Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Freedom is an act

"During the Civil Rights Movement, our struggle was not about politics. It was about seeing a philosophy made manifest in our society that recognized the inextricable connection we have to each other. Those ideals represent what is eternally real and they are still true today, though they have receded from the forefront of American imagination. Yes, the election of Obama represented a significant step, but as the following election and all the days beyond that high point in American history have proved, it was not an ending. It was not even a beginning; it was one important step on a continuum of change. It was a major downpayment on the fulfillment of a dream. It was another milestone on our nation's road to freedom. But we must accept one central truth as participants in a democracy: Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society. The work of love, peace, and justice will always be necessary, until their realism and their imperative takes hold of our imagination, crowds out any dream of hatred and revenge, and fills up our existence with their power."

Rep. John Lewis in Across that Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America





A handful of students stood at the center of the white supremacists' torchlit rally in Charlottesville last weekend, decrying the hate. The hostile crowd pressed in on them, shouting epithets, but the students did not flinch. They held their "Act Against White Supremacy" banner high. I was afraid for them, and I loved them, too. This is courage. This is freedom, caught in the act. 

13 comments:

  1. Truth and light. Right there. All of it.
    Thank you.

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  2. My mom, god rest her soul, believed that the good and bad in society was a pendulum. If it is, this has to be as evil as it can get. I mean, this is 2017, not 1917. If she was right, surely the pendulum will swing the other way and soon.
    don't know. I know nothing. I don't even live in the US but it seems the day evil was elected we have gone too far.
    I do know that Canadians everywhere are disgustedly and dismayed at what has happened. You may feel alone but you have more people standing with you than you know.

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  3. I believe Mr. Lewis has it right, that freedom is not a state but an act, and a series of actions at that. And human nature being what it is, I don't think we ever will reach that exalted state in his last sentence; the work and the actions will always, eternally be necessary. Always.

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  4. Beautifully stated. A true testament of our human condition. Vigilance is key. I hope your husband is feeling some relief. This seems so unfair to have so much pain. Have you considered getting a second opinion? Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA might be a great alternative. Nobody should feel this much discomfort. My thoughts are with you. Susan

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  5. Yes. This is courage. Thank you and Rep. John Lewis.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  6. Those students are amazing. I'm so grateful that they were there, and are showing us the way.

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  7. Freedom is not a state. Freedom is an act. I will remember these words forever. Thank you.

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  8. the work and the actions will always, eternally be necessary. Always.


    แคมฟรอก

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  9. "I was afraid for them and I loved them, too." Yes. It is an act of courage to take a stand for freedom and stand before the bigoted eyes of hate.

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  10. What an amazing quote. And yes, those kids were amazing, standing up to hate. Incredible bravery on their part, especially given what eventually happened at that demonstration.

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  11. "I'm trying to live in the light, which commonsense tells us exists in equal measure to the shadow."

    Thank you for your words and for John Lewis' words, especially:

    "The work of love, peace, and justice will always be necessary, until their realism and their imperative takes hold of our imagination, crowds out any dream of hatred and revenge, and fills up our existence with their power."

    Was just able to catch up your posts since July 31.

    The photo of the white supremacists surrounding the students is iconic and startling. Their torches only serve to illuminate their shadowy selves. Cognitive dissonance. How twisted for these young people to try to use light in this violent way. It does remind me of The Parable of the Sower and those who acted insanely and destructively in relation with fire. Octavia Butler's story of the past and the future contained seeds of hope in the present, without downplaying the horrors of the present.

    Sending love to you and your family, with gratitude for your presence and the presence of your family through your writing and photographs.

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  12. Love is the what.

    So many intense emotions on both sides and it is a wonderful aid to remember that "freedom is an act."

    Thank you for this reminder!

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  13. Thank you for this beautiful post.

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