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This Is What Change Looks Like

Soon after the healthcare bill passed Congress, President Obama stood before the American people and explained the historic importance of this legislation. What struck me most about his comments was that after explaining the historic importance, after setting forth the long term and short term benefits, after noting for the record that there was much more progress that was needed, he said “……this is what change looks like”.
With those six words he nailed down the importance of the passage of the healthcare bill. He also highlighted the accelerant that fuels the white-hot rage of the tea baggers, the tea partiers, and the right wing of the right wing. Because even the appearance of transcendent change is enough to send the right wing of the right wing into paroxysms of inchoate rage – rage that is simultaneously homicidal and suicidal and pathetic.
The healthcare legislation may be many things but it is not revolutionary. The fact is that for too long the United States has been the only industrialized nation on the planet Earth that does not have some form of universal healthcare for its citizens. The bill that just passed leaves much to be desired by even the most moderate advocates of change, but it is change. It is different. And it is presages auspicious and audacious steps in the right direction. This is what change looks like.
Change looks like the members of the United States House of Representatives chanting “Yes we can!” after the passage of the bill. It was a sight that would have been unimaginable even one month ago. But the august Members of Congress have been engaged in so many increments and resemblances of progress that the being in the presence of true and substantive change must have been intoxicating. This is what change looks like.
The United States has a history of boldness and hypocrisy. This country is a land of exceptional vision and unbelievable lunacy. This country is the source of a Declaration of Independence that excluded women, yet that Declaration has for centuries served as a guide for aspiring freedom fighters throughout the world. This is a country that brought forth a Constitution that countenanced slavery and had the ghastly provision of counting slaves as 3/5 of a human being. And yet this Constitution has had the resiliency and vitality to correct the spiritually bankrupt notion of slavery and continues to evolve in accord with the moral progression of the population, evolution clearly being a very slow process.
This is a country born of change. The sheer physical landscape of this land has been the subject of change – not always for the better, but change nevertheless. The people who have come to America from all over the world have sought change; change in their lives and in the lives and future of their children. The face and fabric of this country has always been about change which is why it is so preposterous when so-called “conservatives” seek to preserve this country’s traditions, except for the tradition which gave birth to the United States in the first place – change. The Declaration of Independence was all about change. The American Revolution was all about change. The Constitution of the United States has had an amendment process from its very first draft thereby ensuring that change would always be a part of the governing process.
But there are those who do not care for change because it means that the mythology of a predictable future is no more. Those who do not want change are satisfied with their comforts and rights realizing that in the process of obstructing change there are others who will not share in their comforts or rights. And while we saw what change looks like last Sunday night, we also saw what the opposition to change looks like.
It is small and ugly and winks and cries crocodile tears and walks around in crowds that are one flaming torch and a noose short of a lynch mob and hangs President Obama and Speaker Pelosi in effigy and hurls epithets like “baby killer” and “nigger” and “faggot” at proponents of progressive change because they have nothing else left in their paltry arsenal of obstruction. The opposition to change speaks of the need to avoid change for the sake of change while it engages in obstruction for the sake of obstruction. And all the while this country’s ability to be better is bound and shackled to a millstone negativity and selfishness.
The great legacy of this country is a continually shared belief among many that this country can be better. The great legacy of this country is that it can be better. The voices of opposition and negativity and obstruction are muted for the moment but just as Sunday evening showed what change looks like, we have also been shown again what opposition to change looks like.

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