Renk Podcast: Reading Of Richard Schlatter‘s ‘I Have A Hope’ Piece
A listener of mine by the name or Dick Schlatter who is a local graphic design consultant and community volunteer. In 2017, he created a giant portrait measuring 96 square feet, of Abraham Lincoln using over 24,000 pennies which won the Public Vote Grand Prize in Artprize.
Dick is also a patriot who deeply cares about American. He also is very concerned about what is happening these days to our great country. With that in mind, he wrote and I read it on air:
“I HAVE A HOPE.
By Richard Schlatter July 4, 2020
Twelve score and four years ago, 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. This momentous event, on August 2, 1776, proclaimed that millions of people in a new land, called the United States of America, were now a sovereign nation and free of the reign of the British Empire.
But two hundred and forty-four years later, we are still not united. Two hundred and forty-four years later, we are still fighting—not the British, but among ourselves. Two hundred and forty-four years later, our country is sadly crippled by divisiveness, greed, corruption, biasness, and hatred. Two hundred and forty-four years later, some of us are standing on the corners of our streets and find ourselves prisoners in our own communities. So, I write this to not only dramatize the deplorable situation we are in, but because I have a hope.
As a nation, we have come a long way. But, in another sense, we still have a long way to go. When our founding fathers wrote the words of the Declaration of Independence, they were guaranteeing certain inalienable rights—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—to ALL people because we are created equal.
It saddens me to say that these rights are being threatened by partisan politics, violent protestors, anarchists, and an attitude of total disrespect—disrespect for each other, regardless of race, gender, or political views; disrespect for property; and disrespect for our flag and our country’s heritage. I am writing this to remind America of the urgency of this situation. Now is the time to get off the dark and desolate path we are on. Now is the time to go in a new direction. Now is the time to lift our nation from the divisiveness of partisan politics and work together for the good of all. Now is the time to end the racial injustice. Now is the time to stop the violence and destruction of property. Now is the time to bind up our wounds and heal our country.
We must not overlook the urgency of this moment. The discontent and unrest will not pass until our leaders and elected officials join hands in solidarity to lead us down a new path—a path to justice and respect for all.
We must continue our struggle for unity and mutual respect on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow violent protestors and anarchists to destroy our country. Again and Again we must rise to meeting physical force with a return to law and order. We must work together. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge to put partisan politics aside and seek the truth and what is best for our country, not what is best for our party or our own personal agenda.
We all come from different backgrounds and different life experiences. We live in different states and different communities. Some of us have been persecuted unfairly. Some of us have suffered from police brutality. Some of us have experienced discrimination. But while we all have different family trees, we are all part of the same forest. And if we let the flames of political bickering and hatred and self-righteousness continue to burn, then our country will go up in smoke like the hillsides of California in October.
Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a hope. It is a hope deeply rooted in the American dream—where anyone, regardless of the color of their skin or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success through sacrifice and hard work.
I have a hope that one day soon, in the chambers of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will rise up and put America first and not their party—that they will sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a hope that we can all walk the streets of our cities and feel safe, regardless of the color of our skin, trusting that our Police will be there to protect us.
I have a hope that someday we can make our voices heard in peaceful protest without infringing on the rights of others—rights that were guaranteed to us all by the Declaration of Independence.
I have a hope that we will show respect to those who put their lives on the line every day to protect us—our military, first responders, firefighters, and the Police.
I have a hope. I have a hope that every American, regardless of race, gender, or class, will respect each other; that the violence toward one another will stop, and that peace and brotherly love will prevail from sea to shining sea.
I have a hope that one day, our children—regardless of their color—will be taught the history of our great country and learn from it so they may be inspired to work to make our country better and not tear it apart because of the injustices of the past. This will be the day when all of us will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty….”
I have a hope that one day we will take to heart, the words“In God We Trust.” The scriptures tell us “if a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand.” Patrick Henry used this phrase in his last speech in March, 1799. “Let us trust God and our better judgment to set us right. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”
Let these words ring out over our great land—from the skyscrapers of New York to the slopes of California. And when this happens—when we unite in brotherly love, when we stand together and salute our flag with respect and sing out, “Oh say can you see”—when we put our trust in God, we will find a new hope that will deliver us from these dark days into the dawn’s early light.
I have a hope that we will unite our hearts and pray to God for our nation. We are “One Nation Under God.” God is where our real hope is, not in our past, not in our elected leaders, and not in our economy. There is real power in uniting in prayer. My hope is that we will listen to the words of Isaiah 58:1—“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t hold back.”
My final hope is that God will hear our prayers and bring healing to our land.