August 03, 2011

Get up, stand up

I've been thinking lately about some words of wisdom from the great abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. He had a strong belief that people would not stand up for the rights of those who don't stand up for their own.

The world in which we live is very accommodating to all sorts of people. It will cooperate with them in any measure which they propose; it will help those who earnestly help themselves, and will hinder those who hinder themselves. It is very polite, and never offers its services unasked. Its favors to individuals are measured by an unerring principle in this—viz., respect those who respect themselves, and despise those who despise themselves. It is not within the power of unaided human nature to persevere in pitying a people who are insensible to their own wrongs and indifferent to the attainment of their own rights. The poet was as true to common sense as to poetry when he said,

Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.

This kind of reminds me of a story passed down about my late great grandfather, John "Crawfish" Gillespie (he got the nickname after blowing off his middle three fingers with a shotgun given him by a Confederate politician and war veteran). When hosting someone at his table, he asked the guest if he wanted more peas and corn.

"I don't care," said the guest.

Old Crawfish replied, "If you don't care, I'm sure I don't give a damn."

BROTHER LARRY SPEAKS. Here's a good op-ed on the debt ceiling "Satan sandwich" deal and what it ignores by my fried Larry Matheney of the WV AFLCIO.



No comments: