President Obama must’ve read my blog last month – I challenged him to not just pick a woman or a person of color for the Supreme Court but to go out on a limb and select a woman of color. And by golly, he did it. In Sonia Sotomayor we have the potential for the nation’s first Hispanic – and the third woman – Supreme Court justice of the United States.
The excitement that I felt – was quickly followed by a sudden sense of surrealism -WHERE ARE WE? Is this the same America that handed George Bush the presidency and suppressed countless voters? It’s amazing how far we come.
I was reflecting on this with two of my colleagues and friends from the League of Young Voters, formerly known as the League of Pissed Off Voters - a hot organization that’s been channeling the anger from youth in urban communities to effect change since 2003. It was their anger that propelled them to register thousands of young people to vote and achieve countless local victories in communities across the country. But what about now?
With as much positive change as we’ve seen in recent months, are we still pissed off voters? Should we be? And if we lose our anger, how active will we be? What happens when we no longer have the “enemy” – the clear cut opposition with a face and a name?
That line of thought drew me to the following realization: The enemy is not, and never has been, Republicans – a party, a Senator, a Rep., or a presidential candidate. It’s not the media, it’s not the police, and it’s not even a specific piece of legislation.
Those may very often be the targets of my anger, but they are never the cause. The cause of anger – of righteous, burning, passionate anger – is inequality, injustice, hunger, poverty, - the intangible wrongs that permeate the same communities year after year.
And so even in the midst of my joy and support and disbelief and utter pleasure at the swinging of the political pendulum back to the side of the people, I will remain angry as long as tragic health, education and economic disparities exist. As long as I can’t find fresh produce and clean parks between all of the liquor stores and check cashing places in certain neighborhoods. As long as little black boys remain the most socially isolated and disparaged children in America’s education system. As long as jails are overcrowded while schools are being shut down.
I have to have enough skepticism to keep searching for the answers, and uncovering the lies, and shedding light on the corruption, and just enough optimism to encourage young people to run for office, and believe that there are people in my generation that can be the change that we want to see in the world.
So yeah – I think I’ll stay a little bit pissed. It makes for a better world.
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