Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Boost of Courage

I've been a little absent lately as I've been all but overwhelmed with preparing for a conference next week. Now I'm in that "between stage" of conference planning that can be compared to the following analogy:

- I've been wrangling information, preparing speakers, sponsors, vendors and generally calming the masses who don't do what I do for a living so are understandably worried and on pins and needles. This equals a lot of stress
This is the standing in the long winding line waiting for the roller coaster
- I've sent in all the meeting information, food & beverage orders, printing to be done to the proper people and they've acknowledged that they understand what I've committed to and how I want it.

This is boarding the roller coaster, leaving the excitement/stress of the line behind knowing you did what you could do to get on the roller coaster.
- Now all I can do is continue this week to watch out for the stray details and get on site at the conference and manage the controlled chaos that may come but make it look effortless to the attendees.
This is riding the roller coaster. It can be scary, you may want to scream but all you can do is hold on for the ride. It's a new stress, but it's not the preparation stress.

So, with the big stress for this particular conference over, and prepping for the coaster ride, along with the fact that LSATs are in 2 months, I felt I needed some positive reading.

I went on a fam trip to Fort Worth, Texas back in May and stayed at the Ft. Worth Hilton where John F. Kennedy stayed and gave a speech just before starting that fateful motorcade trip that would change history.

While there, I was given the book "Profiles in Courage" written by Kennedy himself. This particular book was the 50th Anniversary edition (50 YEARS! Can you believe it?) which had an introduction by Caroline Kennedy. I was particularly moved by a passage where Caroline quotes a speech by her father when he was staunchly supporting integration in the 60's:

"We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution. The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?" - John F. Kennedy, 1963

I read this and had a flurry of thoughts. May fights for civil rights have been likened to the African American civil rights movement. Some agree and some take offense to that. However, there are still people today not getting their equal rights that are due by the government. Some people pay taxes (a lot sometimes) to a government that does not afford them the same rights as the rest of the country.

Kennedy's speech above is as relevant today as when he said it 4o+ years ago. While some aspects have changed, you can still take out the references to color and insert another minority. Back in the 60's it was generally socially acceptable to be bigoted toward blacks. That's not the case today. It happens, don't get me wrong, but it is not socially acceptable. However, there is a minority that is still fair game in society to be the target of jokes, insults and injury.

I hope that in years to come the plight of this minority, when applied to Kennedy's speech, finds their troubles so far beyond the point they are today that a history making speech like Kennedy's will be a needed thing of the past.


Bunny said...

Are you taking an LSAT prep class or otherwise studying for it? I bought a prep book at Waldenbooks and scored in the 99.9th percentile, so I could recommend that book. That is, if I remembered what book it was 20 years later . . .

Lea in SC said...

Excellent post today!

Max's Dad said...

Just remember that time will take care of this problem.

SUEB0B said...

Good luck with the conference. I don't know how you do it. I get so frazzled just GOING to conferences!