Like many of you, I went to see the movie Lincoln. I went with my wife and two of my sons Oliver and Ben. After watching it I firmly believe this is a movie that every child starting in fifth grade should be taken to. It should be played in schools then discussed openly and often.
At the end of the movie, when the credits started to roll, both my kids got up and had to quickly go use the bathroom (as is always the case with kids lol). I sat there and could not get up, I did in fact uncontrollably begin to cry. It came over me in waves. Let me first say I am not a big crier. It's not because of anything particular, I have, over the years just not been a big spiller of tears, so when it does happen it tends to be hard to stop, as was the case here.
Many thoughts were racing through my head, the images of the dead, various lines from the movie but one line really stood out and and kept twisting inside me. The line was when Lincoln had been asked why do you continue to force forward with the 13th Amendment. His answer was that it would free millions of slaves but he added, "and millions not born yet". Millions not born yet, well this kept running through my mind, heart and spirit. This line was tearing me up from the inside out. Maybe because we had just gone through such a gut wrenching election ourselves, having to put up and listen to evil, horrible rhetoric that was beyond racism. Maybe it was last years trip to D.C. that came into play, I'm not really sure even now as I write this, but that line, millions yet to be born still rings on in my head like a ghost that refuses to go away.
We really take for granted what we have, people at the time were actually standing up and saying, "who are we to judge god's will or his plan when he has said these Negro's are inferior to us". You know, they are lucky I didn't live back then, they really really would have not liked me very much. Yes, I take issue with any god or man that condones, permits or endorses slavery of any kind or the belittling of another human being based on race, sex, creed or religion. Funny how we turned right around and replaced slavery in the cotton fields with slavery via the prison system or WalMart! Yes, uncle Sam Walton you are a slave trader, a dealer in bodies not minds. You remind me of the letters between Washington and Jefferson when Washington told Jefferson he was going to free all his slaves and Jefferson replied "but what about the bottom line". As for Jefferson's bottom line, he did NOT die a rich man and I hope with all due respect, Mr.Walton if you do not change your ways, that you too die broke because as of today your hands are soaked with the blood of others.
It is estimated that between 1750 and 1900, 30 million Black Americans were killed, mostly at the hand of their masters and that's just a low estimate. When our sacred Constitution was being signed 1/5 (or 20 percent) of the population of our new country was black, today that number is around 12 percent or 42 million, now think that through for a minute. So when President Lincoln spoke of millions yet to be born that he would help, somehow I don't think our behavior today is fitting toward his lofty goal. Although I think he would be proud that we broke the chain of white men being President with a black man, I think he would have a grin on his face if he could see that.
So finally, after trying to stop crying I gave up, stood and walked out only to see that others had been brought to tears too. My kids wanted to know why it affected me like this and we had a great conversation during the ride home which was just as important, if not more important as seeing the movie itself. So when the task of changing the impossible seems just that, impossible, remember the old phrase, "how does one care for a million kittens" and the answer is...........one kitten at a time. Never give up! Never stop trying and always move forward together!
But Hey! What do I know! I'm just a plumber!