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William Rivers Pitt: What is Good

What is Good

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Sunday 04 July 2004


Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

- Dire Straits, 'Brothers in Arms'

The quality of sunlight in Asheville, North Carolina, on a late-summer morning.

The trackless woodlands of Oregon.

The Bonneville Salt Flats on a good, hot day, so the air shimmers and the mountains appear to hover in the distance.

The shady spot, at the end of Old Country Road, overlooking the Tennessee River outside Decatur, Alabama.

The corner of Carelton Street and Claremont Park in Boston, Massachusetts, with the city laid out before you.

The stretch of US-84 near Lubbock, Texas, where the nothing allows you to perceive the curve of the earth.

The Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, and Arizona beyond.

The July thunderstorms in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The top of Mt. Princeton in Colorado.

The top of Mt. Mansfield in Vermont.

The top of Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire, where the sheep ate off all the grass.

The smell of eucalyptus saturating Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

The mountains by day, and the stars by night, near New Paltz, New York.

The lament of the slaves.

Which became the blues.

Which became jazz.

Which proves that beauty can be born from incalculable sorrow.

Which proves the existence of hope.

The fact that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness became a creed.

The fact that everyone is equal became a creed.

The fact that freedom of expression, thought and action became a creed.

The fact that no state religion can be forced upon so diverse a populace became a creed.

The formula: To vote, to count every vote, and to make that vote count.

Or, in other words, a republic deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.

The process: The ongoing pursuit of that more perfect union.

The fail-safe, should matters become grave: The next sentence after "...from the consent of the governed."

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."


The Declaration of Independence.

Which proves the existence of hope, again.


William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for truthout. He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'

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