Friday, July 08, 2011

31 Days in Seuss, Day 7: My Best Idea

There's a Facebook page for 31 Days in Seuss now. Click here to like it. And without further ado, here's Day 7:

I've had a good idea or two in my day
(And many more bad ones I won't redisplay)
Grad school was a good one, confronting my fears,
And bachelorette-ing for these past few years,
And one time jumping right out of a plane,
Choosing a life and a home that's urbane,
Spending my twenties in a rock-n-roll band,
Embarking on many adventures unplanned,
Saying I'm sorry for an error or two,
(And not apologizing for more than a few!),
Moving back home when I was given the chance
And keeping my sweet spot for sweethearts' romance.

But my BEST idea, I think, when I think on it hard,
Is the one that I'll never, no never, discard.
My research underwent a major upheaval.
A few years ago, I turned my attention to evils
Like torture, the denial of key recognition,
And not so very "extraordinary" rendition,
The things that are done causing moral distaste,
Exploitation resulting in persons debased
Racism, sexism, the logic of Empire
The harsh regulation of basic desire--
In short, all our missteps that would go unchecked
Without human rights and a will to protect.

But laws just declare rights, they can't ever ground them
(MLK said that, the disenfranchised gathered around him)
It's philosophy's job to try and illumine
Whatever it is that binds us as "human."
So I made it my aim, my research obsession
To contribute my best idea to that question.

Here it is: we are, all of us, weak.
What's "human" about us is that, no mystique.
We're mortal, mutable, sometimes petty and mean.
We're defined by our futures, which remain unforeseen.
We can be a capricious, unpredictable lot.
But defined by some essence? Well, we're just not.
Despite all our difference, there's one thing we share:
None of us, not one, lives a life solitaire.
We may be rational, free, many other great strengths,
We may build great machines and go to great lengths
To distinguish ourselves from nature, the beast,
The stranger, the alien, the unknown, unreleased,
But at the end of the day, we need one another,
Sister and sister, brother and brother
To step in and defend and declare a loud "No!"
To insist that not anything, not everything goes.

For whatever else we may know of ourselves
From the volumes of thinking we keep on our shelves,
We're the only animal that can settle our quarrels
Without force or fight, by discharging our morals.
So my best idea, above all else, is just this:
We ought not, cannot, ever be remiss
In protecting human rights. We need to pursue
The "them" that's a "we", the "I" that's a "you"
For someday, you should know, they'll come for you, too
And you'll need the ones who won't misconstrue
The difference between you and them as innate
And who won't, in reflex, underestimate
The humanity that you share with the rest of us folk
For that's a humanity that can't be revoked.

1 comment:

Prof P said...

Now I REALLY want to read your research. Humbling and inspiring, Leigh. Well said, my friend.