This I Believe

Dick - Bellevue, Washington
Entered on March 16, 2007

As a teacher my despair was not the result of any one particular incident, it enveloped me as an accumulation of incidents and experiences. Then one day I looked at my students’ eager faces and I looked out the window at the world America had created for them and I was overcome with silent grief. For in that moment it became clear that the American ideal and the American reality had parted ways. The American mythology which I had deperately embraced and passed on to my students had become, instead, a cruel hoax.

We claim to have a government of the people yet coporate and monied interests have far more access to it than do “the people.”

We claim to be the world’s purest democracy yet fewer than half of our citizens vote and our elections are won and lost based on money raised and spent, not policies proposed.

We claim to have the world’s best legal system yet the type of justice one receives is directly related to who you are and how much money you have to spend.

We claim to be founded on Christian principles yet the only thing we universally worship is the dollar and the conspicuous consuption it makes possible.

We stridently espouse “family values” yet half of our marriages end in divorce.

We profess great patriotism yet few of us volunteer to defend the country, instead placing that burden on the backs of the economically and socially disadvantaged.

We proclaim that our Constitution and Bill of Rights are the greatest documents in the history of civilization yet, since we can’t come close to agreeing on what they mean, they become agents of divisiveness, not unity.

We are abandoning our public schools and thus our future as a pluralistic nation of equal opportunity.

Because none of the above can be credibly denied, I believe that we, the American people and our governing officials, have betrayed the great American experiment.

This I believe.