| “Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed— / Let it be that great strong land of love / Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme / That any man be crushed by one above.” — Langston Hughes This Fourth of July offers an invitation to ask a question that’s just below the surface of the reckonings Americans are facing lately: Is America possible? The late civil rights leader Vincent Harding — whose conversation we’re revisiting this week — first came across the question in the title of a book. “I was struck by the playful seriousness of the inquiry, the invitation to imagine and explore the shape and meaning of a ‘possible’ America, an America still coming into existence,” he reflected in a 2007 essay. Even those unfamiliar with Harding might know his words. He was a leader in the Black freedom struggle and drafted Martin Luther King’s famous Riverside Church speech opposing the Vietnam War. He was also an incredibly generous mentor who spent his later years creating wells of wisdom for younger generations to draw on in their organizing and movement work. His educational initiative, Veterans of Hope, collects interviews with civil rights elders and is led today by his daughter and niece. If you’re looking for space to reflect this Fourth of July, I offer up some of the powerful questions Harding raises in his essay as a guide: “What is the America that we dream, that we hope for, that we vow to help bring into being?” “To whom do we think America belongs, and who has the essential responsibility for its future? Are we prepared to abandon the cynically-safe responses to these questions, responses like, ‘It belongs to the people with the most money, the best lawyers, and the greatest access to the levers of political power’?” “What shall [our students] do with the idea of an America in process, an America that is not a finished, sharp-edged block of white granite but is instead a malleable, multicolored gift of clay; still seeking, taking, giving shape, purpose, and direction?” I appreciate the way these questions allow us to revisit and broaden the boundaries of our imagination for the future. “Indeed, it is precisely in a period of great spiritual and societal hunger like our own that we most need to open minds, hearts, and memories to those times when women and men actually dreamed of new possibilities for our nation, for our world, and for their own lives,” Harding writes. “It is now that we may be able to convey the stunning idea that dreams, imagination, vision, and hope are actually powerful mechanisms in the creation of new realities — especially when the dreams go beyond speeches and songs to become embodied; to take on flesh, in real, hard places.” Though Harding, who died in 2014, wrote these words more than a decade ago, time has only revealed their truth. Perhaps to hope in America today is to believe, as Rainer Maria Rilke once advised, that if we begin today to live these questions, we will be able to gradually “live [our] way into the answer.” Yours,|
Editor, The On Being Project
Taken from his 2006 special Like, Totally… Dylan Moran (Creator and Star of Bafta-winning sitcom Black Books) discusses America being portrayed as the promised land and how American stupid people, sound more stupid than normal stupid people. Dylan also tries his best to explain how Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor of California (now that’s a perfectly ordinary sentence…NOT) Filmed Live at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in 2006
There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens.
That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig.
With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.
Isn’t it strange how millions of people on one side of the Atlantic, can instantaneously communicate with people on the other side, all at once, and with hardly any delay. Well, it’s not only strange, it’s incredible. To understand how data travels under vast oceans from one place to another, we actually have to start in the mid 1800s. This is the time when the first undersea cables were laid, and astonishingly, when the first communication took place from Europe to America. Since those first undersea telegraph cables, we’ve moved onto undersea telephone cables and more recently, onto fibre optic cables capable of carrying our beloved internet vast distances. ** For exclusive videos, mystery boxes and other rewards, please consider supporting me at; https://www.patreon.com/nostalgianerd **
A journalist and author, Daniel Hannan has been a British member of the European Parliament since 1999. He first came to wide notice in the United States when he made a speech on the floor of the European Parliament addressing the then-prime minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, about his disastrous economic policies. Hannan’s latest book is A New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America.
Amplifying on his new book, Daniel Hannan warns that the United States is Europeanizing, with all the inherent dangers that come with the expansion of the welfare state. “This expansion doesn’t just reduce economic growth, it tends to squeeze out personal morality.” Hannan, who connects the decline of the European family and society with the rise of cradle-to-grave welfare in Europe, has a special warning about the dangers of Obamacare “Once politicians assume responsibility for health care, they find that they have made an almost irreversible decision.” Hannan concludes that this drift to Europeanization is not inevitable if Americans honor the genius of the Founding Fathers.
Kiss on cheek 😉
“Let us be lovers we’ll marry our fortunes together”
“I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And we walked off to look for America
“Kathy,” I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
“Michigan seems like a dream to me now”
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I’ve gone to look for America
Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said “Be careful his bowtie is really a camera”
“Toss me a cigarette, I think there’s one in my raincoat”
“We smoked the last one an hour ago”
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field
“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all gone to look for America
All gone to look for America
All gone to look for America