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Rising to the Occassion

Hello there everybody, today we’re gonna talk about the state of our nations leadership. Has anyone ever noticed that in the past say 10-20 years of leadership at the federal level the only thing Republicans and Democrats have ever made decisive action on was to send our sons and daughters to war? Or during the economic crisis how the first group of Americans offered any sort of aid, or assistance were the wealthiest American’s and businesses, the very same entities responsible for both crises in the first place? What about that time Congress unilaterally decided to give the middle class a tax break, invest in our schools, take measures to bring people out of poverty, and the homeless off the streets? I see a few confused looks, well what about the time Congress and the President of the United States came together and started a green energy revolution ruthlessly switching all of the nation’s energy to solar energy, or other forms of clean energy, making larger investments, and improving incentives for electric, and hydrogen powered vehicles?

Hmmm oh wait that’s right that never happened, what did happen was over 54 votes by the House to repeal Obamacare or portions of it. What did happen was a vote to incorporate the TTP which would have gutted internet neutrality for all American’s without so much as whisper to us that it was even happening. Congress has been bailing out Big banks, Big oil, and Wall Street, giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, YOUR tax dollars, they have been trying to show the Keystone Pipeline down our throats a measure that wouldn’t benefit America in anyway, would cause potential harm to our environment, and depending to who you talk to worse still, it wouldn’t be at all profitable to American Companies. The keystone pipeline would benefit Canadian oil interests, and generate a paltry 50 jobs across the states the pipeline crosses. Should I continue? Should I outline every single instance in the past 10-20 years our leadership in Washington has not acted in the interests of Americans, but instead acted in the interests of the wealthy, the powerful, and the elite? I could but I think this wouldn’t be a speech anymore, and I don’t care how good of a public speaker I think I am I doubt I could just belt off facts for the next 3 weeks and keep your interest!

The fact of the matter is ladies and gentlemen the system works, it works beautifully and you can see it with your own two eyes how efficient it is…if you’re the one it’s working for. I’m going to however, assume that is not what the founding fathers had in mind when they were watching their countrymen get slaughtered on the battlefield, or being oppressed by the British Monarchy, and abused by the very powers, wealth, power, non-representation, etc., that are plaguing America now. I won’t even get into the theological debates or the social inequalities still rampant in our nation but again, those arguments are also not what the founding fathers had in mind and are most certainly not upheld by the Constitution. My point is our government has made one of the strongest nations, and depending on how you look at it, empires, in human history.

We went from 13 colonies of a different country, to covering a landmass of 3.749 million square miles. We went from barely having a standing military needing the aid of the French on two separate occasions backed by a true militia, a militia of farmers, shopkeepers, and other men just like you and me, to having the undisputed most powerful, and advanced military the world has ever known. We went from barely being able to survive the first few winters as Pilgrims, to having the largest GDP in the World, our only competition is the combined economic might of the European Union. We helped decisively end not one but two world wars, and since then for better or for worse we have become the “world police” trying to ensure humanitarian rights across the globe. We the United States of America, through good leadership, if not misguided according to the eyes of today, and the strong backs of the American public have accomplished these things.

Yet today or even the past few years what do we as American’s have to show for? Do we have the best public education In the World? No we don’t we’re more like the 17th or the 34th overall depending on which statistic you’re looking at. Are we the safest nation in the world, with the lowest homicide, or crime rate? Not even close, most statistics put us at about 4th, with our most dangerous cities in the country being the primary reason. Incarceration rates, health care, infrastructure, all these things that we used to lead the world in by spades, we no longer do. We have fallen from our graces and it’s easy to see why, we have lost touch with what made us strong, what made us great.

We used to be a nation of dreamers, of idealists, of people that would strive to accomplish anything no matter what the cost or the burden. We dared to believe in ourselves, and back up that belief with effort and results. Now, for the most part, all we do is beat our chest and relive the glory days. We have elected officials now who care more about pleasing their donors than actually helping the people the put so much effort into gaining support from. Elections can’t be bought outright, there is no possible way to completely discount the public vote, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be influenced. Look at all the rhetoric we’ve had to deal with in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Obamacare was the sign of the apocalypse, Ebola was the nations, tax hikes on the wealthy would cause the economy to collapse, oil prices dropping would ruin the economy, etc., et alia, ad naseum. What did all of that accomplish?

It created an aura of fear among us and our fellow countrymen, that did exactly what they, and in this case they are the Republicans, wanted: scare Americans into voting for them. What was the first thing that happened after the elections? Was it a Republican revival of conservative ideals that began a new era of growth for the middle class, and business? Was it a combined effort to repair our roads, and modernize our infrastructure? Was it incorporating American ideals in government, and business? Was it anything remotely benefitting the millions of Americans living in poverty despite working full time, or 3 jobs? No the first thing the newly elected Congress did on their first day in Office in 2015 was to vote on the Keystone pipeline, end net neutrality, and give Wall street, and big banks a $340 billion tax break. This isn’t rhetoric, or my own attempt at scare tactics, these are the cold hard truths, that many of us, and our fellow Americans have chosen to ignore, or look past, or not see. Or perhaps every single one of the 310 Million Americans knew this was happening and are as outraged as I am but were powerless to stop it. Which one do you think is worse? *dramatic long held pause*

We need to step up as citizens, as patriots, as sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, we need to be the patriots we all claim to be, we need to step up as Americans, or fall slowly, imminently, and irrevocably into the darkness.  We need to take an active role in politics, in our lives, and our future or there won’t be anything left for us to fight for. I’m asking you, no I’m begging you: vote, spread the word, encourage everyone you know to vote, or better yet to run for office, there’s still time, there’s still a chance, there is still hope for America, and that hope, that future, is you.