Friday, December 06, 2013

The last true freedom fighter of his generation

Nelson Mandella is dead. He was among us for longer than most of our present day heroes. His body wasn't even cold before his former critics and enemies leapt to co-opt Mandela's legend to score cheap political points.

I'm not reading any of cheap potshots and vile conservative commentary. For myself, I choose to reflect on my good fortune to have lived to witness so much of his life and work. Many have already spoken of his legacy so I'll spare you my inadequate thoughts and simply outsource to Charlie Pierce's eulogy.
Nelson Mandela died yesterday, and he was the last of them, the last of the patriots in a line all the way back to George Washington who fought to rid their native countries of the deadweight of colonialism, who fought for self-determination against the rule of distant, unyielding governments that slid into tyranny without even knowing they were doing it, who fought and won and, in Mandela's case, like Washington, but unlike Michael Collins and so many others, outlived the stifling detritus of dying empires. Nelson Mandela was a reminder of all the others, famous and obscure, who fought the same battle in so many places against so many oppressors, known and unknown. He was the last in their line, the last of them -- people like, to name only one, Ho Chi Minh -- who drew strength and purpose from the deep, lasting echoes of what a group of wealthy merchants and planters -- and, yes, slaveholders -- set loose upon the world in Philadelphia in 1776. What they did was to set freedom itself free, although most of them probably didn't know they were doing it at the time, and many of them would have blanched at the prospect. But the one thing they did, Mr. Jefferson and all of them, was throw out to the world in their magnificent rhetoric a magnificent bluff. Nelson Mandela was the last man who called it in the last place it was called.

All men are created equal.

Endowed with certain inalienable rights.

Read the rest at the link. You won't have to read anything else.

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Blogger Daniel Efosa Uyi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:04:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Cheap political shots and cheap blog whores like the above. There's nothing so noble that someone won't try to debase or exploit or cover with graffiti.

12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Deleted that spammer.

1:24:00 PM  

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