If you haven’t already read Charles Wilkinson’s article, “The Speech,” in the April 2 RoundTable, I encourage you to do so. Charles calmly writes about Senator Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
On April 4 our country (for the most part) honored the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated (murdered) on that date in 1968. Dr. King’s quest was for equality for all (that is, equal rights regardless of those traits that categorize people like race, age, gender, national origin).
Without doubt, our country has come a long way in achieving equality since those turbulent days of the sixties, as witnessed by the number of “categorized” people in upper management jobs and government positions and certainly by a “categorized” man becoming a viable presidential candidate.
Obviously, I have not stood in Rev. Wright’s shoes, and I have never heard a complete sermon by him. But I do know how frustrating life as a “categorized” person can be — the constant abuse, the constant insults, the constant assumption that one is (supposed to be) too stupid to recognize the abuse, insults and unequal treatment.
I understand the resulting anger. Fortunately, until the media stepped in, Rev. Wright had an outlet for his anger by putting it into words before his congregation. Unfortunately, for too many, their anger is taken out on family members or people on the street. As an African-American, I can assure you that every day I am the victim of abuse or bear witness to other “categorized” people being abused (victimized). I am fortunate enough to have other outlets for my anger and frustration, which includes writing about it, complaining about it, or being able to pay for counseling.
Several definitions are given for the word civil: “Of citizens in their ordinary capacity, or of the ordinary life and affairs of citizens, as distinguished from military and ecclesiastical life and affairs. Of or pertaining to civil law; relating to private rights. Of social order or organized government. Adhering to the norms of polite social intercourse. ”
The truth may hurt, but when it comes to unequal rights in America: “Veni, Vidi …” but not yet “Vici.”
*”Veni, Vidi, Vici” (Latin, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” (Julius Caesar’s report to the Roman Senate of a victory)