Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank You, Rosa.

If I'm sure of anything today it's that wherever Rosa is she's smiling. Thank you, Rosa for making today possible. Thank you for your courage to take those steps towards the front of that bus. Thank you for pushing America to be America.

"Let America be America Again" by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed-- Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me, Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek-- And finding only the same old stupid plan Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope, Tangled in that ancient endless chain Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land! Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need! Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I am the worker sold to the machine. I am the Negro, servant to you all. I am the people, humble, hungry, mean-- Hungry yet today despite the dream. Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers! I am the man who never got ahead, The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream In the Old World while still a serf of kings, Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true, That even yet its mighty daring sings In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned That's made America the land it has become. O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas In search of what I meant to be my home-- For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore, And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea, And torn from Black Africa's strand I came To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me? Surely not me? The millions on relief today? The millions shot down when we strike? The millions who have nothing for our pay? For all the dreams we've dreamed And all the songs we've sung And all the hopes we've held And all the flags we've hung, The millions who have nothing for our pay-- Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again-- The land that never has been yet-- And yet must be--the land where every man is free. The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME-- Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose-- The steel of freedom does not stain. From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!

O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath-- America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death, The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies, We, the people, must redeem The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers. The mountains and the endless plain-- All, all the stretch of these great green states-- And make America again!


Life As I Know It Now said...

Excellent! I am so happy right now. And it is true that she is the one who started the ball rolling. She doesn't always get the credit she deserves either.

Don Snabulus said...

That poem says it all. Welcome President Obama and thank you Rosa Parks for pointing the way.

Lockwood said...

Oh, yeah! Another "Amen!" BTW Dean, Comedy Central didn't cover the inauguration... some misunderstanding somewhere. We still had a good time, made fun at all the appropriate places, compared Darth Cheney to Dr. Strangelove, spontaneously stood and put our hand on our hearts when bush got on the helicopter, and on and on. It's been a good day.

ThoughtCriminal said...

Dean Wormer - I grew up in Alabama in the 60's. I can't say I "saw it all" but I saw (and heard) enough. I'm feeling pretty damn good today.

Dean Wormer said...


Yeah, a lot of people are being remembered today but I personally believe that Rosa Park's small action had more to do with where we arrived today than even that of Dr. King.


So true.


I had heard Jon Stewart was doing commentary somewhere. Maybe it wasn't Comedy Central.


I can't add to that. This is a giant step forward for this country.

Overdroid said...


Randal Graves said...

I'll get on board the hope train: I hope there are hardcore investigations and charges lest another pack of gangsters comes along to fuck shit up. But I'm not holding my breath. Sorry to be the breath of bad air. ;-)

okjimm said...

Langston... whatta great choice!

...and still a great poem!!!