Monday, January 19, 2009
I want to pay tribute to those people who came before -- those millions of people who struggled, sang, preached, and died. This inauguration of Barak Obama belongs to those who came before -- those millions of people who were stolen, humiliated, tortured, and damned. This day belongs to the lynched, the terrified, the grieved. It's a call, a chorus, a testament to what is possible.
As we are seeing today, we can never underestimate what is truly possible. This is a gift -- and I have a host of people I hold in my heart, my mind, my memory. They have inspired me and given our world a new day.
Today belongs to: Peg Dobbie, Arthur Newcomb, Berta, Ruth and Bud, Barry, Ginny, Trish and Laurel, outspoken teachers and professors, the children at Head Start in Westfield circa 1968. Frances Crowe. Caesar Chavez. Father Albert and the Community Action Program in Springfield, circa 1969. Simon and Sue. The Reverend Barry Stoddard. Neal, Sheryl, and their extended family.
Beyond War. Peggo and Paul. SNCC. The Berrigans. Pete Seeger. Those thousands of singers who refused to be silent. Unions and churches. The Smothers Brothers. Mason Williams. Holly Near and Makeba. Baez. Ochs. Marion Horne. Unnamed jazz and Delta Blues bands. Grape Boycotts and strikes. Vietnam and "one, two, three, four - We don't want your fucking wars".
Martin Luther King, Jr. - What a fitting tribute to this man's life! John and Robert Kennedy. Harriet Tubman. Quakers and abolitionists along the Underground Railway. Immigrants who came (and still enter) into a well of suspicion and fear. The marchers of Selma and Birmingham. The writers who wrote after their presses had been smashed and their books burned.
For years, my vision of a just world soured into cynicism and impotence in the face of the Bush Presidencies, the Reagan years, Nixon, Cheney, Rove, Palin -- and the minions who remain nameless and faceless except for their signatures on bits of paper that seemed to destroy whatever I valued. Education. Environmental issues. Wolves and whales. Children. Possibilities.
But it's a new day and I am alive to revel in its glory.
I look at my lists and I know there's more. So, send me names. It's a Whole World movement, and I'm back to being a Believer.
Posted by gretchen at 7:27 AM