Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Scribblings--Idea

Operation Push Headquarter
This prompt leads readily to a post I wanted to do for Martin Luther King’s birthday.
Reverend King was an inspiring example of how ideas can change the world. I recommend that we all take the time to read today or tomorrow, King’s “I have a dream speech” and remember his words: “I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they one day will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
I wish I could say to King’s spirit that this day has arrived, but it has not. I was at a dinner last night with some very educated and politically liberal people. Of course, politics came up, and no one spoke up in favor of our president’s war in Iraq. The talk turned to speculation about our next president. For the democrats thoughts turned to whether Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama might be viable candidates. Now whatever you think about their respective political merits, one has to ask first, are Americans ready to elect either a female or an African American president? Yes, race is still an issue in this country before character. Sometimes one might wonder if character is an issue at all to the electorate (unless one is a promiscuous democrat). Sadly enough, many of us felt that an African American is more electable than a woman, whether or not she is Hillary. Don’t even dream of running for office if you are gay.
I saw a movie a few days ago that kept the hope alive in my mind. It is a small movie called Paper Clips that I only heard of by word of mouth. Without a recommendation from a close friend, I never would have watched it at all.
It is no coincidence that the movie’s web site starts with the words: “It all started with a simple idea.” In a small town in rural Tennessee, staff at the local middle school decided that they needed to teach their children more about tolerance. They were worried that in a community that was 100% Protestant and had only a handful of African American and one Hispanic student, their children needed to be exposed to the importance of tolerance as part of their education.
These teachers decided to study the Holocaust at their school. They started teaching their students how one ideology could lead to murderous evil. The project evolved into an attempt to understand the meaning of the number 6 million (the number of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis). The students decided to collect paper clips, used as a symbol of resistance by the Norwegians during World War II. Over the course of a few years, the children collected 29 million paper clips, met people from other cultures, countries, faiths and backgrounds than their own and grew in the doing.
This is a movie about how one idea changed a community. It is not a Holocaust movie. This is a true story about how ideas can lead to personal growth in ways that no one could have predicted. I think Reverend King would have approved.
As King said in his speech: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed—‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.’” What a simple idea it is.


Crafty Green Poet said...

Good post, i think I've heard of that film, I'll need to go and see it when it gets here. I hope that USA is ready for a black or female president....

I really like your recent photos too.

Sunflower said...

I've tagged you with Lazy Sunday Thinking. Please visit my Sunflower if you want to play:-)
Thanks and enjoy!

I will Exercise for Comments!

East of Oregon said...

Thanks for the tip on the movie -- I haven't heard about it and it sounds very interesting.

Tarakuanyin said...

Great post. I've seen Paper Clips in the video store and never rented it even though I thought it looked interesting. Now I have motivation to do so. Thanks!

Attila The Mom said...

My son saw PaperClips with his class and thought it was really wonderful. I'm going to have to put that on our list!

Rethabile said...

I guess it's going on my list, too. Do they call it "Trombones" in French? (Yes, the French have named the small tool after the musical instrument -- they do look alike).

What a magnificent post!

Dr King and Gandhi would have enjoyed reading it. I have to say, though, that I feel America will more readily elect a white woman than a black person. Just gut feeling.

In this exercise, there is very little consideration for "content of character," if any at all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

I'm off to add that movie to my Netflix Queue. Thanks for tell us about it.

paris parfait said...

This is a wonderful post, full of good ideas! Thank you. And yes, in America sadly racism still exists. But it also exists in almost every part of the world, against different ethnicities. If only the world would heed the late MLK's wise words.

annie said...

nice post...we were on the same wavelength, i think.
sadly, i worry that america is still too racially and sexually hung-up to accept a black or female president. that really troubles me. haven't heard a thing about paper clips...thanks for the tip.