Look for me, Ma, I’ll be there.
The thing that really struck me when i started studying history was how nasty humans have always been to each other. Getting through life has been, and continues to be, a huge struggle for most people. Often, that struggle is magnified by the actions of others, whether directly or indirectly.
In some ways, civilization has made great progress toward achieving equal rights and opportunity for all. There is obviously a long way to go with no easy path available to get there.
How much do i wash my hands of the injustice that i see? How much do i ignore, allow, or take part in the ugliness of the world? I know that the answer is ‘too much’ and that should really be all that I need to know. Atticus Finch seems like a pretty good role model for a life well-lived in this regard. In the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird, he gave this advise to his daughter:
“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
In the final courtroom scene, he reminded the jurors of their duty by saying:
“Now, gentlemen, in this country, our courts are the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created equal. I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and of our jury system – that’s no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality!”
Do we hold ourselves and the people we interact with to that standard? It isn’t working if we are. Bruce Springsteen’s take on John Steinbeck’s Tom Joad:
Now Tom said: “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beating a guy, wherever a hungry newborn baby cries, where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air, look for me, Ma, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand or a decent job or a helpin’ hand, wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free, look in their eyes, Mom, you’ll see me”.
An awesome video take on Rage Against the Machine’s take on Bruce Springsteen.
Springsteen’s own version with guest Tom Morello. Just spectacular.
Chicago’s Rise Against