in his presidential inauguration speech nelson mandela said, and i paraphrase, that it is not failure we fear; what we fear is that we are powerful beyond imagining.
this was a call to his own beleaguered people — black South Africans — but i hear the call every day and i am white and he knew i was listening too.
the oppressed: the poor, black people, the colonized, the marginalized, gay people, the meek — the oppressed sabotage themselves, deny themselves the fruits of power because they have been trodden on so much that they fear they are not worthy.
powerful beyond imagining?
it is time for those who have been baffled, who have been held low, who have been cheated, who have been imprisoned unjustly, who have been humiliated, raped, demeaned and so on and so forth ad nauseum, it is time to beg pardon and say: there is an alternative and just way; peace, justice and opportunity for all are not really that complicated; we just have to make sure that it is not the loudest and the richest that get into power, but the most competent and wise, men and women — true leaders — who are looking out for others and not themselves. we will look out for them because a true leader is beloved.
it is time to say to our warriors, ‘sit, till we call you,’ to say to our fanatics, ‘read quietly and meditate,’ to say to our bosses, ‘where is the extra leisure time promised by computerization?’ the sad thing is that all that mechanization and computerization have done is create billionaires and starve children, when, given the technology, we could be creating a fabulous future for all mankind.
then the billionaires decide they are going to be philanthropic, well, whoop de doo, that will make them feel good, but until justice reigns, philanthropy — and I work in that sector — will just be a band aid.
what is justice? how about regulating Wall Street? how about focusing on eradicating poverty, hunger and ill-health? how about feeding and educating our children rather than wasting billions of dollars on predatory and useless warfare in Iraq? does anybody know what good those billions have done for us? no good whatever. (if someone knows, please do tell me) meanwhile our society (our roads and bridges, our education and health systems, the economy of working people…) is falling apart at the seams.
it is time for us, the people of the USA, to stand up en masse, as we have done on many occasions so effectively in the past, and speak calmly and clearly and truthfully to those in power.