I was out of town or I would have been down there talking to people. That's what I did during the Million Man march back in1995 and was glad I did. It's one thing to listen to the guy on the stage talking through an amplifier. It's another to listen quietly to the people standing in the grass. You get a lot of different, more personal attitudes.I saw the people coming across Memorial Bridge Saturday morning. They were regular people - like people I grew up with - middle-middle. Maybe a little more conservative - some wore giant flags on their chests - but real people, regular Americans. It brings me back personally to what Abraham Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural given just weeks before his life ended - how he asked us not to be so self-righteous.He spoke back then to a people, we Americans, divided in the Civil War, literally at war with each other - our young men shooting at each other across open fields at point blank range, aiming at each other's hearts.
"Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other." "But let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes."
So I agree with Lincoln's sentiment - "with malice toward none." I like people who care about our country. I like people who are passionate about it - who really feel something when they hear someone speak of America and what it stands for. What I believe it stands for is respect for the individual human being - his and her right to become who they can. I remember what Barack Obama said when I first heard him speak six years ago about "this being the only country in which a story like his is possible." Where you can rise up to be president, or where you can rise up to host a national television program, and speak your mind. What I don't like to see is this positive love of our country heard on the Washington Mall Saturday accompanying an agenda of anger and division. Beck finally apologized on Sunday -- a day after his rally -- for calling the President of the United States a racist. It would have been better, more courageous, more American to say that when he stood up there with that amplifier talking to all those people.But better late than never. As Lincoln said, "let us judge not, that we be not judged."