Day 1278, Thoughts on the Passing of John Lewis
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident…” (1)
If something is self-evident,
You’d think we’d all agree.
Should we agree it’s evident
That white men are most free?
For browns, for blacks, the female sex,
If any one of them objects,
They risk brutality.
“…that all Men are created equal…”
What Jefferson wrote did mean, “men,”
White men, with property.
A black man or an Indian,
Might be that property.
And women did not get the vote
No offices were held, we note,
By Muslim or by Jew.
“…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
So, which Creator, Christian God?
Perhaps some Hindu doll?
Or God the Jews and Muslims laud?
Perhaps no god at all?
Today our science says, “Big Bang.”
The Big Bang gave us Rights?
In Jefferson’s time, they might hang
Those doubting Christian rites.
Did some Creator give us Rights?
Or did the human mind?
Look in the Bible for our Rights;
Impossible to find.
The South had slaves; the North did not,
All women, second class.
A bloody civil war was fought,
We’re still in that crevasse.
Rights that are not for everyone,
We must admit we’re still not done;
“…That among these, are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”
Is Life inalienable,
With blacks lynched by torchlight?
Is that crime made excusable,
When those hangmen are white?
Can you pursue full Happiness
With knees upon your throat,
When Jim Crow laws deny access,
To restaurants and vote?
What Thomas Jefferson proposed,
John Lewis helped make real.
He paid in blood; Jim Crow deposed:
Did John’s blood help us heal?
The concept of equality,
He knew should be for all,
And must become reality,
Not just a noble call.
Stir up “good trouble,” Lewis said,
The nation mourns his loss.
At 80 years old, he is dead.
Will we pick up his cross?
(1) These words introduce the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, adopted July 4, 1776, and still not actualized today.