A Lady I Admire – An Essay on Advocating Justice
BY JACK LEVINE
There’s a lady I’ve known for my entire life. I’ve grown to love and respect her. Even though, like all of us, she has her flaws, I believe deeply that her attributes far outweigh her deficiencies.
Many who know her history have come to learn that despite the challenges she has faced, she somehow perseveres. With great courage and fortitude, she has defended her sacred values in the face of great threats.
She has seen her children wear uniforms in training for horrific conflicts. Sadly, not all of her brave family members survived. While most lived, some suffered the lasting wounds of battle. While medals honoring their bravery were earned, memories of horror lingered.
This lady has witnessed the dark despair of injustice. For centuries laws permitted the capture and brutal enslavement of her fellow brothers and sisters. It took heroic leadership and great sacrifice to achieve a number of moral and legal reforms, but ongoing vigilance is needed. She knows the fight for justice is never fully won.
With magnanimous generosity of spirit, she welcomed people from diverse lands to her home. She found a way to open the door and shelter many who suffered deprivation, providing opportunities for safety, security, freedom, and a new life.
Tens of millions of our ancestors had their long voyages culminate in the shadow of Lady Liberty, the bronze symbol of her powerful promise of freedom.
All through the generations, she encouraged her children to be faithful, play fair, practice acts of kindness, and respect nature. Irrespective of skin-deep differences, she advocated loving others as she wished to be loved.
Her name is AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. I love her despite her blemishes and have always been proud of all she did for me, my family and so many others.
Even when she has made mistakes, she always seems to shine above others in providing a beacon of hope and healing for others. Much sacrifice has gone into getting to where we are, but much more has to be accomplished.
I’m sad to report that these days, this strong lady seems fragile and in desperate need of positive attention. She is being abused and neglected by those to whom she has given everything. It breaks her heart to witness aggressive anger and violence which victimizes the small, the weak, and the frail.
She knows that hatred is emotionally lethal and often leads to acts of destruction.
We all know that there are many problems that demand our attention and corrective action. If we are blind to our faults, we will never improve our capacity to achieve positive change.
If we shirk responsibility and blame others for her faults, we never will be able to achieve vital goals…for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our sacred nation.
We must be vigilant to keep her alive and thriving. Let’s listen carefully to our conscience.
There are some who think that dividing us is tried and true method of exerting power. To them, fighting among ourselves based on our differences is a winning strategy. Their thrill for conflict supersedes the horrible cost such combat wreaks to our society.
For our nation to survive and thrive, it’s essential to recognize and reject that divisive attitude. In a mid-1850 speech foreseeing the looming national conflict over slavery, U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln declared “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Ensuring our future peace and prosperity is not a hopeless cause. The passionate voices of protest must be effectively channeled toward achieving solutions that make us all take pride in victory over hate and injustice. Maybe our precious lady will survive if we join in and lift her up together. She’s lived for over 240 years but is way too young to die.
If you believe in the power of prayer, please take a minute or two to say a prayer for our beloved nation – even if it is a short, simple prayer. How about: Lord, please heal our land and turn our people’s hearts away from hatred and distrust and toward kindness, justice, and respect for all. Amen.
But prayer in and of itself is not a substitute for concerted and ardent advocacy. Taking action to join the chorus for justice, demanding that our leaders set a standard for decency and righteousness, and making every effort to reward those who reject hatred and promote lasting solutions is the positive path we should all travel…together in unity.
Featured image: ISTVAN KADAR PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES