February 18, 2008

"We are the ones we have been waiting for"

Subtitle: Giving Credit Where Due

With the brouhaha today re recycling a major portion of someone else's speech (but delivering it better), I remembered being struck when listening to Obama the other day when he said, "We are the ones we have been waiting for" and thought 'THAT was a great line' and very well delivered.

That turned out to be the title of an Alice Walker book.

I wondered why he didn't just say, 'As Alice Walker has said...'

But then Walker's chapter credits June Jordan for that line.

Here's a website for June Jordan and one for her available books.

Irony? If his speechwriters had just credited it, he would have picked up even more of the female vote by drawing attention to her poem. It IS inspiring stuff.

Alice Walker's chapter from her book explains:

"It was the poet June Jordan who wrote "We are the ones we have been waiting for." Sweet Honey in the Rock turned those words into a song. Hearing this song, I have witnessed thousands of people rise to their feet in joyful recognition and affirmation. We are the ones we've been waiting for because we are able to see what is happening with a much greater awareness than our parents or grandparents, our ancestors, could see. This does not mean we believe, having seen the greater truth of how all oppression is connected, how pervasive and unrelenting, that we can "fix" things.

But some of us are not content to have a gap in opportunity and income that drives a wedge between rich and poor, causing the rich to become ever more callous and complacent and the poor to become ever more wretched and humiliated. . . ."

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