Thursday, April 29, 2010
Dorothy Height, American Freedom Fighter
I think that it's important to remember that the fighting for our freedoms didn't all happen on foreign shores. So many of the people who gave so much of their lives to ensure and to insist upon our freedoms and our liberty never left America. They didn't have to - at so many points during our history, our own government and fellow citizens were perfectly willing to limit someones civil rights because of their skin color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. There are still plenty of people who would still do so. Witness Arizona.
I'm tired. I'm tired of fighting. I can't be optimistic anymore. I am discouraged by Arizona's new law, by the state of Oklahoma telling doctor's that they can limit what they tell a woman about the state of her fetus' health so that she can't make an informed decision about whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. I am saddened that the governor of my state wants to put oil rigs off the beautiful Virginia coast, even after the unfolding disaster in Louisiana. I have a hard time believing that health care reform will ever really happen. I don't think that the large insurance and pharmaceutical companies are going to allow it. And I have to laugh at the moral indignation the senators are showing in the Goldman Sachs interrogations. They didn't seem to worry about all that evil profiteering and fraudulent gambling when the company was donating to their campaign chests. I wonder where my views fit in when those teabaggers seem to think that they are the only ones that count and are the only REAL Americans.
So...I'm old and tired and discouraged and cynical. And then....I think of someone like Dorothy Height. She was born in my adopted hometown of Richmond, VA in 1912 and her memorial service was today in Washington, DC, my birthplace. How much she saw, how much heartache and how much sorrow and how much joy. She was a lady to her gloved fingertips, with her signature hat and manner, but she FOUGHT! She fought for civil rights, for women's rights, for the poor and the forgotten. And she was 98 years old. What right do I have, raised solidly middle class with rights and privileges unheard and unthought of when Ms. Height was born, to be discouraged and tired and cynical? What sacrifices have I made? How can I stop trying when so many continue to try and fight and work towards a better America?