Last Thursday night, along with about 38 million other Americans, I tuned in to watch Barack Obama give his historic acceptance speech for the nomination of his party. I have to admit that I was already a strong supporter, but I was happy to be so powerfully reminded why. I'm proud to support a candidate who will stand up to the powers that be and say, "ENOUGH!"
As he began to lay out the case for his economic plan, over John McCain's, he obliquely referred to "trickle-down" economics:
"For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy—give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is—you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps—even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.
Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America."
As most people know, this weekend is the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina causing 53 different breaches in the levees surrounding greater New Orleans, which led to eighty percent of the city being submerged in water. When I hear the term "trickle-down economics," I can't help but think of those poor souls crowded into that stadium, rain dripping from above, to weather the storm. After spending most of the Labor Day weekend that year, transfixed by the Katrina coverage, I posted a brief response, which listed four words, which had started running through my mind that weekend, and corresponding quotes:
"AMERICA," as in: "Is this really happening in AMERICA?"
"POVERTY," as in: "If you live in POVERTY, you don't have an SUV to drive out of town before the hurricane arrives."
"LEADERSHIP," as in: "People aren't frustrated by the lack of LEADERSHIP, they're dying because of it."
"WATER," as in: "The streets are filled with WATER!" and "Where the fuck is the food and WATER?"
The aforementioned words inspired the following QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
"I love AMERICA more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
—James Arthur Baldwin
"If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone 'AMERICA died from a delusion that she had moral leadership.'"
"I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If AMERICA shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch." (...unless you're poor.)
—George W. Bush
"It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of POVERTY."
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The mother of revolution and crime is POVERTY."
"POVERTY may be the mother of crime, but lack of good sense is the father."
—Jean de la Bruyere
"POVERTY is the worst form of violence."
— Mahatma Gandhi
"One of the true tests of LEADERSHIP is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency."
— Arnold H. Glasgow
"The only safe ship in a storm is LEADERSHIP."
"You don't drown by falling in the WATER; you drown by staying there."
—Edwin Louis Cole
"WATER, WATER, every where, Nor any drop to drink."
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I can't help but notice that the quotes I posted that day resonate even more today than they did three years ago.