Monday, November 5, 2012

On the Eve of the Election . . .

. . . I like to think of Harriet Tubman:

Harriet Tubman, 1820 - 1913

I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman

I like to think of Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman who carried a revolver,
who had a scar on her head from a rock thrown
by a slave-master (because she
talked back), and who
had a ransom on her head
of thousands of dollars and who
was never caught, and who
had no use for the law
when the law was wrong,
who defied the law. I like
to think of her.
I like to think of her especially
when I think of the problem of
feeding children.

The legal answer
to the problem of feeding children
is ten free lunches every month,
being equal in the child's real life,
to eating lunch every other day.
Monday but not Tuesday.
I like to think of the President
eating lunch Monday, but not Tuesday.
And when I think of the President
and the law, and the problem of
feeding children, I like to
think of Harriet Tubman
and her revolver.

And then sometimes
I think of the President
and other men,
men who practise the law,
who revere the law,
who make the law,
who enforce the law,
who live behind
and operate through
and feed themselves
at the expense of
starving children
because of the law,
men who sit in paneled offices
and think about vacations
and tell women
whose care it is
to feed the children
not to be hysterical
not be hysterical as in the word
hysterikos, the greek for
womb suffering, not to suffer in their
not to care,
not to bother the men
because they want to think
of other things
and do not want
to take the women seriously.
I want them
to take women seriously.
I want them to think about Harriet Tubman
and remember,
remember she was beat by a white man
and she lived
and she lived to redress her grievances,
and she lived in swamps
and wore the clothes of a man
bringing hundreds of fugitives from
slavery, and was never caught,
and led an army,
and won a battle,
and defied the laws
because the laws were wrong. I want men
to take us seriously.
I am tired, wanting them to think
about right and wrong.
I want them to fear.
I want them to feel fear now
as I have felt suffering in the womb, and
I want them
to know
that there is always a time
there is always a time to make right
what is wrong,
there is always a time
for retribution
and that time
is beginning.

by American Poet Susan Griffin (b 1943)

[performed by Christian Wolff]

The most important thing you can do on Tuesday, November 6th is choose your polling place and cast your ballot. Do not neglect to vote! Do not abstain! Fulfilling this civic responsibility is the nearest we can ever come to thanking the men and women in our history who have given no less than their lives in order that we may vote freely and uninhibited. We owe it to them.

We owe it to Harriet Tubman

You've seen the prize - winning photographs: people the world over standing in line for hours and hours (even this very day, right here in the United States of America!) in order to exercise the dearly won privilege of dropping their ballots in the box. We owe it to them. We owe it to our children. We owe it to our President, Barack Obama.

Honor your right to vote by using it!

The Underground Railroad's Best - Known Conductor
Harriet Tubman Google Doodle Honors Black History Month
February 2014

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