Two older friends at Trinity United Methodist told me a few weeks ago that they wish Barbara Jordan were still alive to run for president. They both would love to celebrate the first woman president before they go to God, but not the woman that many of us are being told to support at present. Barbara Jordan or Shirley Chisolm, yes. If you do not know who these women were, please look them up. Here are two places to start. Growing up in Texas, I learned early who Barbara Jordan was. My parents wanted her to be president someday. My mother and I stop to pay our respects at her statue in the Austin airport when I fly there for holidays.
The first presidential election I followed was between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. I was eight years old, and my brother and I had dressed up in bicentennial costumes for the little parade in our small town the summer of 1976, the same month that Barbara Jordan delivered her televised keynote at the Democratic National Convention. This was all a huge, complicated deal in my little mind, as I watched my parents experience nostalgia, skepticism, and resilient hope for a different country. (See the Wikipedia page on the Bicentennial, and look online for more cheesy photos of children dressed in colonial costume.) Read more