Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University
Coordinator Human Rights & National Security in the 21st Century lecture series
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In partnership with FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and Human Rights & National Security in the 21st Century lecture series. Find more information about the program and the lecture series online HERE.
Remembering and forgetting
Something happened one day in September hundreds of years after America's uppity colonists with A Big Idea built this country on talking and talking and agreeing to disagree and it happened right where a statue was put up about welcoming people, talking, and breathing free. What happened broke all of their hearts into a million tiny pieces. But on that day an amazing thing happened as well. The people all looked up from the TV and their computers long enough that they saw each other again. They talked to people in their village they had never talked to. On that day, and some days that followed, they felt what had connected them all that time, even through yelling and fighting and some killing, even with people they disagreed with.
On that day they remembered that there were things more important than agreeing. They remembered the Village Square. And, for that moment as they remembered who they really were deep down, there was a chance to share with the whole world - many of whom were still having very bad problems with bossy kings, many of whom lived in places where people would sooner kill each other than find something to agree about – the beauty of this country they had built on regular people agreeing to disagree.
And then, just as suddenly as they remembered who they were, they forgot everything they had just remembered. They went back to their air conditioning and the good food in the refrigerator and the comfortable couch and turned the TV back on, and listened to only the people they agree with because their hearts were broken and they just wanted to feel better, to feel sure. Their broken hearts made them all confused and they began thinking that to stay a special place, everyone must begin agreeing, and fast. They forgot that what had always made this country they loved a very special country indeed was that they had agreed about the power of disagreeing. This is what they had agreed on, this is what they had in common, and it was profound.
It seemed like this time, sadly, the farmers and blacksmiths and silversmiths and bakers with their hearts broken into a million tiny pieces had forgotten forever that they came from people who had A Big Idea.
Or had they?
(Read The Village Square's founding tale in its entiretyhere.)
9/11, The Heart of America
The Shadow of the Middle East
Tuesday, September 13
St. John's Episcopal Church
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