Greatness courts failure.
Yesterday in church someone asked for prayers for her son that, “his heart would not harden.” His heart might be tempted to harden as he’d spent the night before in jail – not his first or second time – for the offense of driving while black.
Specifics of the case aside we have an issue we need to talk about and act on lest we accept failure.
For decades we’ve debated, sometimes in violence and often in hate and fear, the need of integration, equity and equality in our society. Title VII, the bible of Human Resources for anti-discrimination employment legislation, was signed into law as part of the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago next July.
It has become almost passe to mention civil rights, strife and the struggle for human dignity in society at large and in the workplace in particular.
But the fight isn’t over.
It may be passe, but it is not past
Barry Goldwater once said you can’t legislate morality. Perhaps he was right, the most obvious example the short-lived attempt at Prohibition through the 18th Amendment.
Legislation and edict work only so far.
But you can’t suppress the will of the people either.
Demography in the United States has inexorably shifted with some of the largest states – California, Texas and Florida – either at the doorstep or already past the point of having a majority white population. The nation has changed.
Yet change comes like waves lapping at the shore and, much like the tide running back out to sea, the sand left behind can revert to its previous condition until washed again and again finally submerged for good.
Sometimes the challenges of our time seem onerous and wearying. Its not fun to talk about civil rights and inclusion. Its not energizing to acknowledge that the challenges faced by people of color and women are still with us after expending so much effort. And with halting recognition of LGBT across our society it seems we now have even more work unfinished.
The load increases. And we tire.
But we cannot give up.
Think global and act local
Legislation and demographics need not be the stimulus for right action. And if the moralistic, spiritual and religious arguments leave you unmoved, let’s put them aside too.
Just ask yourself this: should we as a society aspire to greatness.
If you believe greatness is measured in kindness and concern and economic advancement and peace for all our citizens, then you know we cannot achieve it without inclusion. That the struggle is not over. And passe or not, we must continue the conversation.
Some things we do simply because they must be done.
So tired or not, until we can drive down our city streets and walk through our country sides unmolested simply because of the color of our skin, our gender, faith or sexual preference we have more work to do.
It is the right thing to do in order to court greatness.