Mandela’s (real) 1994 inauguration address

Dear President Trump,

Yesterday in doing some research on Marianne Williamson’s “Our deepest fear….” quote, I looked up Nelson Mandela’s 1994 inauguration address. I already knew he hadn’t used the quote, but I was wondering why the misattribution occurred. I think the closest line to the MW quote is probably “Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves,” and really, that’s not very close. However it happened, it’s a shame his real speech was overshadowed because it eloquently speaks to the systemic issues South Africa needed to face to realize a just society for all.

Here is some of what he said: “Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.” He went on to thank the international representatives who were present and then said: “We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy.” And this: “We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.” I know it’s unusual for me to quote others at length in my letters to you, but I wanted you to read his words and consider that he spoke them nearly 25 years ago in an effort to address not only racial discrimination, but also gender and class oppression.

I was also heartened to see that among his closing words were “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” Mandela was laying out the precious basics we all need individually and that our communities need to prosper.

I realize you may be distracted by having been ‘dissed by the Bushes and your worries over Cohen flipping, but you could take a break from those types of worries and instead worry about how to better the lives of all. That would make for a refreshing change.

May we all be safe from deprivation and suffering.
May we all be happy to liberate everyone.
May we do the hard work of creating a truly healthy civil society.
May we not rest until there is peace for all.

Tracy Simpson

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