A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a YouTube video link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fs5auz-dgk) which portrayed a father telling his son a bedtime story about the positive impact “the virus” had on society. It is lovely. That was two weeks ago. This week the news media is no longer focused on the COVID virus, but the viral violence and unrest following tragic incidents of viral racial injustice. I often worry that rather than informing, the news media incites. However, in the midst of reporting the various atrocities, be it political interference in a peaceful protest to allow for a photo op, or opportunistic violence and looting, CBS chose to include the reading, by a young African American poet, of a Langston Hughes poem, “Let America Be America Again.”
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
Well said Mr. Hughes.
I was reading Dear Abby in the newspaper this week (I read it to ameliorate my self-pity), and Abby, in response to a writer, who was wallowing in his own self-pity due to self-perceived inadequate levels of personal happiness, quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you lived and lived well.”
Well said Mr. Emerson
I know that black lives matter. I know that all lives matter… the same. We all matter – no one group more than another. What I don’t know, is what other people, and groups of people, experience in their lives that causes their pain and unrest; therefore, I shouldn’t judge. My grandmother gave me a bound copy of Maya Angelou’s inauguration poem, “On the Pulse of Morning.” She read her poem during Bill Clinton’s 1993 presidential inauguration. I loved its words, “History, despite its wrenching pain, Cannot be unlived, but if faced, With courage, need not be lived again.” I loved Ms. Angelou’s explanation of her poem: “In my work, in everything I do, I mean to say that we human beings are more alike than we are unalike, and to use that statement to break down the walls we set between ourselves because we are different.”
Well said Ms. Angelou.
I want to learn to be a better person. How blessed I am that there are so many GREAT teachers: poets, protesters, philosophers and even viruses.