I apologize in advance for the political and American nature of this post, but I think that what is about to happen here in the United States is important for everyone, from every country.
One of my favorite Latin sayings is E PLURIBUS UNUM which means "Out of Many, One" It is a motto adopted here in the United States and is displayed on all the paper currency. It is a reminder that the 50 separate states that make up our country, come together as one national unit. The Buddhist philosophy in me loves this saying, because it is symbolic of our mind's leaning to split one into many. I guess, it’s really the reverse of the motto, but I digress.
I don't wish to make this a US centric post, however I believe tonight and tomorrow, what happens in this US election, if all the polls and pundits are corrects and Barack Obama wins the Presidency of the United States, will be something special for all Western Countries and really all nations. Weather we agree or disagree about his politics, this achievement, of electing a man of color, after 400 years of slavery and 150 years of Jim Crow laws will be nothing less than some kind of epic rebirth.
We pride ourselves on diversity and tending to our difficulties by using our large pool of different backgrounds from all around the world to achieve one goal. You ask most Americans their heritage, and you will get a huge diverse response. "I am of Dutch, Romanian, English, and Spanish etc. etc decent." Yet we have been marred by prejudice, intolerance and injustice from ever shrinking portion of our citizens. We sometimes fear what we don't know.
With a warm heart and prideful feeling(yes I know), I feel we have begun to truly wash away the sins of our past and become a nation of what we have always told the rest of the world we were, a nation of diverse people that come together in a common cause. Perhaps, Barack Obama is becoming the icon of this change, a new nation, forged together, with old scars of hatred and bigotry that has toughen our skin and a new generation that has softened our hearts.
Maybe our whole world could learn the phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM ? Who knows’, but I know we all have a long way to go.
**Update:Barack Obama wins Presidential Election!
Now let us heal those stinging wounds between us Americans and the countries of rest of the world. We hope we can begin to see we do not live in a bubble, alone and on top of the world, but as dependent on others as they are on us. Dr.King, here is your promised land you spoke of that cool April night in Memphis, 1968. You did not die in vain. From many, one.....
Two speeches I wanted to post here from two iconic Americans that I think truly capture this moment, in all its splendid glory. Relatively of course!
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
November 19, 1863
I Have a Dream:
Full text can be found here:
"I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."²
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
~Martin Luther King Jr.
August 28, 1963
Washington, DC - USA