Remarks by Phillipe Guy Simon at Greenfield Town Common, January 20, 2017
Phillipe Guy Simon, Chair of the Human Rights Council of Greenfield, was among the speakers at a Counter-Inauguration Rally hosted by Franklin County Continuing the Revolution (FCCPR) on Friday, January 20, 2017, on the Greenfield Town Common. Following is a transcript of his remarks.
When I think of continuing the political revolution I think of radical change. Not a Band-Aid application but a major operation. Revolution is aimed at changing the system, the structure, the bottom line. It’s been no mystery to many why this is needed. The bottom line needs to change, the ultimate priority needs to be different, and our allegiances need to change.
Many salute the flag and pledge their allegiance to what America represents or stands for. Its prose remains a flowing and beautiful piece but I think we need to say more and say something about today.
I pledge allegiance to the poor because poverty undermines our value and breaks the family bond of humanity.
I pledge allegiance to people of color and our nation’s uniqueness and richness of diversity through which our collective wisdom perpetuates a nation of world leaders.
I pledge allegiance to affordable if not free healthcare because after all we do in this life, our good health is still the most important gift we have.
I pledge allegiance to the needs of our veterans, broken, maimed and traumatized who put their flesh and mind and heart between us and those perceived threats to our well being.
I pledge allegiance to the women and mothers of the world as they seek to expand their role in human society. They deserve our respect, compassion and loyalties, they, out of all, require most our allegiance and devotion.
I pledge allegiance to all the animals of the land, sky and seas. Our survival is important but must be tempered with enough restraint and consideration to not impact their lives in a negative way; we are a part of the same family as all beings throughout the entire universe.
I pledge allegiance to the elders. Those brave souls who pass down all the comforts, all the rights, all the struggles and joys that we feed our hunger for life.
I pledge allegiance to the working people of this world, who labor and toil to near exhaustion with the utmost loyalty to their job without, in many cases, a living wage, good health benefits and free time.
I pledge allegiance to all the living flora of this world, our relationship is of primary importance and our symbiosis is best guaranteed by our concern for their health and our realization that we share this world. We have responsibility because of this but it also means we will never be alone.
I pledge allegiance to the freedom of thought and ideas, and to the notion that each and every one of us has a valuable gift that should be shared with all humanity. We should never be shut up, censored or blacklisted.
I pledge allegiance to any individual who seeks to define themselves with any spiritual, philosophical, or sexual orientation. No one should have to be ashamed of who they are. No one should have to be apologetic for the path they choose to find themselves. Everyone has a basic validity.
I pledge allegiance to the original inhabitants of this continent, a brown people, known as the First Nations. Those that settled this land from other places held the wrong conception about our relationship to the land. It is not an object to be seized, owned and damaged; it is our mother who provides everything. This allegiance will serve to regain the knowledge of the right way to live here and will propound those indigenous values that have all too long been silenced and give special assistance to the beleaguered state of Native Peoples.
I pledge allegiance to the truth of our past and present and I pledge allegiance to all who stand up and speak their minds and convictions in the best interests of us all. I pledge allegiance to you who are here today and want you to know that you are a succession in a grand line of Americans who have given their time, their thoughts, their lives to our overall progress and social development.
Robert Gould Shaw
Susan B Anthony
Roger Hooker Leavitt
Martin Luther King Jr.
Eugene Victor Debs
Martin Luther King Jr.
Rev. CT Vivian
I could go on and on but I want to remind you that although the story, life, wisdom and direction of Frederick Douglas was a light to us, a beacon and inspiration, it was the hundreds of black men of the Massachusetts 54th who stormed Fort Wagner, it was the thousands who volunteered in this state alone, and it was the 100,000 African American Union soldiers who brought the conflict to its end. As gracious and ingenious as Chief Joseph was as he led his people on their attempted trek to freedom, it was the strength of character, self sacrifice, and unity of his people that made them legends in the story of this land.
In truth and reality it is force of our expectations, our hopes, ambitions and dreams that ushers in change and most of what is beneficial to us. We are all leaders.
But something is happening in America that does not follow this noble democratic tradition. We vote but the vote is ignored, delayed or when in conflict with the interests of a few, brushed aside. We voted for a president but the majority did not win. We voted on referenda that is being dragged out and delayed, and when overwhelming opinion presents itself, even in our town, it is ignored because it is economically challenging. This is where we can fill the gap but we must be organized and connected because our strength is in our numbers and in our public expression. Not behind closed doors, not a compromise or political or business deal. When we want what we want, we should have it and only tempered in consideration with our fellow citizens who have different ideas. We are here today because some of our peers with brilliant minds have created that path of political participation. Let’s take it and make it everything we want it to be! Lets continue the best part of our national legacy!