"Healing for America" Project
Story by Debra Matthews
Welcome! Here's another mini-message in the "Healing for America" project. It's about why I decided to paint a We the People Oval Office Window, as a dual reminder to myself and others.
Why the "We the People Oval Office Window"
Copyright © 2018 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved
You might be wondering why I would make myself an Oval Office Window set, especially since I'm not a painter.
"Are you running for president, Debra?" you might ask. No, but there is a part of me that would like to be Speaker of the House -- if Speaker Ryan ever gets tired of the job. The U.S. House of Representatives needs a team-builder like myself up there, listening to all the sides, helping bring all the different factions together to find workable solutions. They need a person there working in a bi-partisan manner, and frankly, the American people want that, too. Everywhere I go, the American people are fed up with both parties.
I actually did look at doing a bid for Speaker. "How could you do that?" you might ask. Well, when John Boehner resigned from being Speaker, and Paul Ryan flatly refused the job, in their efforts to find someone else they discovered you don't have to be a member of Congress to have the job! I looked at launching a bid, but then Mr. Ryan changed his mind and took the job after all.
So, why the "We the People Oval Office Window"? I originally made it just as a backdrop for YouTube speeches I made over two election seasons. The speeches were kind of a "Let's look at all the sides of the issues like grownups" thing. I dressed in my best suit, sat in front of my old camera and offered up suggestions on how, in a high-debt situation like we're in right now, we the people can work with our Senators and Representatives to bring things back around. It was also about things it isn't the government's job to do, and how we the people can fix a lot more things on our own if we all come together.
Of course, I'm an unknown in the world of politics, so no one really saw the videos. My busy representative can only afford to give appointments to big donors, not everyday folks like me, so talking to the camera was my only outlet at the time. When the election was over, I moved my Oval Office Window to the back room and put the camera and lights away. I took the speeches down.
For some reason, though, I couldn't get away from it. Then, I realized why. We still need 'We the People' back in Washington, D.C. I need the image of the Oval Office in front of me, to remind me of who we are, what we are supposed to be, and what part you and I -- We the People -- are supposed to play in keeping this nation strong.
America is -- or can be, if we refuse to let go of it -- the dream of millions of people all over the world. 'Ask an accent' (different story) in any store why they came here. Think of why most of your ancestors came here. It wasn't the idea of just a handful of people who came across the ocean to have a business, like some people claim. If you don't believe me, go read the Declaration of Independence with pen and paper in hand. Make a list of the reasons people came here. You'll find it's very different from what the politicians and some teachers say. They say America started on different reasons, but if you make the list, you'll see the reasons why they started it over 200 years ago are still valid reasons we want peace and freedom today. The idea of America is still valid and needed today.
Laugh at this thought if you like, but America was God's experiment, to have a nation like no other in history. And, yes, she has made some painful mistakes. What young country hasn't? Most countries in the world have been around for thousands of years. We've only been here for a few hundred. I bet you made some pretty bad choices when you were young, too -- and lived through them to make something of your life. Living in a free country makes that possible.
In most nations in the world, whatever your father did for a living is what you are stuck doing yourself, for the rest of your life. If you're in a socialist or communist country, you'll be forced into groups, all making the same tiny wage. You won't have a chance to be creative or build a dream -- it's discouraged, and often greatly punished. Examples from the histories of Russia, China, Cuba, and in a different way the middle East, are rampant. Our young people don't know that anymore, but they need to hear it before they lose what is the most desired commodity in the entire world -- freedom. Freedom to be who you were meant to be. Freedom to be safe, to have the job of your dreams, and plenty to raise your family on and to help others in need. Freedom to come together in that open marketplace of ideas and talk about solutions. There are people trying to stop that today when big money hires or stirs up protesters to shout you down or to prevent you from getting to a meeting where you want to hear different ideas and bring differing ideas together to find real solutions. We the people need to wake up and become involved again.
People who hate this country have been trashing it and rewriting its history, so our youth won't understand. We have to remember. I have to remember, and that's why I put my "We the People Oval Office Window" back up.
By displaying the window prominently in my house, it reminds me that the White House, Oval Office and Congress are ours. It is OUR WINDOW and OUR GOVERNMENT! And if 'government of, by, and for the people' isn't working, it's because somehow 'we the people' are no longer engaged in it. We have let our Senators and House Representatives and a number of previous presidents and their cabinets stop listening to 'we the people', and it's past time to fix that.
It's time for we the people to pay attention. It's time for us to research the issues, talk to each other and come up with solutions, and get our representatives in all levels of government to listen and to do what we sent them to do. It's time we pay attention to who is running for dog catcher, school superintendent, city council, judges and all the other positions at even the lowest levels. The people running for those positions are getting themselves in line for the higher positions. Let's pay attention to who they are now and if they are in it just to build their own careers, at the cost of 'we the people', then let's get someone else in those jobs. It's time for everyday citizens to get involved again, and run for office. We the people know what we need.
So, why do I put the 'We the People Oval Office Window' in a prominent place in my home and on the Healing for America web site? It's to call attention to the fact that this is our land, where "we hold these truths to be self evident that all [people] are created equal" and all have the God-given rights to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Together, we have the freedom to do what we can to keep peace, safety, prosperity, and all the other parts of freedom in this great nation.
Making it a 'we the people' window is a reminder of what can and should be. And if I find myself tempted to start pointing fingers at this party or that one, while I'm standing in front of that reminder, I can look down at my hand where three other fingers point right back at me and remember, If I'm not doing something to build the country back up, then I've become part of the problem.
God bless this great nation, and help us all do our part to work together to make it the haven it's supposed to be for all citizens equally.
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