Man of Steel and Velvet

Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet who is as hard as rock and as soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.

While the war winds howled, he insisted that the Mississippi was one river meant to belong to one country.

While the luck of war wavered and broke and came again, as generals failed and campaigns were lost, he held enough forces…together to raise new armies and supply them until generals were found who made war as victorious war has always been made, with terror, frightfulness, destruction…valor and sacrifice past words of man to tell.

In the mixed shame and blame of the immense wrongs of two crashing civilizations, often with nothing to say, he said nothing, slept not at all, and on occasions he was seen to weep in a way that made weeping appropriate, decent, majestic.

Carl Sandburg

Photo by Pixabay on

As you read Carl Sandberg’s vivid description of our President weeping and calling it appropriate, decent, and majestic, I want to discuss the importance of weeping and grieving amidst these times. These two civilizations are again clashing and for the same reason. Not slavery as it was then, but an oppression implemented by neglect of the equality of all people in our country.

I think it is appropriate to weep for our Black brothers and sisters who have had limited freedom because of America’s historical caste system. Please read Isabel Wilkerson’s sobering and revealing book entitled, Caste, The Origin of Our Discontents, and you will mourn like Lincoln. She writes, “A crucial ingredient for the dismantling of casteism is radical empathy. One must be open to learning and listening from another who has different experiences. This form of listening and forming connections in an open and warm manner allows us to better understand the pain that others have experienced which one might be privileged from ever experiencing.”

Future blogs will discuss the importance of listening to a person’s story in order to make a connection and gain new understanding. I hope you will share your stories when you had an opportunity to have a new insight into another culture.

#Isabel Wilkerson #Abe Lincoln #Carl Sandburg #Caste

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