Forgive the grandfathers? How?
How can we forget their injustices, their brutality, their waspish imperialism.
How can we forget their bullish discipline, their unbending superiority,
Their self-deluding dreams of Manifesto, their Godly Destiny,
Their autonomy to conquer, ravage, and destroy.
How can we forget? They’re still among us.
Their faces, stern, arrogant, their eyes impenetrable,
Their mouths programmed to speak outdated philosophies:
All things justified in the name of the Lord, for the deserving,
For those who abide by the Grandfather Laws.
They generate themselves,
Religiously Right in their moral judgments,
Inherited and biblicized.
Piously energetic, they have left their Mark indelibly.
Are leaving it still.
Upon the legal scrolls of the Just, the Mighty.
They jealously, zealously, intolerably,
Created Sovereignty for themselves.
Cleverly disguising it in the softer, flowing gowns of feminine garb,
They robed their Liberty in illusion, extending her arms to the poor, huddling masses.
Democratic Justice for All, they say.
How can we forget? They live only to be remembered through their wealth,
Their greenhouses of propaganda, their granted permissions,
Their obligatory brotherhoods, their Machiavellian fellowships.
We may forgive the grandmothers, for their allowances, their allegiances.
But, the grandfathers?
Their schemes of select fruition, their unabating views,
Their imposing solutions, their ever-grinding power machine.
Forgive them? How?
How can we not?
They protected, they provided, they produced.
They were soldiers, ready in bravery, always loyal, and strong.
They were circumstantial men following an enigmatic code of ethics,
murky and undecipherable to our equally circumstantial minds.
They believed in causes, ones they judged fair and righteous, and godly.
they opposed foreign tyranny without hesitation or question.
They gave us this land, the most valuable on the planet.
They covered their losses, counted their blessings, and declared Victory.
If their faces are stern, arrogant, their eyes impenetrable still,
are they not justified?
Countless names, in countless places,
mark the headstones of fallen sons and fathers, brothers:
Falling still, honoring those ancient signatures
scratched defiantly upon the law books of this land,
page after blood splattered page.
They believed that might makes right,
that strength is the only equalizer.
Where they wrong?
So, let us remember them not for their wealth,
nor their clubhouses of discrimination, or fellowships of favoritism.
Not for their sermons, their strict disciplines, or their patronage.
Let’s remember them instead with gratitude.
Let’s honor them for their legitimacy, for their veracity.
Let’s respect their commitment to progress,
these men of mythological character.
Their deeds are the blueprints for our future.
If we can forgive the grandmothers their allowances, their illusions,
then, forgive the grandfathers we must.
For perception, after the fact,
renders an assessment based on hindsight, moot.
Judging history has nothing to do with truth.
Anita Stubbs, 1993