...Would be the best idea. He said that we must
"enter the arena" to improve our lives and our
nation. Without informed, effortful and active
citizenry, any community declines; we are seeing
such a phenomenon right now, with the racial
disparity on Ferguson's town council and its
local police force.
An action-taking, involved, voting populace in
Ferguson might have prevented the wrong authority
cohort there, going back years, according to an
experienced friend of mine familiar with its history.
Researching the candidates, putting up a slate
reflecting awareness of and commitment to that
suburb's reality, needs, problems and goals might
have gotten more African Americans elected to that
council and hired on the police force. Blacks staying
home, sitting on their hands has resulted in an almost
all White council and police department in a tiny town
(pop. ~21,000) which is 67% African American.
Like Diogenes, I've taken my figurative lamp
looking for light and truth far and wide. One
striking realization is inescapable: success in human
or civil rights stuggles are never a permanent fait
accompli. Just laws, policies and practices must be
maintained, campaigned again for, at times, or they
will not remain. Granted, this is also an "inconvenient
truth"; we'd like to forever fix all the injustices and get
on with enjoying our lives under a more peaceful and
equitable regime...but it "takes a village", every day,
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty", an early 19th
century watchword employed by Frederick Douglass
and several U.S. presidents, was taken from John Philpot
Curran's speech in Dublin around 1790. (Jefferson did
not originate the expression, although he held similar
sentiments.) When we let vigilance slide, presuming
progress is permanent, we get ugly policies like Citizens
United, reinstituting unconstitutional barriers to voting
rights, and chipping away at reproductive rights.
Teddy would not be pleased.