The Constitutionally Promised Land – are we there yet?

A2 Mutt Jeep at RAF Burtonwood Heritage Centre, a gift symbol of mutual respect between military allies. (see bottom of this entry to read story)

A2 Mutt Jeep at RAF Burtonwood Heritage Centre, a gift symbol of mutual respect between military allies. (see bottom of this entry to read story)

 

Random Personal thoughts on Presiddent Obahma’s Speech

Mr Obahma’s eloquent  inauguration speech stuck to the traditional model , strong on union and cherished national values, delivered somewhat  poignantly  on the same day that Dr Martin Luther King’s remarkable life is recognised with a national holiday. ( It can be read in full here.  Mr President’s Inaugural Address  2013  BBC News website link)

(The Reverend King assassinated in my late teens ; there was, for me ,  a bold, eloquent and inspiring champion of civil rights who was able to bring about a major change in the pursuit of  equality of rights ,all Americans should be born with ,eventually, but at the cost of his own life ( as did President Lincoln tackling the slavery issue and it should be remembered that the state of South Carolina took until 2000  to recognise that national holiday to honour Dr King )

Having looked at Mr Obama’s speech, on first reading ,in summary, my personal view is that  he, an honorable and genuine person wanting to change society for all for the better and  seems to be saying that underpining those self-evident truths, enshrined in the Constitution to define being an American, is the need to spell it out  and defend them again and again and that since we are all equal in terms of  what that freedom gives us , we , or rather all American citizens also share an equal responsibility to exercise that freedom equally responsibly and not at the expense of others.Freedom without responsibility is a kind of slavery and anti-socially self-centred.

That selfishness of course might also include , to my way off looking in on it , demanding what I think is a selfish, needless and dangerous freedom for hard nosed “2nd Ammendment”  fundamentalists to own guns of unreasonable power that other citizens do not  but of course it would have been unwise to include reference to anything that potentially inflamatory in a speech designed to re-enforce soildarity with the American way of the historic  rhetoric scribed , signed sealed (and ammended )at the birth of the nation.

I do not personally believe for a moment that Mr Obahma’s words are hollow rhetoric – I really think those are his beliefs and personal motivation while he is in office and why he wants to be and is in office . His biggest challenge are the sectors of US society that do not want equality where it comes with any cost to them and their cosier life styles.   Lincoln indirectly attacked the irony of those fine first few Constitution prologue lines where plantation capitalists and  their vested interest allies wanted to keep people enslaved  and thereafter Dr King lead the movement to equally enfranchise black Americans and lead them to the constitutionally at least promised land.

I am not sitting on the fence here, I am looking over the pond at a world which shares basic similarities and differences, not the same but a very similar language. I did study American Literature and History in my university days, was fascinated by the American Cival War, ( amazed at the photographs of it ) a respecter of American Native Indian Culture and its one-ness with the environment that the melting pot of settlers failed to understand or to this day get anywhere near )

Even though there are subtle differences within American society  I tend to polarise matters when it comes to politics – dove or hawk, right or left , liberal or conservative, have or have not, republican or democrat. each at opposite ends of the spectrum, each with conflicting interests which hinders change. I am just a detached observer, not affiliated to any political system or party.  But for example, since from my own perspective the ownership of guns or the inallienable “right to bear arms” is anthama to me and my own culture on principal it  contradicts my own understanding of the 2nd ammendment. When I made my views known and challenged the stance of the NRA and gun lobbyists, I immediately found people coming out of the woodwork attacking and marginalising me as a gutless liberal socialist not someone who likes to think for themselves and express an opionion based on how things look to me but always willing to listen to new information and viewpoints to modify and inform those opinions.

The States , from where I am sitting , are united under the basics of the Constitution but divived on a range of issues with legislation varying from state to state  and those variations in legislation vary far more than they do between the composite parts of the United kingdom and we in fact do not have a constitution and rights are defined in the legal system having filtered through the system of goverment and a longer history. The USA is a democracy -plutocracy and we are a democracy-monarchy-aristocracy based society but the two are. (Up till very recently most people  believed that the British monarch was a mere figure head, rubber stamped government approved legislation but we now learn that the  Royal family do exercise power in a non transparent way by  interferring with and vetoing aspects of some legislation.)

Originally the nations motto was stamped on the melting pot, E Pluribus Unum that out of many states (or colonies) emerge a single nation. I read that the interpretation of the motto has shifted to now meaning, in ideology at least  , “out of many peoples, races, religions and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation.” and yet as the president will have to confront, that single nation is still divided and has significant sectors that do not appear to enjoy equal rights.

 

I wish the nation and the president  a mutually beneficial second term but it is going to be an energy sapping tough journey for him and it is down to his ability to engage , to trade, to pursuade and lobby but as ever major change is always going to take decades and not a few years. In a  now famous speech of  Dr  King, delivered in Mempis Tennesse 1968  at the Masonic Temple , the  day before his assassination, addressing human and civil rights issues arising from the Sanitation Workers Strike he makes both biblical and constitional scripture references and ends with ”  I’ve been to the top of the mountain , And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land . I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

With a  change in national motto from that on the President’s seal “E pluribus unum” and “In God we Trust” on banknotes we should get two complementary value systems , the one biblical the other constitutional with either heaven in mind or a utopia where states and peoples from different ethnicities, religion become as one nation or , in the after life all equal as God’s children. Here on earth Obama ,as with all previous encumbents, is going to  leading the nation on the next stage of the  journey with  goals in mind which will be hampered all the way by conservatives but with the hope it is in the direction of what is promised in text form as a birthright.  It still doesn’t boil down to sacred rights but  what can be justified and put  through in Washington because as ever rights  are based on economics not actual truths.

 

Myself at the wheel of this US Army a2 Mutt Jeep in 2003

Myself at the wheel of this US Army A2 Mutt Jeep in 2003

Footnote

A2 “Mutt” jeep at Burtonwood Association Heritage Centre, Header House, RAF Burtonwood, nr. Warrington, Cheshire, UK  – the symbolism
Now this vehicle is no ordinary American jeep. It is very special.
When the US base here emptied and closed, the base`s last Commander, a gentleman officer called LTC/Col Bryan Lobdell presented the last remaining jeep to the Burtonwood Association for posterity as a most thoughtful gift. It is not that vehicle I`d give my right arm to own or at least ride in, (the wonderful classic WW2 Willie`s jeep,) but a later variant called the A2 “Mutt”. Yet, equally, when I saw this wonderfully preserved beauty , (still rolling and that day giving rides to visitors) I photographed every inch of it and, like a kid for whom Christmas had arrived early, just had , at least, to sit in it. Here I am on the rare occasion of me posing for my own camera dressed appropriately enough in my authentic, patriotic looking England national football team shirt.

 

 

 

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