When I was in eighth grade at West Fulton High School in Atlanta, English teacher Miss Laura Byers had us memorize a poem I’ve never forgotten:
God, Give Us Men
God, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands,
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy:
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
and damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
in public duty and in private thinking;
For while the rabble sleeps, with thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
— Josiah G. Holland
This poem, applying to women as well as men, has come back to me many times through the decades. I hope it might give thought and courage to other readers now.