Friday, February 27, 2009

Now here's a politician...

Playwright and Hollywood writer David Beaird created this character for the first episode of 'Key West'...Mayor Pembrooke. The speech he gives at this political rally is wonderful because he speaks to the heart of what we are missing today-- a spirit of service. Too often we think of service as a volunteer or a donor to a charitable agency-- in this case I am talking about having a government that recognizes that it is its responsibility to protect the people, to serve people. In the episode, Pembrooke is running against a Republican woman (Chaucey Caldwell played by Denise Crosby) who is allied with the wealthiest man in town and others in the business community. She also has supporters among the religious community as we find out later. In Key West(the actual city) tensions were high during the making of the show over the business community's desire to be more tourist friendly (a battle that continues- or has been mostly lost- today) He says, "I am for abortion rights. I am for gay rights. I am for human rights. I also want the right to put some criminals in jail and throw away the key! And I want the right to demand that all those on welfare get off of welfare as soon as humanly possible. I am my brother's and my sister's keeper, not their sugar daddy. If you can work and you do not work, I am for your right to starve to death!

But, if you are old or disabled, or a child born into a poverty not of your making and beyond your understanding, if you are new to these shores and are confused and unable to speak the language, if you are a woman whose husband has died, and you are breaking your back to feed your children, then it is our obligation, our right, our joy to take you in, to wrap you in our arms and shelter you against the storm, to hold you safe against our breast and to make you understand that on this, the darkest night of all our lives none of us is really safe.

The storm that has blown your houses down one day will rage for us. And the only structures that will stand are the bridges that we build from misfortune to compassion. From denial to consciousness. From one heart to another. We are, thank god, our brother's and our sister's keepers. And this is our safety. And our joy. And our salvation."


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