Wednesday, September 16, 2009

mono vs poly

Here is a letter I sent to the Raleigh News & Observer. Below it are more details as to my feelings about where we are now as a country:

To the Editor:

Steve Ford journeys from Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” to Gettysburg (Where we celebrate what we share, Sept. 13), a reminder that our country struggled then to define itself, and still does.
How monocultural or how diverse should we be? White bread or whole wheat? or rye? How exhilarated or how scared to be when a white man is no longer President?
Many of us contend that we reach further into greatness as a country when we open ourselves to diversity and become one from many, like a stew in which each ingredient both adds itself to the larger and yet remembers where it came from.
A civil war still rages in our country and each side wants to define who we are. Like Lincoln after Gettysburg, may we choose the greater and not the lesser, hope over fear, love over hate, the open heart over the closed mind.

Henry Walker
5701 Old Stony Way
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 489-6685

are we white bread, or whole wheat?

at the heart of who we are as a country
opposing impulses struggle with each other and to express themselves,
and in the knowing we choose
we shape and define who we are,

are we white bread or whole wheat? or maybe even rye?
one nation under one God
or one nation with many paths toward God,
or otherwise?

our past has been dominated by the white and the male,
and I understand the fear of losing a familiar father,
in Congress Assembled, and Dissembled,
one party cannot keep itself from trumpeting that fear,
their own countenances, demeanors, all WASPy and angry,

I want us as a country to hold on to the wisdom of the white and the male
and feel not diminished, but grander,
when we add the wisdom of all of our assets:
each gender, each race, ethnicity,
when we can value the quality of character
whatever the gender, the skin, the way they know their God,

how much more we can be as a country
when we use all of the gifts of all of us
and not just hearken back to a partial self,

the best in us knows we can do better than that,

may we win the struggle with our selves
and rise as a wholeness that will not be denied.

by Henry Walker
September 10, ’09

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