A few people wanted to know, what made us start Take Back America ? Well, here’s what motivated it:
This citizens’ movement, which is still a very small, fledgling movement, began just a few months ago as an idea. Well, as a series of complaints, really, which evolved into an idea. I was sick and tired…of so many things really.
I was sick and tired of listening to the crazy, yes I said crazy, extreme right, the Palins and the Bachmanns and the Becks and the Bartons, making outlandish and non-factual statements about America and what our founders intended. They know nothing about our history, and even less about what the founders intended. I wanted to find a way to help my fellow Americans understand our rich and complicated history. To understand that we cannot know for a fact everything the founders “intended” and that, for the most part, we should not completely care because it is one thing to learn from the past, it is another thing entirely to live in it.
What we DO know is that the founders did not intend for this to be a Christian nation, as the Christian right would have us believe, hence the First Amendment. They did not intend for the Constitution to be a dead document, static and unchanging as many on the right, like Ron Paul, would have us believe. What they DID intend was for this to be a nation of, by, and for the people, not a nation of , by, and for corporations; hence the wording of the preamble of our very own Constitution. What they DID intend was to build a nation that would grow and change with its people, not a nation trapped in time but a nation that was timeless; hence the Amendment process. What they DID intend was for Congress to put the needs and rights of the people, whom they’re meant to serve, before all else; hence the wording of Article 1 Section 8 of our Constitution: “Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”
Our founders, though flawed, were wise enough to know and understand that society is not static, that its needs change over time and that a strong government changes and grows along with its people.
I was also sick and tired of those same extreme conservatives claiming to be the voice of America, the true patriots. Pro-corporate, anti-choice ideals are NOT the American legacy. At the time of its founding, The United States of America was the greatest experiment in political progressivism the world had ever seen, and, in many ways, we still are. We were built on the principle that all men, or as we now think of it, people, were created equal. That each citizen has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That every American is free to worship, or not, however many gods, be it one or many or none, that he or she sees fit; a promise which America is still among few nations in all the world to give. We are a nation founded by and built upon the idea of moving forward, always seeking a new outlook and new way of being, a chance to be have more and to be more. We have never been perfect, and we have made more than our fair share of mistakes along the way, but we have never stopped moving toward the next horizon. You don’t get more progressive than this.
I was also sick and tired of watching Americans, hard working and seemingly intelligent Americans, voting against their own interests: in with the Democrats, then out with them and in with the Republicans, over and over and over again. Yet, no matter which one we put in power, we still seem to lose. I wanted to find a way to inform voters that we HAVE other options. You are NOT throwing away your vote if you vote for the candidate whom you believe WILL best serve US.
Furthermore, I was sick and tired of watching voter turn-out shrink with each passing election season. I wanted to find a way to get Americans to understand that our votes are our voice! We must, each and everyone of us, vote in every election, from local to federal. Do not, for a second, underestimate the importance of political involvement. Politics, “of, for, or relating to the citizens,” is literally about the people, and it affects EVERY aspect of our lives. From the goods and services to which we have access to the quality of our education to the fact that we can stand up and demand better. So vote, but do not think your duty ends there…No, this is the moment at which it actually begins. We did not get where we are now by the greed of corporations and the corruption of our politicians alone, we got here by our own complacency, more so than anything else.
For too long we have remained silent, even lazy. If we want to take back our country, if we want the political system to work in OUR favor, then we must work for it. We must make the ultimate sacrifice, that of our time and energy. We must take responsibility and we must take action. The rich get the attention because they make the most noise; they have lobbyist who make phone calls, write letters, and make meetings. Yet, the rich make up only 2% of the population, this means that there are over 294 million of us and only about 6 million of them. Imagine the force we the people could be if all of us performed our duty as citizens, if we each voted, wrote letters, made phone calls, or sent emails to our state and federal representatives every month. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so lets be the squeaky wheel.
Which leads me to my final issue…I was sick and tired of watching us fail each other, of watching us allow ourselves to be divided. We sit and we finger point and we blame the “welfare mom” for sucking at America’s teat, we blame the Mexican immigrant for stealing our jobs, we blame our out of work neighbor for being lazy…Why? They are in the same boat as the rest of us…struggling to make ends meet, trying to survive while their hopes and dreams turn to smoke and fade away. We need to stop looking for scapegoats among ourselves and start acting like a united front. We need to stop fighting WITH each other and start fighting FOR each other.
So, I took my complaints to some friends. And they agreed. And I asked them, do you think we have something here? Do you think our fellow Americans would agree? Do you think there is anything we can do? And they said, it’s worth a try. And so, together, we started Take Back America, and here we are. We don’t know where this group will go, but we know who we are, we know what we want: We want to reclaim our country!
We know that sitting back and hoping for change is not acceptable. We know that we are done waiting for our elected officials, our servants for all intents and purposes, to have a sudden change of heart and become ethical. We know that America is only as strong as its poorest, its least educated, and its sickest citizens. We know that we’re failing our children when possession of marijuana can land you in prison for longer than molesting them can. We know that access to healthy food, clean water, clear air, and health care are all human rights. We know that public programs like social security and education have made America strong, and that they have improved the financial well-being of millions of Americans. We know that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is a violation of their civil rights and that our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered citizens are no less American than your or I. We know that in order for America to live up to the vision it has of itself, a nation of liberty and justice for all, we must pick it up and carry it forward.
We know that change begins with the people. We know we must start with our votes…If our representatives, from our towns to our states to our nation‘s capitol, are not working for us then they must be voted out of office and never let in again. We know that it is up to us, the people, to make this nation work. “Of, by, and for the people,” should not just be seen as a promise for fair government, it should be seen as call to duty…a reminder that the power of politics lies within our hands. This is politics, all of us right here and now, living and working all across America…It is US, we alone have the power to make it work or let it fail.
© Karen Lyn and Take Back America, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author(s) and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Lyn, author post authors as listed on this blog, and Take Back America with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.