Today’s contribution from our longtime regular Jamie:
This is Tartan Week and there will be all sorts of delightful parades featuring men in skirts. It honors the Declaration of Arbroath sent by the Scottish barons to the Pope in 1320. The Scottish nation was still defeated by England, but someone was listening as many of their descendants landed in a place that became the United States.
Those descendants produced a Constitution which contained many of the ideas written at Arbroath and finally ratified in 1788. It didn’t do many of their fellow citizens any good until the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Of course all the mothers, wives, and sisters had to wait until 1920 for a full voice.
You would think that the powers that be would have read and understood some of those words by now, but at least a few others were listening. Langston Hughes published “Let America Be America Again” in 1938. Then Frank Sinatra came along with “The House I Live In” in 1945. It didn’t do anyone any good except for some who were listening. Martin Luther King had a dream in 1963 and millions were listening. They also listened when he died.
The ideals of commitment to the common good with shared responsibility and sacrifice have been echoed down the ages and yet we now have a Congress that ignores those great ideas as they bicker about religion, dole out favors to the “more for me” crowd and cripple the programs that benefit the least amongst us. They only have a few days to put together a budget that will tackle the great entitlement programs and cuts will have to be made, but they might want to listen for a while to what the best ideals of this nation are supposed to be — or will they just plug up their ears, not listen one more time, and take a day or two off to watch the parade of the men in skirts.
The house I live in,
My neighbors white and black,
The people who just came here,
Or from generations back;
The town hall and the soapbox,
The torch of liberty,
A home for all God’s children;
That’s America to me.
(“The House I Live In,” Albert Maltz, 1945)
— Jamie (her blog: Durward Discussion)