This place matters

This place matters

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lift every voice

And so the Confederate flags are coming down across the nation and stores are refusing to sell them. But oddly enough, I don't want to see them banned. Or rather, I don't want the government to have to ban them.
I want to see the sane majority of this nation peacefully but publicly call out those who wave the flag until flying it is the public shame it should be. I want us to turn our backs on every politician who is in favor of, or neutral to the flag, so that embracing a racist symbol is the political suicide it should be. I want us to boycott people who sell the flag right out of business. I want us to scream about justice so loud that nobody can hear the racists over the din. I want us to call out racism wherever we see it until racists are shamed into keeping their mouths shut and into no longer poisoning other people with their hatred.
There are more of us than them. It is time to stop being polite, stop being afraid, and stop being quiet. Dr. King tells us that "the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." We must not be silent. We must not be complacent. Some of us made the mistake of thinking the battle over civil rights was done once, but the racists never stopped fighting. 
Yeats wrote these words a long time ago, but we've allowed the prophecy to come true:
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
We've got to change that. We've got to change the nation and change history.  We can do this. We must do this. We have good on our side. We have love on our side. 
Lift every voice and sing 
Till earth and heaven ring 
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; 
let our rejoicing rise, 
high as the listening skies, 
let it resound loud as the rolling sea
sing a song full of faith that the dark past has taught us,
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
facing the rising sun of a new day begun, 
let us march on till victory is won.


James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) 


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