Friday, September 07, 2012

Putting on the armor of light ...

Among all the great and inspiring oratory last night --- Barack Obama and Joe Biden foremost --- the speaker who most unexpectedly caught my attention was U.S. Rep James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina (below). Maybe it was just because you so rarely hear the Bible quoted publicly these days to uplift and affirm rather than twisted to condemn and tear down.

But after invoking "We are not here to curse the darkness; we are here to light a candle," a line from John F. Kennedy's 1960 acceptance speech that harkened back to the great Eleanor Roosevelt, Clyburn concluded:

'Romans 13, verse 12 tells us: 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.' Let us go from this place, lighting candles all across this great country and re-elect President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden so they can continue moving our country forward into the light."

What better way to summarize the contrast between the sorrowful darkness of fear and divisive insecurity evident last week in Tampa and the light evident in Charlotte this week.

Where there was no fear of that rich mix of ethnic, racial and religious diversity that will carry America's promise into the future.

Where there was no fear of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender people or uncertainity about women's ability to make their own enlilghtened decisions about reproductive and healtcare issues.

Where there was no fear of the poor, the marginalized, the old and the children of immigrants, legal and otherwise.

Where there was clear and flag-waving commitment to the futures of our best young people, tangled for too many years in debilitating and deadly warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Where there was above all a clear committment to the American dream --- for everyone.

The sadness here is the absence in this movement forward of the tempering classic commitments of the Republican Party --- to progressive caution, fiscal responsibility and the common sense sometimes needed to more effectivly channel dreams and move them forward. That's too bad. It may come back if the party can shake itself free of the darkness of fearmongers, obstructionists and bitter old men and move itself into the light. Time will tell.

But in the here and now, I'm sure proud to be a Democrat.

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