There are those who say that our movement is scattered, unfocused,
and incoherent. Until now, they have been right.
We have always known that the people united are a force
unstoppable. But we have, I believe, been intimidated by our
misconceptions of unity. Unity is not conformity, it is not unanimous
agreement, it is not the elimination of dissension. It is rather,
quite simply, the recognition of commonality, the acknowledgment that
we are all in this together, and the determination to work together
for the greater good. It was not too long ago, amidst the long, dark
days of lies and misdirection, that the spirit of resistance in
America seemed dead and beaten; but now, we can gather courage from
our actions, for we have already accomplished perhaps the most
difficult step: we are here together. We are not leaving, and the
World is watching. So let us be brave and let us raise a rallying cry,
for the cause of America is the cause of liberty and equal
opportunity, and it is truly the cause of the World. Let us show the
world the unshakable strength of our convictions, the unbreakable bond
of our solidarity, the unbridled might of our will united. To do that,
we must find our shared center and begin to direct our efforts as one.
Why are we here, now? We are here right now because of unbounded
greed and ruthless selfishness, because of those who participated in
the reckless business of sub-prime mortgage trading, predatory lending
practices, and woefully unmonitored speculative securities and
derivatives gambles. We are here because we have seen our hopes for
good governance dashed—again and again and again. We are here because
we can longer accept the status quo.
We are not here because we want to burn capitalism to the ground.
We are here because we can no longer abide the things that have
already broken our way of life: overwhelming inequality, unchecked
corruption, and rules rigged against the underdog. We are here because
the soul of capitalism-- fair play, social mobility, and equal
opportunity-- have been eviscerated in pursuit of multinational bottom
lines. We are here because we are fed up with supporting a system
built on the malevolent exploitation of the many at the hands of the
few. We are here to stand up for those who cannot stand up for
themselves, the struggling mothers and fathers, the hungry children,
the un-insured and the un-employed. We are here seeking justice for
the crimes committed against us and the crimes committed in our names.
But we are also here because we have not yet lost hope that things
do not need to be this way. We are here because it has become too
much, and we must at last stand up for what is right: for decency, for
compassion, for common sense. We are here to begin the process of
healing our wounded nation, to restore our place. We are here because
we are the ones who will do the things that must be done. We are
standing here today because if we do not, no one will stand in our
place. We are here for many different reasons, and have widely varied
opinions, but ultimately we are all here because we want to make our
country, and our world, a better place.
The potential that lies ahead of us is unrivaled in human history.
Potential for nearly unimaginable greatness, and potential for
unfathomable carnage. We must acknowledge that we live in times of
incredibly rapid change, as we are riding the ever-steepening curves
of the ongoing population boom, of skyrocketing energy and food
consumption, of the exploding, world-rattling developments in
genomics, biotechnology, and the continuously mind-boggling advances
in computational power. We live in exponential times, and so the
efforts we make today will be magnified unimaginable through a hundred
thousand tomorrows- but so too will our failures, and none will
reverberate with more chilling effect than a failure to try. In the
days to come, we will stand at the crossroads of the infinite, a
tipping point, one of those precious few moments in the vast stretches
of humanity's history where the actions of a dedicated few can guide
the course of all mankind.
So we must take a moment to ask ourselves an important question:
what is the future we want to live in?
What is the future we want for the children of the world?
Is it a future divided and bloodied by endless strife, fueled by
willful ignorance and petty disagreement? Is it a future dominated by
dizzying new heights of thoughtless greed and unthinking self-
absorption, a future of zero-sum, where the gain of one man must be
taken as the loss of another? Is it a future where the unrestrained
freedom of the few is bought at the cost of the liberty of the many
and where the happenstances of birth-- the chaotic lottery of genetics
and lineage and class and geography-- shall determine the course and
the worth of a child's life?
Or is a future where the grand possibilities of cooperation have
been recognized and the untold bounties of our combined efforts
realized? Is it a future where those in need are given the help they
need, the endless varieties of help we all sometimes need in order to
be able to help ourselves? Is it a future full of compassion and
community, where the first thought is not “whose fault is this?”, but
rather, “how can we make it better”? Is it a future where we strive to
be our best and to see humanity's impossible dreams made manifest, or
where we merely grasp in vain at what seems best for ourselves?
I know what future I want, and I know that I, am prepared to shed
my sweat as well as my blood to bring it about.
We must take action now to prove to ourselves-- and to the
world-- that the dark days are ending. We will no longer abide the old
norms of ruthlessness and fear, we will no longer accept the status
quo that “greed is good” and “more is better”, and we will not stand
idly by as our country, our livelihoods, and our values are parceled
off for crass profit. We will take a stand— here, now --and we will
not back down until we are acknowledged. For we are brave, we are
determined, and we are many. We are many and they are few, and those
responsible must be held accountable.
It is of the utmost importance that this does nor devolve into a
witch hunt or some crass parade of scapegoats. This must be an open
and fair pursuit of justice, because more than anything else it must
serve to prove that justice still exists. We have lost faith in our
system, and we can make no progress until our trust is restored.
Justice must be our first step towards a better tomorrow.
Now is our moment. Now is our moment to prove that not only is it
possible for us to make a better world, but it is in fact necessary
that we do so. Now is our moment to begin to retake control of the
national narrative, to rebuild our confidence that we are a nation of
good people, and to regain our rightful place in the world as a beacon
of truth, justice, and light.
And so, in service of that goal, let the waiting world hear these
words, the first of our demands, and let the high and mighty tremble
at the sound of their coming reckoning.