Margaret Mitchell’s famous/infamous heroine/villainess (you choose) of “Gone With the Wind,” Scarlett O’Hara, offered two memorable thoughts that she applied to her own circumstance. Scarlett said life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was a woman’s lot. She also acknowledged that it was “a man’s world” and “accepted it as such.” “The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness.”
Today, women more rightly deserve the praise that Scarlett could have never earned or claimed. Increasing numbers of contemporary women live out the observation of James Brown when he sang, “This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be NOTHING without a woman or a girl.”
In Scarlett’s era, it could be said, “War, war, war. This war talk is spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I got so bored I could scream.” In today’s Ukraine, women are not concerned about spoiling all of the fun. Women there are engaged and committed to bringing Putin’s War to as swift an end as possible, ending the current suffering of all Ukrainians, and maintaining the spirit of nationalism that encourages and sustains Ukrainian resolve.
Despite the apparent dangers, at the end of April, American actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees Angelina Jolie visited Ukraine as a witness to the immoral war Russia is prosecuting against its innocent neighbor. Although she did not pick up a gun, Angelina’s presence gave comfort and emotional support to those defending their country. She could have remained in the safety of her home in the United States, but she chose action and went to Kyiv! Thank you, Angelina!
Second in succession to the Office of the President of the United States, is the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Evaluated by friends and adversaries alike as one of the most effective and powerful speakers in the history of the United States, she endures the flame-throwing, blame games and the daily barrage of Republican misrepresentations (lies) as she works to improve our nation for all of our citizens. Like Jolie, Speaker Pelosi could have remained in the comfort and safety of her home. (Were it not for the lesson that the Republicans and their MAGA crew taught us on Jan. 6, 2021, I would also suggest the comfort and safety of her Washington, D.C., office.) Yet, with all of the inherent dangers, Speaker Pelosi led a delegation to Kyiv to give Ukraine the reassurance of the support and solidarity with the United States.
President Biden selected the Hon. Linda Thomas-Greenfield to represent the United States as the ambassador to the United Nations and as our representative on the U.N. Security Council. With grace and adept diplomacy, she clearly expresses the displeasure of our nation in all matters of conflict in Ukraine. Both she and I grew up in Louisiana under humble circumstances, but that didn’t prevent either of us from caring about justice and ethical conduct or preparing ourselves to be engaged in the pursuit of world peace.
Again, I quote Scarlett when she said, “Burdens are for the shoulders strong enough to carry them.” I’m sure Scarlett would be overjoyed to know that women of skill and character no longer have to stand in the shadows of men. We are not just their helpers. We are leaders in every aspect that God has given us the capability of serving.
Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.