Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I See People....

We, the People….

Which People?

My people?

Your people?

Surely not those people….

When our Founding Fathers wrote those words they surely didn’t mean those people whose skin was darker than their own,  who planted and harvested their crops and built their buildings, whose names were not written in their ledgers because, after all, they were property, not people.

They surely didn’t mean their wives because everyone knew that women weren’t concerned with politics and power and important things like that. They just took care of their homes and raised the next generation.

I doubt they meant the Native Americans who had occupied the land first, either, considering the way they drove them from the land simply because they wanted it for themselves.

This Land is Your Land…. Yours… mine… but certainly not ours.

In the movie “Little Big Man” a white boy is adopted into the Cheyenne tribe whose word for their people is translated “Human Beings”. So when the characters mention someone who is not of their tribe they say, “He is not a human being.”

It’s all about who you see as people.

Who do you see as human beings who have wants, needs, families and dreams

Just like you?

I will never forget hearing Rep. Barbara Jordan’s eloquent speech to the Watergate Committee on the Articles of Impeachment in which she said ”… through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision, I have finally been included in ‘We, the People…’.”  I encourage you to take the time to listen to at least the first couple of minutes of this as she speaks of her faith in the Constitution:  

I wonder if the Founding Fathers envisioned a time when a black woman would make such a statement, when she would be able to vote and herself be elected to serve in the Congress. I’m glad they wrote the Constitution in a way that allows America to grow and change as the world grows and changes.

I voted early this time, taking my daughter with me for her first experience as a voter a few days ago. We decided to vote early because we didn’t want to take a chance on Hurricane Sandy leaving our polling place without power on Election Day. I thought of women who fought to give me the right to vote, grateful that my daughter understands the significance of this responsibility and privilege. I don’t mind telling you how I voted. I voted for Barack Obama. I also voted for Question 6 here in Maryland because I support the right of all people to marry, regardless of sexuality.  

Before another day has passed we’ll know who the next president will be. We’ll also know if enough voters saw gay and lesbian citizens of Maryland as human beings with hopes and dreams and rights to uphold the law that was recently passed by the legislature, giving them the right to marry.

Because that’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it?

Who do you see when you say

We… the people?