Wednesday, January 21, 2009
If He Can, So Can We
The TV cameras scanned the crowd as one young, slender, fresh-faced, man of mixed heritage and strong vision addressed them. Many in the crowd, both black and white, were moved to tears by the moment and by his words. Many of us watching on television cried freely. America, the land of unbridled capitalism, international arrogance and conspicuous consumption, was seeing history and finding it refreshing for most, alarming for some.
Our president gave us a vision and a challenge and chided, gently, those who wanted the power and gain of the status quo. He was also visible, walking proof of the success of a struggle that was part of my social landscape in the late 50's and early 60's. He was a realization of a very famous Dream and those who died for this day have to be smiling in their rest. Despite all the bigotry, all the hatred and the fears of the establishment, we have come closer to being what our constitution says we should be. We are on the road to exploring the REAL meaning of patriotism.
During those years when President Obama's father would have been denied a seat in a restaurant, there was another large group suffering punitive discrimination, just because the powers-that-were COULD. Millions of mostly white, mostly middle-class, mostly teenage young women were being warehoused and coerced into surrendering the most precious cargo they nurtured in their bodies. MANY of these young women did what they were told because they were given no choice. MANY were forced against their wills. They were the ones whose experience was never spoken aloud, who were told to keep a secret because an unjust society deemed it both shameful and expedient for its purposes. Many complied, some did not. This social injustice spawned a large generation of women who suffered an undying grief. It was passed on to their surrendered children who suffered confusion, pain and identity issues.
In that parade, yesterday, were some of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Buffalo Soldiers portrayers...reminders of man's inhumanity to man. They have seen a day they thought they never would see in their lifetime. Now, so many members of our silent, grieving sisterhood have placed a tentative foot on the path to justice, just as did Dr. King and his supporters over 45 years ago. Now, we have a leader with an open mind and ear. We're older, more tired and frustrated on many fronts, but we are learning. Call me a cockeyed idealist, but I believe, if you are in the right, you can eventually succeed.
If they can do it, why can't we? Yes, we can. Power to the mothers of the EMS!