The sorrows of race and gender

in the 2008 presidential election

Published on OpEdNews, by Robert Jensen, April 21, 2008, 3 pages.

It may seem odd to talk of sorrows around race and gender in politics when we are a few months away from being able to vote for a white woman or a black man for president of the United States. When I was born in 1958, any suggestion that such an election was on the horizon would have been laughed off as crazy. In the first presidential campaign I paid attention to as an eighth-grader in 1972, Shirley Chisholm – who four years earlier had become the first black woman to win a seat in Congress. Today, things are different …

… Yes, we can. Si, se puede.

But if we are to do this, first we must not turn away from the sorrow. We must grieve.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, the writer Alice Walker reminded us that:

To grieve is above all to acknowledge loss, to understand there is a natural end to endless gain. To grieve means to come to an understanding, finally, of inevitable balance; Life will right itself, though how it does this remains, and will doubtless remain, mysterious – It is this natural balancing of life that we fear.

We are out of balance, within the human community and with the non-human world. We are reaping what we have sown in the fields of greed and self-indulgence. If we are to live in a decent future – if there is to be a future for our children – it will be because we moved out of those fields left dead by power and into fields of liberation to plant anew.

Between those two fields lie the sorrow fields. It is time – long past time – that we begin the difficult journey through those fields. If we are deliberate, careful, and responsible in that journey there is no guarantee, but there is hope, that yes we can find our way. (full text).

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