Time to Listen for Great Women Thinkers, Past and Present

Eleanor’s Desk
One of Eleanor’s favorite chairs

Time for change in America–I guess.

FOX is in the hen house. . .and Breitbart.  Oh geez, we’re screwed. . .or. . .we wake up.

We’re seeing a whole lot of “soul searching” and re-shuffling of people and positions.  Finger pointing and mea culpas all over.  Hillary lost. . .by some counts, not by others.  Now, the Master of Trumpery will sit where Great Presidents have sat.  Sigh.

Maybe what’s needed most right now is:  a very long, deep breath. . .and then, a re-shuffling of ideas, and re-charging of the mind.  Grab your chargers!  Plug in for 100%.  We’ll need all the energy we can fire up.

There are people, women in particular, we have not listened to very well, if at all.  Though SHE couldn’t vote, I “vote” for Elizabeth Cady Stanton (and Lucretia Mott and Frances Wright too), but also a Humbly Powerful Woman from not that long ago:

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962).

I was visiting the Roosevelt homes up the Hudson River in Hyde Park, NY a few months ago.  It was especially meaningful to stand in the room where Eleanor hosted people like Churchill and Kennedy.  But I had a special interest in her writing desk.  She wasn’t much of a sitter, travelling the world as an ambassador of peace and justice, but there, at that desk, in that chair, she sat, picked up her pen, and spoke out on social issues and the people she met who were changing the world alongside her.  She was a powerful participant on the world stage.

Since the class I was teaching on Freethinkers just ended for the semester, I now have the time to read Eleanor’s autobiography that I bought at her home.  She was certainly a Freethought champion.  Barely off the first page, I find this wisdom, that seems particularly important for our day:

“I was for many years a sounding board for the teachings and influence of my immediate surroundings.  The ability to think for myself did not develop until I was well on in life and therefore no real personality developed in my early youth.  This will not be so of young people of today; they must become individuals responsible for themselves at a much earlier age. . . .  The world of today (she wrote in the 1930’s!) accepts something new overnight and in two years it has become the old and established custom and we have almost forgotten it was ever new.”

Eleanor ends her brief preface with a challenge to us–a challenge to prepare as best we can, to always look for wider experience, greater knowledge, because, as she says:

“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive.  One must never, for whatever reason, turn their back on life.”

Maybe if we choose to think more, learn more and do everything in our re-charging power to face what life brings, we can do our best to really LIVE, and not turn our backs on what needs to be done, here and now. . .here. . .and. . .now.



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