Throughout the ages, in many cultures, the bluebird is the symbol of happiness, good health, hearth, peace, prosperity and sign of better times ahead. America has always been a shining city on a hill. But over the last dozen years, we have stumbled from crisis to crisis. We have seen tons of steel collapse in the middle of New York City. We have seen levees give way to the winds of Katrina. We have seen Wall Street crack and buckle from the poison of toxic assets; and we have seen the destruction of Wall Street spillover onto Main Street, causing millions of people to lose their jobs and homes. But with the power of altruism and kindness, bluebirds will fly over the shining city on a hill once more.
Hello, my name is Ed Song. I am traveling to North Carolina to represent the 7th Congressional District of Washington at the Democratic National Convention. I was born in Fridley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, which has the unfortunate distinction of hosting the first number 1 ranked toxic waste site on the National Superfund Priority List. I am an Obama delegate because I believe that with his leadership, bluebirds are just beyond the horizon, flying once more to America.
The skeptics will tell you, now is not the time for altruism or investment; now is the time for austerity. They will say to the needy, the hungry and the worried, gives us the aristocratic class of America your money and we will lift you out of darkness. Give us the freedom to pollute the air and water; give us the freedom to bust the unions, and give us the freedom to corrupt our government officials and our new found wealth will trickle down to your lap.
When the mouthpiece of these skeptics from the resurging Randism movement proclaims that progressivism is a cancer, you know that their goal is not for a diverse America; but to exterminate all viewpoints that do not conform to their own. Thus, we have to stand up and defend our values. Today, the very survival of a liberal and nurturing society is under attack by a force that we cannot afford to underestimate. For you see, when Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves the plantation owners cried out, “Today freedom was lost, for we are no longer free to own slaves.” Today, the new gilded class has the power to change the definition of freedom to further their cause.
In America, the story of the bluebird has taken hold. According to Navajo legend, the bluebird is a great animal spirit that flies with the rising sun. The “Bluebird Song” is sung to remind tribe members that they are to rise to greet the rising sun. When Dorothy sang of bluebirds over the rainbow, she dreamed of lands where dreams really do come true. But the bluebird legend is best remembered from Walter Kent and Nat Burton’s There’ll Be Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover. When Vera Lynn sang this song during Britain’s darkest hour, under bombardment from Nazi warplanes, the bluebird became their battle cry of hope and resistance.
With hope, patience and courage on their side, the British were able to beat back the Luftwaffe; and bluebirds did fly over the White Cliffs of Dover again. When the Nazis were finally beaten back, love and laughter did break out. There was peace, and the world was free of Nazi tyranny.
Today's problems may not be as dramatic as the Luftwaffe blitz over London, but they can be just as deadly. Instead of death through blazing fire, the Great Recession of today just causes people to wither away. A progressive America is needed because without jobs, health care, clean air and hope people just wither away.
I know many of you the young feel let down because Obama has been unable to unite the country or implement New Deal type reforms. Four years ago, Barack Obama with his message of hope and change energized your spirits. Obama did reach out to his opponents. But people who believe that progressivism is a cancer will never compromise one inch with Obama. In their minds, to give in one inch would have allowed a great evil to win.
Now you have learned a hard lesson of life. You were young and the world was yours to conquer. With millions among your side, you thought you were strong and not even the people with great wealth and power could stop you. Now you know that sometimes change is a struggle that can only come with tons of sweat. Like the plantation owners during the Civil War, those with great wealth and power are determined to preserve their vision and way of life. It took a Civil War to free the slaves, and many lives to gain Civil Rights.
But do not lose hope. Many lives were sacrificed for one of Martin Luther King's dream to come true; the ability of a black man to become president. One day another dream will come true; the ability of a woman to become president. Furthermore, four years ago, the economy was in collapse much like the crash of the Great Depression. Had the skeptics been in power, the auto industry would have collapsed causing millions more to lose their jobs. Had the skeptics been in power, there would have been no financial reforms, and the depression laced economic era of the late 19th century would have returned. Had the skeptics been in power millions of people who now can have health insurance would have to wait for emergency care to tend their illnesses, perhaps too late to save their lives.
You see, we believe that bluebirds can nest in every neighborhood of the world. All well intentioned people deserve to have the opportunity for happiness. All people have the right to choose who they love and who they marry. All people have the right to live in neighborhoods that are free from toxic chemicals. All people have the right to better themselves through higher education and vocational training. All people have the right to be free.
Through patience, the shepherd did return to the valley to tend his sheep. Through patience, mom and dad will regain their home, and Jimmy will go to sleep in his own little room again. There'll be bluebirds over the shining city on the hill once more. Tomorrow, just you wait and see.