September 6, 2012

Shocker: A Convention Speech of Reasonable Ideas, or Sound Familiar?

If any of you caught Tuesday keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro certain sections of his message might have sounded familiar to regular readers of this little blog (both of you).  For those that missed the talk - and those that just like everything neatly served to them - here are the exact sections in question from the full transcript:

My family’s story isn’t special. What’s special is the America that makes our story possible. Ours is a nation like no other, a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation. No matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward.
Julian Castro delivering his keynote Tuesday
America didn’t become the land of opportunity by accident. My grandmother’s generation and generations before always saw beyond the horizons of their own lives and their own circumstances. They believed that opportunity created today would lead to prosperity tomorrow. That’s the country they envisioned, and that’s the country they helped build. The roads and bridges they built, the schools and universities they created, the rights they fought for and won—these opened the doors to a decent job, a secure retirement, the chance for your children to do better than you did.
And that’s the middle class—the engine of our economic growth. With hard work, everybody ought to be able to get there. And with hard work, everybody ought to be able to stay there—and go beyond. The dream of raising a family in a place where hard work is rewarded is not unique to Americans. It’s a human dream, one that calls across oceans and borders. The dream is universal, but America makes it possible. And our investment in opportunity makes it a reality.
Now, in Texas, we believe in the rugged individual. Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps, and we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can’t do alone. We have to come together and invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.
And it starts with education.
We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don’t accept is the idea that some folks won’t even get a chance.  Of all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa, the one I find most troubling is this: If we all just go our own way, our nation will be stronger for it. Because if we sever the threads that connect us, the only people who will go far are those who are already ahead.
To us, that sounds an awful lot like the ideas that we were trying to get across in this post about the underlying mesh that binds a society.  We came up with an esoteric - and overwrought - way to describe what Mr. Castro describe far more eloquently.  It was more than a little comforting to hear one of the political parties at least paying lip-service to the notion that we are all in this together for better and for worse.  Perhaps it's our perceptions and biases coloring the memory, but we can't recall that sentiment being explicitly or implicitly broadcast at the RNC last week.  Can you?

We will always admit to being a sucker for this type of hopeful, positive message.  And, we are sure these and any other speeches delivered in Charlotte this week should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.  We can't, however, refrain from getting more than a little hopeful when someone of prominence in the public policy sphere says things that are eminently reasonable.  Can we change politics if we all start looking at how we can grow closer together in this country, and be always mindful of how we can help each other out?  Yes, we can.

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