The Common Good
March-April 1996

The Pesky Moral Imperative

by Ellen Watkins | March-April 1996

Why would I, a peaceful, usually law-abiding grandmother of four (not even a parking ticket) break the habit of a lifetime and become the "little old lady in tennis shoes"...

Why would I, a peaceful, usually law-abiding grandmother of four (not even a parking ticket) break the habit of a lifetime and become the "little old lady in tennis shoes" we joked about in the '60s? Blame the pesky moral imperative that transcends law and order: When the law of the land oppresses the most vulnerable of its people, even the most passive citizen must make a fuss. The spirit now gaining ground in the republic is a mean blaming of the poor for their poverty.

For the past decade, I've volunteered in programs for inner-city children and learned firsthand the cruel and often insurmountable problems they and their families face daily. The unbearable thought that their already overwhelming plight could be made worse by the law helped propel me up the Capitol steps and into the Rotunda. And somewhere I read about speaking truth to power. "If not now, when? If not me, who?"

Ellen Watkins is a member of Jubilee Church in Washington, D.C

 

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