Earlier today on Facebook, Chath Piersath, a writer, poet, teacher, activist, and artist (and farmer in the region), posted a ringing statement about his optimism as a man in America. Chath has contributed to this blog in the past, so I asked him if I could reprint his thoughts here. Chath is well known in the Lowell community and beyond. He has a master’s degree from the community social psychology program at UMass Lowell. His writings and art have reached people across the country and around the world. He was glad to give me permission to share what he wrote today. His enthusiastic expressive burst made me think of the poet Walt Whitman writing about America in the nineteenth century, yea-saying about the nation. Here’s his reply to my request: “I want people to know how precious and important freedom is and how such constitutional building blocks of our lives are vital organs that allow us to live and thrive. All Americans are to uphold in high regard this constitutional foundation that has been acculturated in the very core of our being. Without it, we might as well be dead. I shall, to the day I died, direct my gaze toward this American idealism that all men and women are equal under the laws of our land and I, as much as anyone else, carry this responsibility to safeguard this freedom so every child born everyday can further improve this world we all share.”—PM
Chath Piersath, writer and artist (web image courtesy of vimeo)
I was thinking today, while I was working at a farmers’ market, how lucky it is to be a U.S. American. People are free, living at peace, in the biggest and most powerful country in the world. There is this U.S. American idealism that one can succeed, have free will and choices to make. There’s diversity, and it’s being encouraged in many ways, despite recent news of racism. The idea of U.S. America is constituted to stop the meddling of religion over the lives of the people. It encourages individual rights and freedom and the pursuit of happiness. The idea of justice and human rights at the center and the forefront of each person’s existence. If I want to, I can succeed here, because I am encouraged to learn and create. I have room for my individual growth and development. In many countries around the world there are selfish leaders, tyrants and mobsters, oppressors and warlords, powerful hungry, stupid people clinging on to however little possessions they have, depriving others and their countrymen and women the same rights they enjoy. The forefathers of U.S. America had thoughts, with the help of some Native American tribes, that freedom is one of the most prized possessions and ideas. Inner freedom, freedom to write and read, speak and debate, freedom to think and be an individual. By no mean is U.S. America perfect, but because there’s this notion of constitutional rights and privileges being written down, it becomes a sort of tradition. Any violation of that tradition will cause an uproar. Whereas, in many other places, such an uproar means death—fleeing from the oppressive regime at hand. When I think of the world today and the country where I was born, I can’t help but be grateful how open my life has become and how clearer I can see, and how free I am from this material world most people hold dearly to, and how knowledgeable and wise I have taught myself to become in the way I live my life—all because I survived the barbarism of those dark, ignorant killers, whose cruelty I can never comprehend. They are out there in the world, even in the U.S., but because I can read and write light has shone forth, and, philosophically speaking, I am able to ride the sky as close to the sun as I can and be burned with freedom and detachment of this material clinging that most people in the world hold to. I am happy and I feel very rich because I am full of thirst and hunger for knowledge. I don’t need to conform to any clubs, -ism, regime, or political party. I am my own thinker. I independently investigate self, others, and I am able to question. This, I value more than anything—the freedom to live a life I can create, imagine,write and read, and make efforts to help others, so I can connect to the larger picture of my humanity. This is a life worth living, not a life fleeing from war and violence, a life others disowned, a life in greed and ignorance, a life of illiteracy and self-indulgence, a boasting life, depriving others of the same light and fame. I have a life of gratitude. Thus, everything is blissful, everything possible, everything open and everything in me is free!
—Chath Piersath (c) 2015