I once visited the great battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was in July, on the 141st. anniversary of the battle. Sticky hot. Lush. Vintage. Charming. And it carried with it a song that will echo through my mind and heart forever.
I was on a personal pilgrimage, fighting my own battle at the time. I had been given a ‘song’ to craft for my Self and this became one of the many places I had travelled to ‘Wow!’ me into writing it. And it did! Leaving a lasting impression of what really matters when thick comes to thin.
As I walked the groomed pathways, and read the markers and monuments of Gettysburg it gave me chills. I reflected on the earth surrounding me. The rolling hills of forest lining the expansive green, grassy fields. Wooden-fence-lined narrow streets and walkways. Shell-shocked walls that stood in tribute to the shift one Country took by it’s own hand. What was it like?
I could still feel the energy by remaining still and listening to a certain tree I kept visiting during my stay. I couldn’t keep away. The Witness Tree. An aged Sycamore that was still living and present during the battle. Tall, full and whispering the name of each soul whose blood, over time, has surged through the roots giving a name, and a heart beat, to every branch, stem and leaf.
I stood for a long time beneath the branches, touching it’s skin, as a I would a nurse tending to a wounded Soldier. I gave thought to the brothers-in-arms, (literally brothers-in-arms). I shed tears for those waiting at home for them. A country torn apart by itself and unstable.
I gave thought to the Leaders on either side who carried the burden of sending their faithful followers out to kill their fellow-man over the causes they justified at the time. Swallowing their thoughts and angst. Trying not to rehearse the letters in their mind that will soon need to be written. Leading them valiantly forward.
And it brings me to today…As a Canadian I hold my neighbours gently, though we’ve had our battles too. My Grandfather was born in Wisconsin. My long-time friend is from Oregon. My step-Daughter a proud Iowa Hawkeye Alumni diver. My Son a second year student in Ohio at U.N.O.H. And I LOVE Disneyland!
With these connections, let alone the U.S. of A. being my Country’s neighbour to the South, I am wondering how their 2016 Presidential Election is going to survive or, better yet, if they will survive their 2016 Presidential Election.
We all affect one another on this huge orb in the sky, so I know it will affect me and those I love.
I am a ‘heart-justice’ advocate. Pretty ‘yes is yes’, ‘no is no’. Solid boundaries make solid People. And I do feel for the People. There has not been a politician I have hoped for that has not been a disappointment; sometimes at a great cost to it’s People. Of course you cannot please everyone and one can only deal the cards they are left with. However, there is one man rising from the debates who is elUminating hope!
As an outsider looking in, and from a person who imagines rule from the heart (for it is the heart of man that makes the man) I can only provide you food for thought, gathered by my feelings, reading history, after listening to The Witness Tree, absorbing it’s melody…
You can go here to read about his American Dream footprint: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders and here: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/about . I can list them all for you, but YOU need to absorb the story, and future possibilities, that flow inside it’s bark. These are the ones that stand out to me:
- the longest-serving Independent in U.S. congressional history
- while a student at Univ. of Chicago a member of the Young People’s Socialist League
- an active Civil Rights protest organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
- In 1963, he participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech!!
- long been critical of U.S. foreign policy
- an early and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War
- was against the proposed extension of the Bush tax cuts
- takes into account successful governing policies of OTHER countries
- is a leading voice on issues such as income inequality, universal healthcare, parental leave, climate change, LGBT rights, and campaign finance reform
- outspoken on civil rights and civil liberties
- is critical about privacy rights inhibited by surveillance policies
- values a man for his mission not his religious title or faith
- and though I’m not a gun-in-your-home believer, ‘when in Rome’… he voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of which I understand the value
- does NOT degrade his Opponents by lowering his integrity
- speaks up for the environment, the future, and his People
- urges a better starting wage for the working class, the ones who actually DO the building!
WOW!!! That is only a few! Dig deeper and you will discover his career “HooWAHs” fighting Corporate, Environmental and Pharmaceutical warlords! This man has GRIT! I haven’t read of a man more suited for this position of leadership, with the matters of today at hand, since Abraham Lincoln!
I stood on the same soil President Lincoln did, in the heat of a Gettysburg summer. Only, for Abe, it was blood-soaked, stenched and soiled. He DIDN’T beat his chest in his quest to conquer. He DIDN’T criticize, diss or degrade the opponents. He made it aware, TO the People, that it was NOT HE who could pay homage to the land they stood upon, NOR pay homage to the sacrifice the People made! THE PEOPLE already did it!
So…Friends to the South of me, the Country that welcomed your ancestors from far and wide to be Free and live your impossible Dreams; a Country that was once, and still is, built upon the backbreaking labour and courage of it’s People, I hope you will once again FEEL “…a new birth of freedom-and that Government of the People, by the People, for the People shall not perish from the earth.” where in God (under all His many faces) you trust, NOT corporations, media, propaganda and rhetoric.
Look back in time to plan ahead for the future. Who do YOU think would stand steady, like that great Wisdom Tree, WITH his People to secure and refine the legacy of your Country’s values? Feel the heart beat.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, “GETTYSBURG ADDRESS” (19 NOVEMBER 1863)
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”