Point of View Columns

Requiem for a Heavyweight and Hillary and History

Muhammad Ali

The death of Muhammad Ali has had an impact as earth shaking as anything he ever did during his dramatic, illustrious, glamorous, and gloriously seismic life. In his passing last week, Ali brought back to life all of the wonderful and wondrous memories of the living legend that he was – and will always be.

His epic bouts with Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier – the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila – the Olympics and the Golden Gloves – all contributed to the larger than life man who came to be known as G.O.A.T. – The Greatest of All Time. But to speak of Muhammad Ali as a boxer is like referring to Miles Davis as a trumpet player. Ali was larger than life and like Cain, he walked the earth in great and historic strides.

Muhammad Ali was a hero to those who never met him and he was unforgettable to anyone who was actually in his presence. Ali will be mourned. Ali will be missed. Ali will be remembered.

And it has been said so many times, as long as a man is remembered, he never really dies.

Hillary Clinton

When the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, if there was a woman in the room she was serving tea. When the Constitution of the United States was written in the Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, there is no record of a woman having any voice in the deliberations.

Interestingly enough, the first significant appearance of women in public discourse in America is noted in the temperance, suffrage and abolitionist movements. After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, women continued to move the temperance and suffrage movements forward and in the process these issued fueled the great struggles of the latter part of the 19th century right into the early years of the 20th century.

With the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, women gained the right to vote throughout the United States. It should be noted, however, that black women (and black men) were routinely denied the right to vote in all of the states of the former Confederacy until almost a half century later.

And now, 96 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, a woman will be the presidential nominee of a major American political party. Given the various inequities that women in this country still endure, Hillary Clinton’s nomination is not a complete victory for American women, nevertheless it is a victory.

The fact that countries as diverse as Germany, Liberia, Israel, Pakistan, the Philippines,  Jamaica, Brazil, Great Britain and India have all had elected female heads of state before the United States should not diminish the import of Secretary Clinton’s achievement.

And, as was the case when Barack Obama became the first American of African descent ever elected President, Hillary Clinton’s nomination only highlights the fact that even with this historic achievement, the struggle for full equality has not ended.

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3 thoughts on “Requiem for a Heavyweight and Hillary and History

  1. Jim Ruxin says:

    Wally–

    It wouldn’t have hurt you to mention Israel as having a woman leader. Even Cornel West has a few good things to say about that country among the well desrved criticisms. In fact, Golda Meir had policy inclinations far kinder to Palestinians than the current administration there. She even looked a lot like LBJ.

    • Point well taken…please see the new and improved column referencing Israel, Jamaica, Pakistan and should have mentioned the Philippines – thanks for being a regular reader.

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