6:15 in the morning and it is winter dark. The calendar say autumn, but autumn left the landscape weeks ago. Was it summer “outside,” work would have commenced an hour ago. Visioning of lighted mornings is lost in this dark of near solstice. Dark thinking replaces visioning on these unlighted mornings. Thoughts of vindictiveness, “I told you so,” and the brutality—I try hard to hide—bubble up like the foul gasses of childhoods landlocked ponds.
The downfall of so many in so little time: Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey. The list goes on. To place a name at the top of the list is impossible. The tearing of women’s bodies, emotions, intellect, spirit has gone on so long no one remembers the first. One might choose an ancient event, such as David and his rape of Bathsheba. Or one go with modernity and the boastful recording of sexual violence of one, whom like David, so many preferred to lead a nation. And in the midst of so much, who would be surprised—after having presidential support hung him like a medal of honor—if normal, everyday, Alabama folk elected Roy Moore to office tomorrow?
I remember the “Little Rock Nine.” My memory does not come because I was around to experience the honorable actions of nine teenagers. Rather, I learned (in some history class of my schooling) their walk occurred the year of my birth. Embedded in that learning is a picture that once seen cannot be unseen.
The photo is of Elizabeth Eckford, dressed in white, walking in a mass of White people toward school. Directly behind her is another girl, Hazel Bryan Massery, whose white face is twisted in hate. And Massery is yelling, who knows what, at Eckford.
Can one imagine Hazel Bryan Massery explaining who she was and why she did what she did to her children twenty years later? To her grandchildren today? But then she was a teenager, in a racist community (as were all US communities) surrounded by racists on that day—not an excuse, but also not a voter.
Imagine what it means today to be an Alabaman who voted for the Democrat George Wallace and his “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” How does one explain to their grandchildren their hopes and dreams through the evil lenses of segregation?
What will it mean tomorrow when a child or grandchild comes home from school and begins asking questions. “We learned today of a President who mistreated women, women like my mother and my sister, and voted for him anyway. Were you voting then? Who did you vote for?” Or tomorrows Alabaman teenager who asks, “I learned today there was a politician named Roy Moore whom took advantage of young women like me. And everyone knew about it. And he was elected (or not). Did you vote for him? Why?”
In every era folk support the oppression of others because it is good for the economy. In every era folk will overlook their neighbors hurt, subjugation, even death, and vote for a politician because they are good for business or will lower taxes or they held their own.
There is no good to find in such thought or action. For in the midst of it all I take solace that one day, yes, one day, they will have to experience inner turmoil and speak—out loud—to those young people whom they brought forth about the pain and wounding they laid upon Creation. In that thought, I bring about vengeance, cruelty, and the nastiness of foul pond gasses.
And I learn, I am one of them.