We are shaken to the core by Covid-19 and the centuries long, ongoing pandemic of racism in the United States. Coupled with incompetence and insensitivity from our leaders in regards to both, it becomes hard to imagine that core could hold together.
What leader gloats about the fact that his house is saved from citizens angry that he’s not helping in their quest for simple justice, equality and the end of racism?
“Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen, That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least.”Donald Trump
“Vicious dogs . . . ominous weapons.”
These are not the words those agonized people needed to hear on the morning after they expressed their anger. They needed words of hope. A promise that the targeting, murdering and harassing of black men, like George Floyd, would end. They want assurance that those responsible for such crimes will be punished. A leader must say to the people, “I am with you, we will do this.”
When I saw the movie Harriet, a biographical story about Harriet Tubman, I knew, in a way I had not known before, the scourge of slavery. I learned a little more about the courage of the men and women who risked their lives to lead slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. I glimpsed a tiny fraction of what it took for them to make that long, dangerous journey. The leader who spoke those words is not helping black people on the long and arduous journey to “liberty and justice for all.”
Today I took comfort and inspiration in words from a true leader. A leader who had the courage to lead people on that terrible journey to freedom:
“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”Harriet Tubman