In researching the exact meaning of carpe diem, while many believe it to be defined as seize the day, Wikipedia defines it as such, “Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace (Odes 1.11). It is popularly translated to "seize the day", however, the most appropriate translation, considering the meaning of "carpe" in the sentence as a whole, is believed to be "gather the day", as in picking or plucking a fruit.”
While most do believe it to mean seize the day, let us go with that. With the sound defeat of the immigration bill also known as the “Grand compromise”, Americans seized the day and let their voices be known. The outcome was indeed our own liberation of sorts as we come to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th.
Activists on both sides of this debate let their elected officials know exactly how they felt and the phones in our elected official’s offices lit up larger than any Christmas tree could display. But, the overwhelming majority of Americans said to our esteemed officials that they were not in favor of this bill and Washington did hear us. We should celebrate in that fact. We indeed seized the day and the opportunity to let our voices be heard.
One reason I believe why this bill resonated with Americans no matter what party they belong to or none at all is because it was a bread and butter issue. While I wish this same affect can have the same effect on the war in Iraq, maybe it can even though millions of us told these esteemed officials NO to any invasion of Iraq on February 15th, 2003.
I think it all boils down to the era of fear versus the era of a new found independence many of us are feeling now. That first protest took place when we all were feeling some sense of fear coming from this Bush administration. Now with President Bush’s polling numbers being at an all time low, we went for his Achilles heel.
As I saw his face after this bill went down and heard his shaken voice yesterday, it brought about a sense of self-satisfaction. Yesterday, those of us who were opposed to this immigration bill put President Bush in his rightful place. We made him irrelevant. Now that is independence. It was our ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment which will hopefully be recorded in the annals of history.
But, our mission is far from being accomplished as one reads that five more soldiers died in Baghdad. As reported by the AP this newest attack, “brought to 99 the number of U.S. troops to die in Iraq this month, according to an Associated Press count. The toll for the past three months — 329 — made it the deadliest quarter for U.S. troops in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.” I say we take our new found independence no matter what party you are a member of if any and light up the switch boards of our elected officials demanding that they save these precious lives.
As we do so, we should remind them it is ‘we the people’ that voted them into office and not the special interest groups such as defense contractors. We the people let our voices be known over all as we came down hard concerning this immigration bill. That is the lesson we should all take away from the demise of that “Grand compromise” piece of legislation.
What we as Americans should be doing and we must is paying attention to every single piece of legislation that comes down the pike and onto the senate and house floor. It means actually researching what these bills mean to all of us. That is true liberty to know what a bill contains and not depend upon anyone telling you how it will affect you. It is called a citizens guide to checks and balances.
This site, http://www.govtrack.us/ will only help all of us keep track of what bills are coming to the floor and what they mean to ‘we the people’. Each and every one of us should be doing our own networking and telling our friends and family what bills will either help us or hurt us. Do not let well organized activist groups be the voice of ‘we the people’. As much as we told this congress how we felt concerning the immigration bill, we must not rely on others to tell us what is important to all of us.
I wanted to include the voice of a reader who has read many of my pieces concerning illegal immigration. This is what Mike had to say, “I have been affected by illegal immigration due to the fact I was injured on the job in July 2004. I’ve had 4 back surgeries since then. I have no insurance, no job, and no salary no nothing. This is all due to the fact I was fired from my job because of my injury. The money I’m supposed to receive from workmen’s comp. is tied up due to fact the ins. companies are spending the money on illegal's for healthcare , when I can't go to the doctor, because I’m being penalized for being born in America.”
In closing, it is time that all good men and women come to the aid of their country as well as fellow citizens and start to demand that these elected officials be our voice in Washington. It is time we seized the day, claiming our own sense of independence and tell them that they either work for us, or go look for other work.
To my fellow Americans, I want to wish you a celebratory Independence Day this July 4th. Make it count for something.
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