Yesterday, I toured the Capitol with several family members from out of town. Despite my being a stone’s throw away from it the history that I often find myself awash in never gets boring.
However, I could not have predicted how the day would unfold.
Standing in the center of the Capitol dome.
Instead of marveling at the ornate architecture and monuments.
I found myself in the midst of a lockdown, in the aftermath of a shooting that received scant coverage on the news.
More pressing developments in the world, I guess…
I may be jaded but it seems that shootings, whether they are successful or unsuccessful (thankfully this was the latter) seem to be the new norm.
While sitting on the floor, waiting for the lockdown to be lifted.
I ruminated long and hard.
Looking at the monuments to the men that spoke with such lofty eloquence about the oneness of man, liberty and the foundational underpinnings of it, but chose to practice it in a haphazard fashion.
Especially when it came to the very people who built and labored for no pay – to build the ornate structure(s) that me and my fellow citizens found ourselves ensconced in historical wonderment.
Being the unapologetic student of history that I am a host of thoughts crossed my mind with:
“Ain’t that some s#%t?”
Resting at the forefront of my consciousness.
I am passionate about history, because its cyclical nature in showing us who we are, regardless of many times we opt to ignore the truth that screams out for the recognition it deserves, it is unflinching it its consistency.
History speaks to the contradictions that lie at the core of humanity, especially here in the Capitol – and I found that the monument to Rosa Parks was especially powerful.
Many of these historical figures opted to sit when the issues of the time called for them to stand.
Mrs. Parks, dear sweet Mrs. Parks… She did something consequential, more powerful than oratory in the confines of a deliberative body, more defining than a shot that started or even ended a war.
She sat, not in the spirit of recalcitrance, but simply because she was – tired.
She chose to sit so that others could stand.
To realize that contradictions are meant to be challenged and disposed of and embracing that act as nothing short of courageous – is lost on many people.
I felt myself moving across the floor as if I was in a Spike Lee film from the 1990’s – when my cousin snapped this picture.
But – I found myself wondering again.
What is remedy for the sacrifices made when so many opt for the luxury of wanton historical ignorance and inaction?
Can they take their sacrifices back?
Can we compel people into appreciation?
Can we chop them in the larynx and watch them choke, while we laugh gleefully?
Ignorance is the crime that goes unpunished – that we all pay for.
And standing there I resolved, that I have to be better than that.