America’s race relations, for instance, are being stirred by events. The law dissolves the fact and holds it fluid. But I want to propose something bigger. Yet a little waving hand built this huge wall, and that which builds is better than that which is built. They will disappear. America’s rigid self-images are being re-examined by whoever is in the oval office. Or just turn a corner. PRI.org
Perhaps you had today off and could spend another day thinking about the 363 days ahead. The hand which built can topple it down much faster. That 2017 can become, in an instant, the year zero. They urge us variously onward to make good on once outlandish-seeming promises or to hold back and defend, to hold in place an America we were once certain was on a far different course than we see today. A flaw when we gloss over history and reconciliation that needs to happen. Let us rise into another idea. New arts destroy the old. Or you, like us, have rolled up your sleeves already.
One more thing. Begin again. We can become someone else, we can choose a different path, we can begin a grand project unconcerned that we might have begun too late, or without the proper training, missing some supposedly crucial paperwork. The universe is fluid and volatile. I want to reach out to the entire community of curious, interested people and renew the idea of public radio, public media. We don’t have to be the greatest country in the world, because we can all reinvent ourselves, renew ourselves. Our globe seen by God is a transparent law, not a mass of facts. Let’s make public media even more public, make it a powerful voice of all of America and hear that full-throated voice in these conversations on this program and every other. They are all in play. Simple as that — we begin again. This is a curiously American trait. This renewal is a strength when we see that our nation need not be imprisoned by inflexible myths and traditions. A strength and a flaw, this renewal. The contests we have lost or the contests we have won. Let’s use that knowledge, put aside fear and begin. Whatever battle we see before us, let’s remember that our nation, for all of its flaws, is dedicated to the idea that we can be renewed. Everything looks permanent until its secret is known.”
So let’s choose a cause. Ralph Waldo Emerson — that very strange New Englander of the century before last — had this to say about the American idea of renewal:
“There are no fixtures in nature. This commentary was first broadcast on PRI’s The Takeaway, a public radio program that invites you to be part of the American conversation. This is well beyond the impulse for the familiar New Year’s resolution. We seem to come upon this new page of the calendar with anxiety and girded for battle. “The Greek sculpture is all melted away as if it had been statues of ice; here and there a solitary figure or fragment remaining as we see flecks and scraps of snow left in cold dells and mountain clefts in June and July. Ralph Waldo Emerson seems to even have something to say to that:
“You admire this tower of granite, weathering the hurts of so many ages. By silicon, by the computer, by global network communications. Better than the hand, and nimbler, was the invisible thought which wrought through it, and thus ever behind the coarse effect is a fine cause which, being narrowly seen, is itself the effect of a finer cause. Our culture is the predominance of an idea which draws after it this train of cities and institutions.
If you are on one of these personal quests, I’m with you all the way. Let 2017 be the year we make something more public, more new, less categorizable, more young, more of everyone in this country. Permanence is but a word of degrees. So much has been made of that absurd and menacing sounding border wall that was a promise during the campaign. But it is still happening. Let’s take action. And we know a lot more as 2017 begins. See the investment of capital in aqueducts made useless by hydraulics; fortifications, by gunpowder; roads and canals, by railways; sails, by steam; steam, by electricity.”
We could, of course, add to that list. Happy 2017.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadListen to the Story. Let’s do it. For the genius that created it, creates now, somewhat else.”
Emerson continues: “The new continents are built out of the ruins of an old planet; the new races fed out of the decomposition of the foregoing.