Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Leave the Past Where It Is or... Progressive Thoughts

I fully intended my next (long overdue) blog to contain details of the trip taken by my cousin, Dana and I to New York City. What a grand city it is! As anxious as I am to share our adventures, a gift she gave me on the morning of our departure threw me in another direction.

As it happens, the short trip from Delaware to New York City was taken partially as a birthday celebration. Dana surprised me with a movie. "The Help".  Hmmmm, it takes a good movie to hold my interest. Still, she assured me I would like it.  I set it aside and off we went to the Big Apple.

Last Sunday, after a quick trip to Costco, my husband slipped it in the DVD and we cuddled on the coach preparing to be entertained. Entertained? By all means, with an exceptional cast. Thought provoking? So much so that the political blood that runs through my veins demanded I put the NYC trip on the back burner long enough to blog on the effect this movie had on me.

The Help, based on the book of the same name written by Kathryn Stockett, depicts the town of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. It is the year, as much as the actual movie, that gave me pause to think of what used to be accepted as common place in this country. I love this country as much as anyone else born here. Still we must be honest. It was founded and remained a country of white male supremacy for most of its existence.  Though the message brought to light what was suffered by blacks, especially black women in 1960s Jackson, it holds true that unless we teach our children otherwise, the fights we have bitterly encountered will be for naught.

I see it every day, all around me. Today's young women have carelessly cast aside the hard works of the Gloria Steinems, the Betty Friedans and before them the Susan B. Anthonys. The young African Americans who take for granted the Rosa Parks and Martin Luther Kings of this country. Born in 1956, I remember when a woman didn't have a choice over her own body. One swipe of a pen and we've lost that right again. I recall the young Dr. King being shot down, taken from his family and from us. If not for the momentum he gained and passed forward to the next generation, The Help would be a documentary of life today. Bet on it.

Four years ago, two of the best and brightest ran against each other in the Democratic Primary. A black man and a white woman fought for the nomination. They took the country by storm. Regardless of who won, we the people would be the recipients of their progressive thoughts and actions. I am not sure we will remember who eventually run against the winner! What I will remember is watching the celebration in Grant Park, celebratory tears streaming down my cheeks. Now, we have a political party pushing to take us back to those 'glory days' of the 1960s. They will sing the praises of the founding fathers, leaving out the part that most were slave owners who married women with no rights.

Don't let them. Teach your children and grandchildren what was and could well be again one day unless we watch with vigilant eyes. Be ever watchful, lest we once again become 'The Help".

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