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The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Yet again a diary over at Daily Kos has inspired in me a need to commit a thought process to paper. In his excellent diary entitled I love Barack Obama, dKos diarist ToqueDeville excerpts the following passage from Barack Obama's keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention:

If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child.

If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription drugs, and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandparent.

If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

It is that fundamental belief -- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper -- that makes this country work.

"I am my brother's keeper" is the simplest, cleanest and most beautiful phrase to sum up my political and personal philosophy in this life and on this earth. It is also an excellent articulation of the platform Democrats should be echoing again and again and again:

  • I am my brother's keeper. I will not stand idly by while he suffers for lack of medical care.
  • I am my brother's keeper. I want him to succeed and have an opportunity to work hard and be rewarded for that work.
  • I am my brother's keeper. I love him as I love my own family and I want us to be safe from all threats, man-made and natural.
  • I am my brother's keeper. I will not leave him to suffer because help does not arrive.
  • I am my brother's keeper. I don't want to see him have to choose between eating dinner and filling up his car to get to work.
  • I am my brother's keeper. I don't want to see his children or mine saddled with the debt and bad decisions made in a time that was not theirs.
  • I am my brother's keeper. I want his children and mine to learn and be educated and have every chance at success and happiness in life.
  • I am my brother's keeper. I want his children and mine to have clean air to breath and safe food to eat and clean water to drink.

It's a great frame, I think. It speaks to compassion, responsibility and accountability for everyone - government, individuals, other leaders. You are my keeper and I am yours. The things I want for you and your family are the same things I want for myself and my family. We are responsible to each other.

Each of those bullet points represents a positive articulation of policy which should be broadly but clearly spelled out. I think it's a fabulous starting point even though my language needs to be refined.

posted by RenaRF at 11:06 AM 5 comments links to this post


Blogger Wally Banners said...


12:39 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I am my brother's keeper, unless I'm a member of the GOP! Great post. This is the kind of message that shouldn't be easily forgotten.


"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

5:34 PM  
Blogger KathyinBlacksburg said...

An outstanding post. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

2:41 PM  
Blogger EricDalnas said...

Thanks, but no thanks, I don't need anyone to be the keeper of me. Remember Katrina anyone, I'll rely on myself before anyone else.

11:27 AM  
Blogger dukevargo said...

"I am my brothers keeper" unless it is my brother who lives in a shack in Kenya, Africa and survives on $1.00 a month.

It would appear that Barak Obama left that one out.

11:42 PM  

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