When We Know Better, We do Better!

Tattered but Salvageable

“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s Creation.” ~ Maya Angelou

I’m feeling very emotional as I write this post today. It will be published on American Independence Day and that brings mixed feelings for me almost every year, but particularly this year with all the demonstrations and influx of Covid-19 cases. The demonstrations against racism and declaring that Black Lives Matter are necessary to help bring about real change. It’s just another step in our evolution as a country. The influx of Covid cases is, in my opinion, a lack of strong leadership coupled with people claiming their First World Privileges that put us all in danger.

But I want to take you through my thought process that led to this post.

A few days ago I was chatting with a college friend for an episode of Story~Power. We were talking about musicals since she loves them. And she was pointing out something I had never thought about before, that there is always a dark side to almost every musical. Since we were recording close to July 4th, I mentioned the musical 1776, which she had never seen. That surprised me. It’s one of my favorites. It’s not one of my favorites because it glorifies the unprecedented, at that time, declaration of intent to separate from the mother country. It’s because the musical has scenes and two songs that acknowledge the imperfection of the process of trying to form a new country.

The first song is one I find oddly relevant it’s “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men”. It’s about the conservative landed men who have become rich in their new land, and that their aim is to make sure their set stays on top of the population heap. If you watch this on TCM, the commentator will point out that this song was removed from the first theatrical release because President Nixon had previewed the film and didn’t like the song. It was too close to home. It exposed the tactics of his party and himself. He asked the producers to remove it. The link will take you to the site where you can find the lyrics for this and all the songs in 1776.

The second song, “Molasses to Rum” is even more devastating. The lyrics point out the connection between molasses, rum, and slaves and the fact that this trade triangle wouldn’t exists if not for the ships sailing out of Boston with bibles and rum heading for Africa to pick up a ship full of slaves bound for the Colonies. The music and lighting are hauntingly beautiful which belies the dark reality of the words.

The movie also shows that this country was made possible because those who wanted to end slavery had to compromise with those who promised to block separation from England if they didn’t allow it to continue.

The formation of the United States of America was a huge experiment. People like John Adams and Benjamin Franklin wanted a clean beginning for our country. But they couldn’t accomplish that at the time. They had to make a choice, to attempt to separate from Britain, or to continue to suffer under Her rule. We know the choice they made.

Like all experiments we’ve tried and failed over and over again to free people from oppression. Less than one hundred years after we became a country, we fought a war to end slavery. One hundred years later, the Civil Rights Movement made some progress for the rights of blacks. Now fifty-five years later we get a new opportunity to reset our experiment and try again.

The thing I love about The Black Lives Matter movement is that its bringing up not only inequities of how blacks have been treated, but all other populations of color as well and that’s a good thing.

The title of this post is, I believe, a quote by Maya Angelou. The Founding Fathers did the best they could at the time they declared independence from Great Britain. But of course the slaves, women, Native Americans, and many other groups of people were left out of the “We the people of the United States …” written into the Constitution. I’m hoping that from this 4th of July forward we, as a nation, will do the self-examination necessary to make those rousing words of The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution finally become reality. I’m committed to not turning away from the work. I now know better so I have to be committed to doing better.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and liking. If you like what you read here, please share it with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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