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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Words, words, words

Today I became aware, once more, of the unbelievable power of letters formed in various patterns. Letters formed in patterns that we recognize called words, words that hold specific meaning based only on our collective interpretation.

Today I began my second hour hearing these words: "Shut the fuck up, you stupid ass bitch." The speaker was a seventeen year old, African-American boy. The recipient of those words was me.

Three hours later, I heard these words: "In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."

The speaker was President Barack Obama, a forty-five year old African-American man. The recipeint of those words was me. And you. And the rest of the world, whether they were listening or not.

It is my hope, my prayer for our nation, that we change the path America is on. We are, right now, on a journey of short-cuts and settling for less. We are faint-hearted. We prefer leisure over work and seek only riches and fame. We are not risk-takers. We are not doers. We are not makers. We do not labor in obscurity, but rather publicize any amount of activity we do to anyone who will listen or watch.

"...Greatness is not given. It must be earned."

What a beautiful, amazing gift to have a president who believes that something in this world must be earned. That things in this world are not handed to you, and that words are powerful, powerful tools. The youth of today (and a lot of adults, too) need to hear and understand this. The world does not owe you anything. The world has not owed anyone anything for the recorded history of time. And if you sit around waiting for the world to pay you what you're owed, you're going to be waiting a long time, and life will not be kind. Make your path. Give the world what you owe it. Not the other way around.

And, Kid, call me a "smart ass bitch", please. That's at least accurate.

3 comments:

Leah said...

I love love LOVED his speech!!!

And I had to stand by a student who was acting up for the entirety of the inauguration, haha. He was pretty quiet after I threatened to send him in the hall :)

Lilly's Life said...

That was a great, great post. And way more than just words!!

Kelly said...

Thank you :)