Monday, July 16, 2012

American? Watch this Bill Moyer's and Company Episode

Every American should watch this episode of Bill Moyer's and Company with Khalil Gibran Mohammad. PhD, a native of Chicago’s South Side, is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library. Muhammad is a former professor of African-American history at Indiana University.

After Khalil started talking, I was a little stunned. I started to assume he was another radical and at first, I was turning off to him. Then I listened more closer and suddenly I got what he was saying; and he was making sense.

What he had to say smacked to me as absolutely true. I realized that I had never considered what he was saying before, in such a clear mind. His issue is initially African American, but as he says, it's really more than that. It goes into this country being founded not so much on freedom, but freedom to make money.

I was somewhat horrified at first, in a way, but the more I listened, the more sense he made and the more things I've known for years, suddenly came clear into focus. And "Blacks" back in the 1700s are part and parcel of the founding of the entire thing. They were considered property, "chattel".

You have to see things as the Founding Fathers did, back then. Which I can do quite well. That is, I have a good capability of seeing things from how others do in the past, partially because I've read so much from ancient days gone by, going back to Aristotle when I was in sixth grade. I get where they were coming from. It has nothing to do with agreeing with them, but in a kind of academic empathy.

In a way I don't think we can judge them by our views of morality today. They were more moral than we are now a days, yet they were less moral than we are now a days; and as we will be to our descendants.

This all makes more sense related to how unbalanced our government is now and how and why corporations are so much in control now. I thought for a long time that this was a recent thing, in the last 100 years. But it goes back further than that.

If we realize that our ecomomic problems now come from a fundemental structuring of our entire society that goes back to the beginning, then we will be more rational in our decisions of what needs to be done to fix things. And I am not sure we can fix things in the way we have been going about it. We have been trying to fix things from a view that our issues are more recent and therefore, patching things together can fix them.

But if they stem from the origins of our country, then we will need to make some fundemental changes to our laws and bylaws. I don't think that the Founding Fathers had the information they needed in the ensuing years after their original documents were formed and ratified to be able to see where they would end up. Which means we need to make a new constitution.

Yet, that is a fearful thing when you consider the people who are in charge of our country, the "voices" that are speaking out for change, to bend the path of our Country to their will, and not the will of the  people. They tended to see the "People" as white Christians. Maybe it was that way in the beginning (though in reality it wasn't, considering we had more African "American" slaves back then than there were whites), but it certainly isn't that way now.

This is a nation of immigrants. If you don't think so, deal with it, because it is. And now we have many more African Americans, Asians, Latinos and others than were at issue back in the late 1700s. As of 2010, 72% of Americans are white. Of the nation's children in 2050 however, 62% are expected to be of a minority ethnicity. Either we start working this out now, or it won't be long before we find ourselves in a position of some kind of Apartheid.

But perhaps this isn't the time to rewrite the Constitution, but to merely continue to patch it until it becomes even more disfunctional. Enough to allow the government driving by corporations and self interest, and religious right wing groups to push even more irrational considerations to a point that the Constitution becomes truly broken. Then it really will finally need to be completely rewritten.

Maybe. Though that won't be able to happen yet for another five, ten, twenty, fifty, or even one hundred years. Sad, don't you think? Wouldn't it be nice, if the constitution ever needed restructuring, to know that there would always be enough educated and intelligent (and selfless) people available in our government that it could be masterfully and rewitten at any time? But if that were truly the case, we would probably never need for it to be rewritten. I surmise that the Founding Fathers thought they had structured a good enough document that along with rational judgement, we could successfullly govern ourselves for a long, long time. Well, it has been now, a long, long time.
Anyway, the point of this topic was that something needs to be done. But first you have to understand where we are are how we got here. Nothing is going to be effective until we rethink how we consider what actually is going on, what is wrong with things, and how to fix it. There is simply too much ignorance and self interest out there now.

We need to consider the sign one great statesman, Harry S. Truman, used to keep on his desk in the in the oval office. It said, "The Buck Stops Here". But along with that there needs to be a subtext beneath it, "And it will be handled intelligently".

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