Onto the next chewy morsel: Passion and Anger. Dicitonary.com defines Passion as a strong and barely controllable emotion. It defines Anger as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. It can be easy to confuse the two. From a tone of voice, to a turn of phrase, to a twist of the face – you can mistake all forms of passion for anger. It takes passion to be angry about something and some passion stems from anger. However, passion about a single topic can come from many emotions, from love and appreciation to anger and frustration. The key is knowing where your passion comes from and using it constructively. An inappropriate use of it can lead to all manner of ills from obsession to hatred. Those unhealthy displays will never allow you to validate your point to others, and will eventually lead to your own ruin. They are the cancers of passion, slowly eating away at the insides of the person who holds them until there is nothing but the shell of the idea and the sickly manifestation of what it could have been.
Now that we’ve picked at the appetizer, let’s move on to the entrée…and what an entrée: Civil Rights.
Imagine if you will, America without the Civil Rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King never marched; Joan Baez never sang; The Black Panthers never shouted; President Kennedy never supported; Malcolm X never preached; Rosa Parks never sat down…
Imagine a world where the races were still segregated and seen to be as different from each other as a zebra is to a giraffe. Think of all the friends of the many different races you have now that you might never have met – and I mean of any race different than your own. If you think that the Civil Rights Movement only allowed blacks and whites to come together, your view is too narrow. Every Asian, every Hispanic, every different race from all the many nations that came to America because she offered freedom and tolerance would never have come here at all. Even if they had come here, they would not have the advantages that they have now. That separation would have been a fully pervasive thing. It wouldn’t have just been the separation and inequality between blacks and whites; it would have existed between all the races. All the races would have kept to their own camp and seen all the other camps as inferior, close-minded and ignorant. Any attempt to blur the racial lines would have been met with intolerance and hatred from both sides. There would be no single race playing The Great Egalitarian. We would be a grubby and cruel people, bent on the cultural propagation of whatever group we happened to belong to, and the subjugation of all the others. We would be a sorry lot and a great disappointment as nation. Even more sickeningly, where America goes, so goes the world. Such a poisonous affect would have worked its venom into the social blood of every nation. Our very lives would be consumed with the supremacy of our own tribe to the detriment of our entire species.
Luckily for us, we had Dr. King, and Kennedy and Parks. We had charismatic and strong leaders who took us from a dark and terrible present into a bright and progressive future. When you stop to think about how close we came to oblivion, you can appreciate where we are now. That being said, we still have work to do to carry the vision of those great leaders to their full fruition, but what amazing progress and what excellent fortune for us as a nation. As a matter of fact, nowadays, most of us agree that a racist attitude is about a useful and fragrant as an asshole on your elbow.
Women, however, have not been so lucky. While in some nations we have marched and we have published works and we have achieved voting rights, we have not had our great rights movement yet. There has not been any great celebration of women yelling “Free At Last” for the realization of equality and liberty.
There are many different reasons for this. Some of it is that the Women’s Movement is divided as much by religion and politics as it is by a misunderstanding of what each feminist camp desires. Some of it is life situation. Most women can’t take the time to worry over women’s rights here and abroad when they’re worried about putting food on the table. Some of it is fear. Some of it is not wanting to be labeled a “feminist” because of the tarnished reputation of the word. Some of it is intimidation due to the current climate of America: we are entering the gates of a closed society where we now have laws that will allow our government to imprison us INDEFINITELY if we’re seen as a “terrorist.” Could you imagine if Dr. King had to do Civil Rights during America now? He’d be in a Gitmo hole somewhere, never to be seen again.
Tomorrow, Part III: Women’s Rights are Civil Rights.