I have a confession to make.
I love driving fast, listening to pop music (all of it — rap, too), and dancing — all at the same time.
And I can dance while sitting in my car. Believe it.
In fact, the ol’ Beamer almost hit 90 on Monday while jamming to Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic”.
Now I know what you’re thinking:
“She is too damn old to be doing shit like this.”
And I’m answering:
“Ah, hell naw. If I get too old for this shit, go ahead and shoot me.”
People dry up and die on the inside when they don’t challenge the norms…when they don’t honor their guts.
And my mom taught me an early age to push that envelope.
When I was in grammar school, the Mountain Hill School PTA held a Labor Day barbecue every year in the pine thicket across the road from the school.
Politicians frequently visited during election years, and in 1962, Marvin Griffin was invited.
Griffin was a veteran Georgia politician, having served as Governor from 1955 to 1959. He left office under a cloud of corruption but was trying to make a comeback.
He was known as an arch-segregationist and promised to close the state’s public school system if federal authorities tried to enforce desegregation.
His opponent, the younger Carl Sanders, hailed from Augusta and entered Georgia politics in 1954 at the age of 29.
Sanders ran on a progressive campaign platform, vowing to take Georgia into a new era of reformed government.
My parents were supporters of Carl Sanders and were probably in the minority among their fellow rural voters.
At the 1962 Labor Day barbecue, I watched my mother take her place in the serving line, proudly sporting a “Carl Sanders for Governor” button.
When Marvin Griffin was directly across from her, his eyes focused on what she was wearing.
“Carl Sanders for Governor,” he said, with a bit of a sneer in his voice.
“Yes sir,” said my mother, flashing her signature smile. “Hope you enjoy your meal,” as she plopped a spoonful of stew on his plate — so hard that he almost dropped it.
He didn’t say a word back to her.
Sanders won and the racist lost.
I learned that we can defeat hate and ignorance.
And we do it with unapologetic singing and dancing — even though others think we should be silent and still.