Monday, January 03, 2005

Shirley Chisholm, RIP

She died on Sunday at the age of eighty. She was the first black woman elected to Congress. She was also one heck of a fighter for the minorities and women. As she noted herself:

"My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency," she told voters.

Indeed. I love the things that have come out of Shirley Chisholm's mouth. Here are some examples from her 1970 book Unbought and Unbossed:

Congress seems drugged and inert most of the time

Everyone else is represented in Washington by a rich and powerful lobby, it seems. But there is no lobby for the people.

Of my two "handicaps", being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black.

Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.

I don't measure America by its achievement, but by its potential.

We need voices like hers today.