“The Past: our cradle, not our prison; there is danger as well as appeal in its glamor. The past is for inspiration, not imitation, for continuation, not repetition.”---popped up for me in a Google search on an entirely different topic.
The quote is from Israel Zangwill, a humorist, journalist, writer, and political activist. He counted amongst his friends and colleagues, H.G. Wells. He coined the phrase “The Melting Pot”, in a play of the same name. He also wrote social satire such as "The King of Schnorrers" (1894). He was a political activist and humorist --- a combination I greatly admire. Oh, for those of you who don't know and might be afraid to inquire: A schnorrer is a person "who asks for little things like cigarettes or little sums of money, without offering a return" or someone who "will get money out of you any way he can, often through an air of entitlement...[but] chide you for not giving enough. A schnorrer is distinguished from an ordinary beggar by dint of his boundless chutzpah." But I digress.
The quote moved me to think about the upcoming 2008 election, and which direction we need to take the nation.
I believe we need to embrace the empowerment that the past ---the 1960s---has made us know we are capable of. I believe we need to create a progressive vision for America that is inclusive, democratic and self-sustaining. Check out, if you have not already done so, OpenLeft.com.
We need to shed ‘political spin’ for ‘intelligent discourse’. We need to be skeptical, but not cynical. To that effect, I recommend Al Gore's new book, ----“The Assault on Reason."
From the Amazon.com description of Gore’s new book ---
“It's the political environment he's concerned about in The Assault on Reason: the way we debate and decide on the critical issues of the day. In an account that balances theoretical discussion of the foundations of democracy with a lacerating critique of the Bush administration, Gore argues that the marketplace of reasoned debate our country was founded on is being endangered by a variety of allied forces: the use of fear and the misuse of faith, the distractions of our entertainment culture, and the concentrations of power in the national media and the executive branch."Yup, the past is prologue. We have lots of work to do for 2008.