Dignity and Destiny

The past 4 months I have been reflecting on President Lyndon Johnson's speech to Congress in 1965 as beautifully written in "Leadership in Turbulent Times" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. 

"I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.  At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom.  So it was at Lexington and Concord.  So it was a century ago at Appomattox.  So it was last week in Selma, Alabama."  He goes on to say "There is no negro problem.  There is no southern problem.  There is only an American problem."  So it is today with our current disrespect and hatred of anyone we perceive as different then us.  "There is only the issue of human rights.  The cause must be our is all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice."  Johnson when on to reflect on his time as a young teacher gaining a deep sense of purpose in working and serving poor Mexican American children.  "Somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child."

Close to the end of this life Johnson spoke at the LBJ Library.  "The essence of government" is in ensuring "the dignity and innate integrity of life for every individual...regardless of color, creed, ancestry, sex or age.  Until we address unequal history, we cannot overcome unequal opportunity."

Johnson speaking in the 1960's still rings true and needed now.  I am saddened that, as a nation,
we still do not learn from the past.  I counter my sadness with renewed responsibility to do my part.  I will continue to educate, care, be compassionate, and empathetic.  I will continue to be human.  I will continue to be American.

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