Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

This was an amazing day for me. I felt a tremendous swelling of patriotic pride and love for America when I attended this meeting. Here I was, with a group of my friends and colleagues, meeting with one of our nation's Presidents because our small, do-it-yourself political operation had drawn his attention. I mean, this is largely work I have completed and a movement to which I have contributed from the bedroom of my apartment in West Philly. Somehow, in only a few years, this resulted in meeting with a former President of the United States. As I was thinking about this, I quickly remembered that President Clinton attended a public high school Arkansas (as I did in Liverpool, New York), and rose to become President of the United States. And here we were, conversing with one another as citizens, overlooking the New York City skyline, which is quite possibly the greatest architectural achievement in the history of humanity. And we were doing it in a neighborhood, Harlem, which has never been particularly wealthy but whose residents produced some of the greatest works of art worldwide in the 20th century. It was a dizzying and remarkable moment that reminds you just what the true promise of this nation really is, of the greatness we have achieved, and of the still yet untapped potential of America to accomplish far greater things still. As I walked back to the subway with Atrios after the meeting, crossing streets named after other great Americans who achieved far more than anyone had expected--Adam Clayton Powell, Martin Luther King, Malcom X--I could not stop thinking about how utterly vast our potential as a nation is. American democracy indeed.

I did not write anything on September 11th about the attacks of September 11th, but somehow to me now it seems more fitting to celebrate the day after the attacks than the day of the attacks. Immediately after we were attacked, we began to rise back up as a nation. Even in the face of conservative exploitation of the attacks to enact a radical agenda we have continued to progress. For example, the people-powered progressive movement has also grown to maturity since the attacks on September 11th, 2001, largely as a response to the conservative exploitation of that day. In the future, when our country is once again back on the right track, when we are tapping our full potential instead of cowering in fear from it, and when we are looking forward to the greatness we can achieve in the future rather than trying to merely replicate the accomplishments of our past, one of the main reasons for our success will be that millions of patriotic Americans were willing to stand up. They were willing to stand up to the mendacious sycophants that were distributing our information, the corporatist oligarchs that were tearing down our social investment, the anti-modernist theocons that were propelling the conservative movement forward, and the psychotic cultural supremacists who would rather set fire to the entire world rather than see time continue to inexorably move forward. Conservatives have endlessly tried to situate the "heartland" of America in a romanticized, bucolic past that never existed, but with every last remaining gasp of air in body, I will argue that I found that heartland beating in Harlem, the day after September 11th, 2006.

And yes, in the picture below, that is me in the back standing next to President Clinton. That is pretty darn cool in and of itself.

Tags: American Democracy (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

Will you still have the occasional beer with us peasants?

by global yokel 2006-09-12 04:28PM | 0 recs
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by ScottWalters 2006-09-12 04:31PM | 0 recs
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by Sitkah 2006-09-12 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

I used to think the world of Clinton. That was before welfare "reform" and before I got the internet and found out a lot of other deals he made with the GOP that the corporate media didn't tell us about at the time. Now I think he just wants Republicans to name a small federal building or ship after him.

by Sitkah 2006-09-12 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

Sitkah, I think you are wrong.  Clinton may have made some compromises, but I think when you look at the big picture, he was a truly great president.  Was he perfect?  No...but the longer you live the more you realize that we all have to accept some imperfection.  Compared to all other modern presidents, Clinton was truly great.  He did a huge amount of good in this world, and against great opposition.  

by MVD 2006-09-12 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

the longer you live the more you realize that we all have to accept some imperfection.

With me, it's just the opposite. As I've grown older, I've come to expect more from people entrusted with the privilege to govern their fellow citizens, and who make many a lofty promise of their character and intent in order to be given it.

But I can accept imperfection in politics. It's dishonesty, hypocrisy, betrayal, corruption, and oligarchy which have chafed me to the bone with time. To accept or excuse these things is to encourage them and pass them on to the next generation.

As for Clinton, I've said all I care to about him for now and will respectfully continue to disagree with you.

by Sitkah 2006-09-12 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

Hmm, sorry to rain on your parade, but the meeting was in Harlem and you talk about the great African American contributions that came from that community.  Yet, from the pictures, there seems to be few, if none, people of color.  Can you confirm whether this was an all-white gathering and what that says about the progressive left?  Is there a disconnect with the demographics of the premiere bloggers and the actual voters?

by exLogCabin 2006-09-12 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

The cool thing about this meeting is it's a group of citizens discussing the future of the country. That one of those citizens happens to be Bill Clinton is interesting and important because he has more means and opportunity to make the ideas in the discussion reality but in a larger context he has the same rights as a citizen as McJoan or Chris Bowers and that is very cool. President Clinton guarantees his own rights not through the exercise of power but the exercise of citizenship. That's VERY COOL.

by joejoejoe 2006-09-12 05:26PM | 0 recs
Phenomenal

After months and years of dissing the netroots and blogs as extreme leftwing--Clinton and the Dem leaders are recognizing the blogs.  This is giving credence for all the work they do for Democratic Party and the country.

by jasmine 2006-09-12 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

Wow, you met with the most ineffectual Democratic president since James Buchanan. Did you say thanks for NAFTA? For making the Bush years possible?

Sorry to be such a downer, but it's depressing to me that the blogosophere's best and brightest are wasting their time with this guy. He's a symbol of our failed past, not our future. We need to leave him behind the same way he left us.

by southpaw chris 2006-09-12 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

We should probably always be thankful that Dubya's posse, for all its shrewdness, did not realize the week after 9-11 happened that September 13th is the anniversary date for Francis Scott Key's watching the original Star-Spangled Banner wave over Fort McHenry in the defense of the city of Baltimore.  Any good speech writer could have used the reference to devastating effect.  Dubya's team never mentioned it once.  They wrapped themselves in the flag alright, but they never did call for the type of national effort which those bleak days of 1814 summoned forth from the citizenry.  But, what the hell do I know.

by VizierVic 2006-09-12 07:08PM | 0 recs
you should have...

taken the chance to tell Clinton his souless third way politics cost the Democratic party dearly, but I guess you were too busy gushing over a President who failed.

by jbou 2006-09-12 07:29PM | 0 recs
btw...

did you all ever think that this meeting of Bill and the bloggers is laying some ground for Hillary 08?

by jbou 2006-09-12 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On The September 12th Meeting

Geeze, what a bunch of sour grapes. Chris, I'm so glad you had a good time. I wish I could have been there too.

I wasn't in this country for most of the 90's. After the 2000 election and all that happened I found I didn't really know a thing that Clinton had done. It is really shocking that he was able to get anything done considering the animosity he faced from congress. So, while you can go ahead and diss him to your hearts content, I'm willing to bet none of you could have faced what he did every day from the haters and the endless investigations of everything he had ever done. IMO you have all picked up a RW talking point or two and should give the man a break.

by Kewalo 2006-09-12 11:49PM | 0 recs
by manie 2007-04-10 06:09AM | 0 recs

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