It was December 1st, 1955. A tired Rosa Parks took her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, heading home after a long day’s work. She refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement.
Rosa didn’t wait for permission from a federal court to be treated like a human. She didn’t even wait for a bus driver to give her permission. So, as I wrote in today’s featured article – “we don’t need no stinkin’ permission to exercise our rights – we need to exercise them whether they the government wants us to or not.”
Donald Pennington summed it up quite nicely in his post at Gather.com:
If it can be called courage to march and speak, backed up by thousands of supporters, television, and coverage by the nation’s news media, then what can we call a single act of stubborn defiance, over an otherwise trivial matter? If we call brave, the taking a stand as part of an entire movement of a people, what title do we give the soul all alone, and simply standing up for what’s right?
As a people, a conglomeration of different groups, we can say all manner of wise thoughts about right and wrong. But, as an individual, can we all have the courage of that one woman whom though all alone, simply refused and stood her ground? When the moment of truth arrives in our lives, will we be as self-confident, defiant, and as beautiful as Rosa Parks? We may have lost Rosa Parks five years ago, but her example of the courageous choice, at the right moment, remains for us all.
Today, Parks’ resistance should be held up as a great symbol of what individuals can do for their own liberty. Whether the issue is people in 15 states refusing to obey federal marijuana laws, or 25 states refusing the Real ID act, or those many states working to resist gun laws, national health care, and the like – we can, on a state, local, and individual level, say NO! when government tells us to do things that are unconstitutional or even just flat out wrong.
Question – when government agents want to search you at an airport as if you were a criminal, or they tell you that you need to buy some health insurance plan – will you have as much courage as Rosa Parks did? For the sake of all our liberty, I hope some of us (including myself), do!