But. And oh.
I wanted so badly to smack the dental assistant who actually physically removed Owen from his mother and made him stop crying and breathe and told him that he had been given his present because he was so brave and that if he didn't stop crying, they would take it back and I can't believe they let that woman work there.
She kept her hand on him and he didn't want her hand on him and I felt helpless for him.
It probably bothered me far more than it bothered Owen but still.
I hated her in that moment, that woman.
I listened to some of the speeches today from the commemoration of Dr. King's I Have A Dream Speech and I cringed when his daughter, Rev. Bernice King, cited places like Syria, Egypt and Florida as places where freedoms are denied. I missed the speeches of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and I should go and listen to them on the internet. I admire those men so much. President Carter, especially. It seems to me that both of them have worked tirelessly since leaving their offices as president to help the powerless, the ill, the under-represented.
I read a quote on the blog of a Savannah writer, Jane Fishman, from Carter and I keep thinking about it. Fishman had gone to Plains, Ga. to attend his Sunday School class and in it, Carter had asked the question, "What is the purpose of our life?" and then answered it with the words, "Healing the sick and reaching out to the despised."
I am not exactly sure what that word means to Carter- the despised- but to my heart and soul, I think we must try, if we can, to reach out to the powerless, to those who have little or no control over the destiny of their lives and isn't that what all sorts of civil rights are about? That all of us should be able to start from as common a place as possible to live our lives, no matter our status in life, our skin color, our sexual identity, our talents, our handicaps, our beliefs about religion, our wealth or our poverty?
And isn't it about not allowing those who are traditionally in power, be it governments or priests, to hold anyone back, to deny rights and liberties based on any of those things? Not only to not allow them to deny, but to make sure that they are the very people who make those denials unlawful, immoral?
I don't know.
And then I think about Owen and that woman who had her hand on him, who, from her position of stupid power as an adult, as someone who controlled the fucking toy box, told my grandson how to feel, to behave, and I know that it all begins with children and it will always begin with children because to deny children rights whether of housing or of health care or of respect for their feelings, their emotional and physical well-being, is the worst of the worst because they are the most innocent, the ones who literally have no power at all when it comes right down to it.
I shouldn't even be trying to write this out. I am tired, it's been a day of not-wellness but merely of plugging through, of one foot-in-front-of-the-other until I could lay down and rest. But I'm thinking these things and I am feeling in despair because when I was nine years old, Dr. King said those words, he had that dream, and although things are so much better, there is so much still wrong. Not just here but all over the world and it makes me sad and it makes me angry. As angry as I was at that woman in the dentist's office and with a more universal anger because humans have such a potential for empathy, for compassion and it would seem to me that there are enough of us who feel those things that we could make some of the wrongs right.
And yet, it never seems to even out, does it?
Hope is that small thing with wings, I guess. Or whatever that saying is. My wings are hidden tonight. That does not mean they are not there.
Here's a picture which gives me hope. It's Owen being fierce before his first Tai Quan Do class with his daddy. His sweet daddy who allows Owen to be as strong and fierce as he wants, and as tender and loving as he can be.