So What Will It Be? Change or Status Quo?

Posted on March 21, 2010


The way forward in history is never led by the timid. Every advance in human rights is resisted by defenders of the status quo.  Change through democracy is difficult and loudly opposed.

Do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence were worried about re-election? They were revolutionaries, with no guarantee of success.  Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson understood that they might be hanged for treason.

How ironic that the so-called “Tea Party”  has misappropriated the memory of the American Revolution. How many Tea-Partying conservatives would sign the Declaration of Independence?

From the American Revolution until now, nearly every step forward has had to overcome extreme opposition.

The abolition of slavery was long delayed, first by Congress, and then by Civil War. Finally,   the Emancipation Proclamation was done on the authority of one man, President Abraham Lincoln.

The right of women to vote? A radical idea in its time.

Social Security? Many wealthy Americans and business leaders reviled President Franklin D. Roosevelt because of Social Security.

The integration of the U.S. Armed Forces?  Congress could never have passed it. President Harry Truman ordered it, over the opposition of generals.

Apartheid in American baseball?  It never came to a vote. Major League Baseball was integrated by the will of two men, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.

Were the Civil Rights Bills easy votes in the House and Senate? I wonder how many politicians sacrificed their careers for that cause.

Medicare and Medicaid? How much soul-searching? How much arm-twisting?

As Congress votes on health care, who will sign on for an uncertain revolution, and who will be timid and cling to the status quo.

— Bernie (John) Hayden