lucille clifton and grace lee boggs on 9.11. these two quotes- one a poem, another an excerpt from a recent speech, stuck out to me in the midst of all the strife around jeremiah wright this week (and last week). as i watch clips on fox and read blog posts around the net, i remember that, in my mind, the most important part of loving someone, or something, i.e. a country, is being willing to take a risk and see their wrongs. there is nothing more painful than recognizing flaws in those you love. that is the state people of color, queer people, differently abled people, poor people and their allies feel every day. we see what's wrong with our country, and many of us love it, the united states of america, enough to struggle to make it better. and that makes us, if anything, more patriotic than those that follow the tide. but that's enough from my humble mouth. read lucille and grace.
some of us know
we have never felt safe
all of us americans
as some of us have wept
is it treason to remember
what have we done
to deserve such villainy
nothing we reassure ourselves
~lucille clifton, from september song, a poem in seven days
"'The revolution to be made in the United States,' Jimmy wrote, nearly 30 years before 9/11, 'will be the first revolution in history to require the masses to make material sacrifices rather than to acquire more material things. We must give up many of the things which this country has enjoyed at the expense of damning over one third of the world into a state of underdevelopment, ignorance, disease and early death...It is obviously going to take a tremendous transformation to prepare the poeple of the United States for these new social goals. But potential revolutionaries can only become true revolutionaries if they take the side of those who believe that humanity can be transformed...'
This means that it is not enough to organize mobilizations calling on Congress and the President to end the war in Iraq. We must also challenge the American people to examine why 9/11 happened and why so many people around the world who, while not supporting the terrorists, understand that they were driven to these acts of anger at the US role in the world, e.g. supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine, overthrowing or seeking to overthrow democratically-elected governments, and treating whole countries, the world's peoples and Nature only as a resource enabling us to maintain our middle class way of life."
- grace lee boggs, closing plenary for the left forum 2008, full text here
last bit- if you haven't read grace's autobiography, um, what the hell are you waiting for?