Having a black president affords us the opportunity to ponder the words of great African Americans that paved the way for this moment in history. If we recall the words of Dr. King, he spoke:
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
We can now say that for most African Americans, this condition no longer exists. However, there are many that live under similar conditions, not shackled by the color of their skin but by the mediocrity of their education and the severity of their poverty. This is the challenge of our generation and we will have to engage to ensure that in 40 years, these vices too will come to pass.
This calls us to be mindful that President Obama cannot do this by himself. He needs the people to advocate and lobby for changes in policy. If we want President Obama to succeed, then we must at times push him and at other times, support him. Fredrick Douglass spelled out an agenda that people must claim:
"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."
"This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others."
Frederick Douglass, 1857
The past eight years has been one of anti-intellectual discourse and ostracizing those that had the nerve to dissent. Those days are behind us. Now we can truly discuss the issues. I’m sure many conservatives will cling to their petty diatribes as evident with the postings on Townhall.com. But if Ann Coulter’s recent book sales are any indication, Conservatives are tuning out to voices of the far-right fringe, but we will see how long that theory holds water.
Today, I am feeling good about the future on this country and Aretha is STILL the Queen!!!