“The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country.”
-George W. Bush
On November 6, 2003 at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, President George W. Bush’s speech discussed freedom in Iraq and the Middle East in the world’s never ending effort for democracy for all. He referenced progress made from the United States since our roots began in England, to its Parliament and provided an example where Soviet communism had failed during the Reagan administration because as he put it “precisely because it did not respect its own people-their creativity, their genius and their own rights.” Though the focus on President Bush’s speech was on democracy for Iraq and the Middle East, his quote I think is one that it still a calling for our own country even through we have been a democracy since 1776. As recent events have ensued with the Black Lives Matter movement and the Me Too movement do we as a nation truly respect our own people, their creativity, their genius or their own rights? By our actions, I don’t believe we have, otherwise we would not be in the state that we are currently in: a nation morally off course.
President Bush is right that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time and I believe it is still the calling of our country loud and clear. The question is not do we hear it but rather what That “our” means everyone: Black, Hispanic, Asian, White, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, etc. We are all not truly free as a nation nor a democracy if we cannot openly accept one another and our differences. Differences are not a bad thing. They are in fact a good thing. It is what makes use unique and diverse. It honors all equitably and makes the necessary strides through their collective actions, not their collective words. The movement has a strong cohesiveness and it is evident to all other countries that that nation is in fact truly one nation. They rise and they fall together. The word inclusion is often used in education and at my school we actually live and breathe this each and every day. Our ESE students and our basic education students are one and the same. They learn alongside one another in and outside of the classroom. They are even partners together for Special Olympics. They aren’t just one team but one family. That’s empathy, having mutual respect for one other along with kindness all rolled into one.
Democracy should promote social awareness through and through. It involves honoring differing perspectives, respecting others while promoting empathy and appreciating diversity. Only when this happens can freedom truly exist.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards becoming more socially aware?