Osuvaa: Ann Nixon Cooperin vuosisata

5 11 2008

Historiantutkijat ja -ystävät rakastavat pitkiä elämäntarinoita. Ja näkökään myös poliitikot.

”This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight’s about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America — the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that ”We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.”

Toivottavasti Yhdysvaltojen uusi presidentti tosiaan kantaa huolta tulevista sukupolvista – toisin kuin edeltäjänsä. ”Emme peri maailmaa esi-isiltämme, vaan lainaamme sen lapsiltamme”, sanoo eräs intiaanien sananlasku. CNN:n pari viikkoa vanha juttu Ann Nixon Cooperista, joka on Obaman innokas tukija.

”I ain’t got time to die,” Cooper said with a smile. ”Even if he didn’t win, I was happy for him just to be nominated,” said the former socialite. ”The first black president — isn’t that something, at 106 years old?”

 


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