While not exactly what was delivered, this was the notes from the speech which inspired me (posted 12/22).
Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters, I welcome you here to a very special day.
Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the end of the War to End All Wars- WW I. Today we gather in a commemoration and celebration of the enactment of the Armistice Agreement which became effective 100 years today, 11/11/1918 at 11:00 am.
After only 19 months in that war, the United States suffered over 1.6 million lost or wounded by some reports. As we can see from our history and current news, this was not the war to end all wars after all, and we are continuing down the same paths.
I plan to share my story with you today. And then I will ask you to consider some thoughts when I am done.
I ask you to listen to my words with an open mind, but also with discernment. Accept the words that resonate with you and let the rest go, but please don’t let the rest stop you from listening today.
My story starts not far from here, in a small logging and mining community in the Pacific Northwest called Colville. Back in the 80’s this was not a very diverse part of the country, and it wasn’t until recently that I started learning more about the racist history of the area. It really doesn’t surprise me, because it was not a very diverse culture when I was there.
In my high school, we had one hispanic kid who I don’t think even spoke Spanish, but somehow he ended up with the nickname of Chico. There was another brown kid, but he was Hawaiian, so for some reason, that was different. Then there was one black kid. Him and I were friends, but he had also beat me up, so I wasn’t sure about that one.
Additionally, back in that time, I knew that there were some folks just north of here standing up for the rights of white men. While I didn’t pay close attention, I know the rhetoric I heard then was very similar to what I hear in the news today.
Nonetheless, I was a white male, and I was glad to know there were people looking out for me and those like me, and I knew that they could do so because we lived in America.
Hearing of the tensions rising in the Middle East before the first Desert Storm, I clamored to start my enlistment in the Army based upon the truth as I understood it at that time.
I raised my hand for the first time to defend our country and our way of life at the age of 17.
I joined the Army, and left Colville, my home as a proud Red Neck, and a proud American. At basic training,I was battle buddies with a great black dude from Indiana, I believe. It was basic training though, so there was not a lot of time to talk. After basic training, I got to be roommates with one of the brightest young men that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. While I don’t know where he ended up; as a young man, Charles Spencer Jr, a fine black kid from Chicago got burned into my memory as one of the brightest, and best men I had ever met.
After my training, I was able to travel the world at taxpayers expense. I’d like to thank you for that, by the way. Doing so, allowed me to meet beautiful, and amazing people and traditions from around the world.
During this service as a young adult, I started paying attention to politics. At that time, I resonated with the conservative voice. They believed in defending our country after all, and that’s what I was doing. The ironic thing is that even as a soldier, I bought into the conservative economists views that “War would be good for our economy”. I even said those words myself. I was also led to believe that Unions were destroying our country.
At the end of my military service, I was given a title of disabled veteran. I didn’t feel any pride with that title, but it did help me get a job at the Postal Service.
There, I soon learned a new perspective about Unions. I saw it as a way for the workers to have a voice, so I quickly became a proud Union member. As I learned of just how important it was us to be able to have a voice in our workplace, I soon became a Union representative and almost immediately, a proud Union leader. It was then that I started using the term Brothers and Sisters, but from a strictly struggle and solidarity, labor focused view.
With my involvement in representing workers, my political views changed, and I became a proud Liberal, and started supporting Democrats.
Throughout this evolution of my education and awareness of others, I still battled the personal demons in my head, and I found myself trapped in the bottom of a whiskey bottle for years.
After taking steps to regain my sobriety, I started to really look at myself, and through the same time, my education and awareness increased into the areas of race and labor and I saw how intertwined they are throughout our world history. As a result of my internal work and my continuing education, I believe that I have reached the final evolution of Jack…. I stand here today, to defend all of my sisters and brothers. Seeing us all as the same, and calling you all my brothers and sisters in the deepest sense of the words I now present to you myself, as a proud humanitarian, and environmentalist.
I share my story, because after my experiences and my travels I know for sure that I’m just like you, and we are like them. We each have our own stories and values, but there is no they. I was able to evolve as a man through my beliefs because I kept an open mind, and I was willing to let go of old beliefs that didn’t serve me. My greatest healings occurred when I was willing to accept the ugliness of my past without guilt or judgement of others, but by simply vowing to not make the same mistakes of my past, and choosing to change.
Aristotle’s words are true even today “An unexamined life is not worth living.” The inference from there of course, is that a life examined, might be worth living. As I examined my own life in my recovery from alcoholism, I also examined the life of our society….at least from my perspective, (and I urge you to do the same as well), I recognized that the similarities that we share between us are both the problem and our solution.
We have created a world of distrust, with a power struggle for control and dominance of one another, because throughout time, we have shown each other just how evil each of us is capable of behaving. Since the beginning of time, we have created false separations between us. First, by gender, then by God, then King, then Country and language and color. We have used those separations to claim superiority over one another, trying to force our own customs and beliefs onto the other. Over time, we have certainly given ourselves reasons to distrust. History has shown that humans can be evil creatures.
What we forgot, is that inside of each evil person that we separate ourselves from, is someone just like us who is trying to survive and find joy and comfort for themselves and their families. We need to remember that we are all brilliant, creative, loving, ingenious, tenacious beings.
We have come a long way from where we were as far as judging a man by the colors of their skins. Our nation still has a long ways to go, but heck, Colville recently had a rap concert that was bringing in $25 a head. That was a beautiful sight to see!
The solution is quite simple, I believe, but please ask yourselves these questions and see what answers you come up with.
Can we also agree that as our history shows, in past struggles for greed domination and control, there are those that will make decisions to harm another, without remorse? I think that our Wars have shown that.
Can we accept that since we are all the same, while we all have good intentions, even in our own families we sometimes make decisions that hurt each other? It’s not always easy to see what the right answer is. Can we agree that it’s a good idea to keep an eye on each other to make sure the information we rely on for our decisions is correct. Can we agree that with the system that we have created as our world society, we are probably not able to adequately do that?
Why do we go to jobs that we often hate to sell each other chemicals and products, or food that we know is toxic or unhealthy. Much of that unhealthy food also means that others of us have to go to factory farms where we murder billions of birds and mammals every year for unnecessary consumption and waste. I think that’s just in this country.
Why do we put our business executives into positions where they have to decide which is better…release news of technology or science that could harm their business, or withhold the information in order to meet their obligations to their shareholders and keep their job to provide for their families? Sometimes we even reward each other for doing that sort of thing.
Why do some of us willingly spread misinformation to create PR campaigns for these businesses? Why do some of us willingly look for loopholes in the laws to keep these corporations from being fined or penalized for errors?
Why do we have incentives for people to withhold news from the rest of us? Why do we have a system that allows our news sources to cater to the advertising dollars, and its employees to be censored because they are expected to follow the employers rules, or potentially face losing their income?
Why have we created an economy where natural resources and human labor are simply viewed as commodities and expenses on an accounting sheet? Why have we created a society that we farm men and women of the one irreplacable resource we each have? Why do we plant our time and labor at jobs to grow money for others to store in off shore accounts, accomplishing little more than building an economy of consumption and depleting our resources and harming our environment.
I believe history has also shown that we have created a world in which we allow ourselves to be defined not just by the colors of skin, but for even longer than that, we have defined each others’ worth by the amount of gold in our pocket or money in our accourn, or how much money we can produce.
We determine value based on the ability to make money for not only our businesses, but as individuals, and also to nations as well.
We currently have many of our brothers and sisters fleeing their homes and communities with little more than their children because the power has been shut off to their hospitals and schools. Not because of Mother Nature. Our brothers and sisters of Venezuela are leaving the homes of their ancestors right now because the world oil prices dropped, and other brothers and sisters of this planet decided to manipulate their economy to the point that their dollar is worth nothing as a result. These poor people have nothing now, only because of the rules of society that we have created and allowed.
I was at the bar the other night and saw on American televisions that we might be sending troops to the border because of our Venezualen brothers and sisters. I sure hope it is with open arms and to welcome them.
I read recent reports which said last year 1% of our population has taken control of 50% of our income. It also said that 70% of the working aged population has only 3% of the worlds wealth. Why are families fleeing their homes with nothing, when 1% control over 50% of the global wealth?
What we all know, but our society doesn’t currently support the idea that, money doesn’t create the value of men, men should create value for money. Why do we worship money, and not each other and nature? Why do we fight each other to try to dominate each other over money? Why do we support the rules we created which encourage us to do just such a thing? Why do we fight to keep this society alive?
What if we returned money to the tool that we intended it to be, as a fair representation of value to be used for an exchange of trade and service to establish commerce? Money is a tool that man created, remember? What if the creation of money into a society was decided by the collective, rather than the decision being made by banks who have responsibilities to their shareholders to make a profit. What if new money put into a society paid for hospitals or roads or schools.
With the proven reach of the global commerce that we have created, we have shown through transportation and technological advancements that we can unite every resource on this planet. I think that what we have achieved and uncovered, is the Garden of Eden. Every resource available on the planet can be made available to every country. With the advancements that we have made in agriculture and science, we can work cooperatively to make this place Heaven on Earth for every human being right now.
I believe that it is time for every man and woman in the free world to stand together. We need to remember that there are currently brothers and sisters alive who are not able to have conversations such as this. We need to stand together as a Nation to live by the principles we like to proclaim, and speak up on behalf of our species. We can demand that true technologies and sciences be shared with all of us from our governments and our corporations. No more lies. There can be no more attempts at dominination. There should be no more attempts at control.
We can all demand accountability from our corporate and elected leaders. They, and WE can truly refuse to recognize a government which does not respect its citizens. When our government is destroying our planet and peoples over money, they are not respecting its citizens. If our leaders are truly intent on working for world peace, they should take steps to gain control of our money again. If our current leaders are intent on keeping a dysfunctional society alive, then we should look closely at how and who our leaders are as well.
When the creation of money is taken back under control of its citizens, there is no more incentive for an oil company to withhold technology for free energy. There will be no more incentive to farm humans of their time and labor for the pointless creation of nothing more than money. If the 1% who have over 50% of the money don’t want to play towards humanities sake, I say let them keep 100% of the old money, and let’s get those men and women who confused us with derivative marketing investments to figure out how to create fair systems of commerce. They will need new ways to spend their days when we reduce the need of all the money manipulation jobs. We can work peacefully without the greed they have shown.
The time for change has come. Can we examine the life of our society? Can we truly start to honor the sacrifices of those who gave their lives as we tried to figure out how to get along with each other over these generations past? I don’t want to honor the sacrifices of any more heroes. I want to see their contributions in our world of peace, and I want to see them grow old as we talk about the old days in which we actually used to kill each other.