BY GREG COTE
We move slowly as a society, don’t we? No matter the magnitude or urgency, we are unhurried. When we do change, we do it grudgingly, and then, perhaps decades later, we allow ourselves to finally admit how insane it was that it took so long — or that we were ever like that at all.
Women couldn’t vote, once. Susan B. Anthony, second-class citizen, made changing that her life’s work in the late 19th century. Society accepted what was illogical, but there were enough who stood up to foment eventual change. Anthony did not live to see women cast their first votes in a U.S. presidential election in 1920.
Black Americans didn’t have basic civil rights, once. Martin Luther King Jr., second-class citizen, made changing that his life’s work in the mid-20th century. Society accepted what was blatantly unfair, but enough stood to make change eventually come. King lived to see the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, and paid for it with his life.
Can you imagine, now, that women once had to fight for the right to vote? Or that blacks had to fight for simple fairness and the most basic human rights?
I wonder if we’ll look back, many years from now, and similarly mention Michael Sam as a champion of gay equality? And wonder why it took us so long?