Unlike Governor LePage, my husband, Clif, and I found time in our busy schedules to go to a Martin Luther King Day breakfast yesterday. It was at Sully’s Restaurant in downtown Winthrop, and while I am sorry to say that the food was what might called indifferent, the company and the speaker more than made up for this. At the breakfast, there were many people we knew, whom our friend Joel Johnson would call “the usual suspects,” but we decided to sit at a table where we knew nobody. A good decision! It’s always great to meet new people, and we were certainly among kindred spirits.
At our table, the “getting to know you” small talk soon shifted to movies, in particular to The King’s Speech, featuring Colin Firth. I couldn’t resist saying that while Firth was splendid in The King’s Speech, he would always be Mr. Darcy to me.
“Oh, yes!” came the chorus from the women sitting at our table, along with “Wasn’t he great in Pride and Prejudice?” and “He is so good looking.”
Indeed he is, and I expect he’ll always be Mr. Darcy to many, many women.
The real topic of the breakfast was, of course, much more serious than Colin Firth. It was about modern-day slavery, and the speaker was E. Benjamin Skinner, a journalist who has written for Time magazine and Newsweek International. He’s also written A Crime So Monstrous, a book about modern-day slavery. At the breakfast, Skinner told us that there were more slaves today than ever before, and he very specifically defined slavery: “A slave is a human being who is forced to work through fraud or threat of violence for no pay beyond subsistence.” He also spoke of his experiences interviewing people who were slaves, and his articulate descriptions were moving and sobering.
Copies of A Crime So Monstrous were on sale, and naturally I bought one to add to our groaning bookshelves. It has a foreword by Richard Holbrooke and a back-of-the-book blurb by Bill Clinton. Lucky little Winthrop to have a speaker of such caliber as Benjamin Skinner.
On our afternoon walk, Clif and I discussed Skinner’s talk about slavery and how humans are all too ready to exploit other humans. Profit, greed, power, and lack of empathy all come into play. In our modern times, we think we’ve progressed, and in some ways we have. But in many ways we have not, and until there is a widespread belief in “the rights of man” (and women and children!), and just laws that are enforced, then our progress will be spotty at best. Fitting thoughts for Martin Luther King Day.
In the meantime, I make bread and give it away. This brings me to…
Week two: The Let Them Eat Bread report
This week I gave away three loaves of bread: one to my friend Sybil Baker and two to my daughter Shannon. There is a definite trend here. Shannon seems to be quite the bread recipient. What can I say? She’s my daughter. And in my original post, one of the guidelines specifically stated that it counted to give bread to family. It’ll be interesting to see just how many loaves of bread Shannon receives over the upcoming year. Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking of including a little unofficial rule for myself—someone besides Shannon must receive bread each week.
So far, so good. This month I’ve given away six loaves of bread, and while three have gone to Shannon, three have gone to other people as well.
Let them eat bread!
Addendum: It seems that Governor LePage relented from his previous no-show position on Martin Luther King breakfasts or dinners and that he attended a breakfast in Waterville. Good for him! Too bad he had to make such a fuss about it to begin with.