“Let Freedom Ring”*
Here we go.
It has come to this.
Marianne Williamson announced its importance in her run for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
And what is it, you may ask?
It is the acknowledgement of our national sin. It is a confession and then a restitution and finally, maybe, an evolution.
America was founded on the principles of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”*
“All men are created equal.”*
Yet, greed crept its ugly head into the picture early on, and required free and forced labor in the form of slavery. The slavery of Africans—ripped from their lands and shipped across the seas to this new land.
Certainly not the slaves—perhaps land and plantation owners and their large, fruitful crops. And this subjugation became rooted in the American way.
Has it been dealt with?
No, not really.
The effects are still here.
The pigment of one’s skin, a reflection of one’s history and cultural heritage, is carried on genetically into the present moment. It is translated into social and cultural norms, institutional and economical inequalities, and the substrata of common, everyday twenty-first century life.
Civil War and the civil rights movement may have pushed forward the blatancy of the atrocities, but redemption never fully occurred.
And what is redemption?
Acknowledgement of the sin? Of the collective consciousness coming to terms with its conscience?
Is it reversal, upheaval, reformational?
Is it all of these—some of each?
Acknowledgement certainly is a first step.
Acknowledgement that slavery was and is wrong, and that our ancestors made a grave error in the subjugation of other human beings for their own greedy purposes.
That is a collective consciousness statement.
From within the individual, even from within my fair-pigmented skinned body, there is another more personal acknowledgement. And that is that the ways of my ancestors and national forefathers were wrong and have genetically imposed themselves somewhere in my own DNA.
It is this acknowledgment which flares a sense of agreeable identification in the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And also strikes a deep and encouraging cord in the recent peaceful appeals for change and amendment.
I am just another guy seeking a better and purer life. I know by ridding ourselves globally, nationally, and individually of the pandemics of fear, greed, and false pride will we be able to lower our egos, and begin to see all peoples of Earth as equals—brothers and sisters truly.
May we not judge others “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”**
* Declaration of Independence (US), 1776
** “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963