Matthew and I were watching President Obama's speech this morning on The View. Matthew asked me why the President was on The View. I told him that's a very good question.... He then asked "Isn't he too busy protecting us to be on this show?" Smart boy. It was a question I had asked myself just the night before. Surely, there is something that needs his attention right now. But the truth is, Matthew and I learned a lot about each other as we watched.... For every thing there is a season.
This discussion led to a much more important discussion on race. Matt was reminding me how we had talked about Rosa Parks last year. He told me that it was so awful that people of color were forced to the back of the bus and told not to eat at the same counter as white folks. I then told him that he was absolutely right. I asked him if he remembered the story of Martin Luther King? He said that he did, but he didn't understand how he changed things as he did. I explained to him that Martin Luther King gave a speech and that in this speech he talked of his hopes for America. That he dreamed that we would one day live by the creed of our founding fathers... "we hold these truths to be self evident that ALL men are created equal" I explained to him that this was not a right given by men, but by God and that no man had the right to keep that away from another man. We talked about the meaning of "the content of their character". What does that mean to an eight year old? I asked Matthew what it meant to be a good human being. Matthew, in his eight year old way, told me that it means being nice and playing fairly, not lying and stealing, helping each other. We can all learn a lot from our children.
I catch myself saying... "We are past this. Why is my child noticing the color of his playmates skin suddenly?" I didn't raise him to see that way. It has become a topic of discussion in our house this year, this "post-racial" year. Why? Matthew is a smart child and he knows that mommy believes in smaller government. He knows that mommy believes that our freedom and liberty is being called into question. He hears on the television that this means mommy is a racist. Yet we have honest discussions about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and Frederick Douglass and what they accomplished to make America a better place for all races. We not only talk about it, we live by it. To be called a racist because I believe in EVERY man's ability to succeed without the government nanny, is ludicrous, to say the least. After all, it isn't just people of color who are suffering right now, many are. I simply believe that the burden of responsibility lies upon us, the individual, to help our neighbor. Passing it all on to the government isn't the solution. Teaching our children to help one another cannot be taught by paying ever increasing taxes, but by action. This nation was built on individuality and the the belief that man has exclusive rights to "self" deemed by our Creator. Let NO man put asunder. Politicians are playing a very dangerous game. They do so at the expense of every man, woman and CHILD, in America. We cannot stand for it. This game of race baiting and racial division is only a means to an end.
Eric Holder says that "we are a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussions of race. HE is the coward. He is the one who can't see racism as a two-way street. My favorite passage from the "I have a Dream" speech" is this-
"In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
This tells me that Martin Luther King believed in what our forefather's promised. That he respected this experiment that we call America. This tells me that he wanted equality and FREEDOM for ALL mankind. Black, white, red, brown. Martin Luther King marched in peace. He saw the Writing on the Wall. He knew that he might die for his beliefs. HE was not a coward. And neither am I.
I realize now that the conversation remains an important one. Although I don't want my children to notice color, I also have a responsibility to keep our history alive. The good and the bad of it all. Instead of hiding from the issue, I will discuss how we have grown from it as a nation. We are a better nation because of our struggles and our differences, not in spite of them. For those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.