There are days when I wish I was forty years younger, on the cusp of a life as yet to be determined, innocent, naïve, fresh to the ways of the adult world. I never had that opportunity with my history, so I get particularly excited when I run into young activists with passion and exuberance, and even fearlessness. I had that feeling watching Selma last week, particularly while watching John Lewis and James Farmer as they fought amongst themselves and with the older organizers. However, as that film made clear, and as I've learned over those past four decades, there is often great value in the experience and wisdom of age. Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) productively tempered the revolutionary ardor of the organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
An incident recently occurred at Mt. Holyoke College where I wish there had been some wisdom imparted to the students, who acted impetuously and, unfortunately, embarrassed themselves and their cause.