speak of the things wrong while others speak of ways to change. I'll stick with the revolutionaries rather than the revisionists.
Ralph Nader has been called many things: consumer advocate, hero, spoiler.
There is talk that Nader will again run in 2008, primarily it's been called as a spoiler. Amy Goodman interviews Nader about his potential run in '08 and the release of his new documentary "An Unreasonable Man," a reference to the George Bernard Shaw quote, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man." His take on things to my mind is the kind of progress I want to see in this country. Listen and weigh in on what you think. The Nader interview begins at 13:00.
Today's Democracy Now! also features an insightful view of today's Muslim-Americans. Since 9/11 American Muslims have become the most targeted minority group in America. Yet they participate in American life in America in ways and at rates the general public does not. Did you know Muslim-Americans graduate from college at a rate of 59% as compared to 28% of the overall population? Muslim-Americans also register to vote at a rate higher the general public. So says Paul Barrett, author of "American Islam:The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion" and former Wall Street Journal editor and reporter. Muslims in America still have the "can-do spirit" America was so famous for yet most Americans no longer embrace.
We can change the topography of an American run by tyrants and embraced disproportionally by newer Americans. Tyrants want only to 'get their way' and new Americans want to succeed in the America we used to be. There is new earth being turned to revitalize our life force in the form of Internet communication. The tubes have birthed a new grassroots politics, "the netroots". We can no longer (could we ever?) trust the powers-that-be to have our best interests at heart. Education has been gutted, civics a thing of the past and citizenship something debated over as the issue of immigration which is far from it's broader meaning of community participation. If we are to truly have a country and a world worth living in, it is up to us to build it. Please remember what we in our forties were taught as kids and that kids today no longer believe: America is a great place. It really is up to us.