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Moving Forward| listen
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Some people have to know their world by forming. History's full
of those people. I got that package. I have to form to know, to
understand. But I think, too, there's a certain amount of protest
in being constructive. The world is very destructive. Things happen,
whether they be family tragedies or just an overall sense of tragedy
or doom or destruction of environment, of culture, that we live
with daily. You protest that by being constructive, by finding beauty
in things, by organizingbringing order to a picture, to a
song. When you're a teacher and a father, you have to model that
life is about constructing, constructing, or I don't think you'd
be very good at it.
very hard to teach high school today in America. The multitude of
distractions. And so the teacher in me kicked in and said, I'm not
changing my plans. And I was very disappointed that the other teachers
did. It at one point became a, you can go down to one of several
rooms and watch it on TVwhich I still think was perfectly
inappropriate. In times of destruction and tragedy, you remain calm.
You are a model of peace and rationality. And that's how I handled
that day. And I honestly did not ask, talk to, get any information
until that evening when I got home. I was a teacher that day.
when I got home, I did turn on the news. Mostly I was concerned
because I have a number of friends in New York City, and had a former
student who had just taken a job in the second tower, 17th floor.
So when I let my mind go there, I was scared, I must admit. But
I remained focused and asked my students to do that.
was demoralized, and still am. And I have to say, that the September
11th and the October 7th dates are two dates mixed into so many
more. It's easy for me and you and all of us to sit there and pick
these two dates out as significant dates. We live in a world where
we've chosen violence as a way of solving things, as moving forward,
as creating economies. And those are not the only two days of last
calendar year where I was crushed, disheartened, and demoralized.
They just aren't. Susan and I attended a peace rally on the steps
of the Capitol, because I needed to be somewhere where there was
some hope. I don't accept it. I will not accept this. Man, I got
kids, and maybe grandkids. I do not accept that they will be in
a world where violence is the way.
is a place of great pluralism. We never melted into the pot, and
I don't think we're going to. We come from so many places, and we
need to take care of that. And so, if there is an American spirit,
it is that. It is that, for me. It's what I think the rest of the
world is looking at and watching in the American experiment. Can
they really do this? Can they really be that different religiously,
in ethnicity, culturally, and live side-by-side, andnot just
tolerate and acceptnurture one another's differences. Can
they really do that? I think it's well worth exploring. And if there
is a spirit, that's the one I want to take part in. The one I don't
like is the militaristic one.
In my heart, I think we need to move forward. We need to stop
gauging everything from that place. And I honestly believe if you
could contact those men and women and children who were in those
airplanes, realizing they were headed for a skyscraper, they would
tell you one thing. They would say, Get busy and create a world
where no one flies into skyscrapers. We cannot come back. Make sure
your energies, your resources, are about creating a world where
people are not terrorized. No one, anywhere. And if you are going
to be a superpower, realize that defense is in peace, it's in making
sure everyone has what they needthat true peace is a result
of justice. It's about looking at the big picture and realizing
that we have a huge responsibility as a wealthy nation to this planet,
and that a true defense is about defense of the planet.