Extrardinary Ordinary People
"I can remember coming from my grandparents' one night. We'd
just gotten out of the car when we heard a loud blast down the
street. In Birmingham that spring nobody had to think twice: a bomb
had exploded in the neighborhood..."
I think most of us can imagine how scary it would be to be a
little kid so familiar with the sound of bombs you'd recognize it
right away. And how about raising a child in such an atmosphere of
fear and peril ? In the same paragraph the father says he is going to
the police. The mother asks him if he's crazy, adding that they
probably set the bomb.
The residential neighborhood/war zone was in Birmingham,
Alabama. The year was 1963. The narrator is none other than
Condeleezza Rice, the first black woman to serve as Secretary of
State. Her Extraordinary Ordinary People: A Memoir Of Family gives us
an intimate look at her growing and early professional years and the
people who were both her roots tying her to family and community and
the wind beneath her wings.
I am not a Republican. I ditched the Democrats when the DNC
played dirty to get Mrs. Clinton nominated instead of Bernie. But I
could not put the book down. Seeing the personal side of someone I'd
only read about in the newspapers gave me quite a few insights I
otherwise would have missed out on.
One case in particular was concerning her staunch defense of the
right to bear arms. During part of Rice's childhood her father and
the other men on her street had to sit vigils at night to protect
their homes and families from violent whites. "...Had my father and
our neighbors registered their weapons, Bull Connor surely would have
confiscated them or worse. The Constitution speaks of the right to a
well-regulated militia. The inspiration for this was the Founding
Fathers' fear of the government. They had insisted that citizens had
the right to protect themselves when the authorities would not and, if
necessary, resist the authorities themselves..."
She did not change my mind on the subject. But she made me
think. A book that can do that, in my mind, is well worth reading.
On a personal note, last week Real Food Challenge teamed up with
Nutrition Club and other food and agriculture related groups to table
together. We were in a room in the Union. The set up was dismayingly
similar to an event we had earlier in the semester when hardly anyone
came. I didn't want a rerun. I asked the groups if they wanted me to
go in the hall and send people their way. People were psyched. They
told me to emphasize the free food. We had good stuff. People
responded very well to my greet and guide. The joint was jumping and
people thanked me for letting them in on the fun. It just goes to
show sometimes a big mouth can be a very good thing.
A great big shout out goes out to all the groups who participated and
the people who took the time to check us out.
Sent from my iPod