To me the word radical evokes memories of bare-chested women burning their bras when I was a young girl in the 70s. The word radical evokes falling down stoners rolling in the mud at Woodstock. The word radical evokes memories of that Timothy McVeigh who bombed the Afred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in 1995.
I am certainly nowhere near those examples I listed above, however I was reminded by my better half what the word radical really means. It is derived from the Latin radix, meaning root. From the root. To me it means not embracing the status quo. Without so-called radicals in our history, women wouldn’t be able to vote, Africans would still be shipped in as slaves, and we wouldn’t have the telephone. There would be no planes, trains, or automobiles and the United States wouldn’t even exist were it not for a radical who refused to believe the earth was flat.
Some rather famous people considered radical are: Mark Twain, Malcolm X, Henry Ford, Christopher Columbus, Glenn Beck, Howard Stern, John Muir, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Nader, Gloria Steinem, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rush Limbaugh, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, Franklin Roosevelt, Jane Addams, W.E.B. DuBois, Charlotte Perkins Gilmer, Bill Moyers, Laura Ingraham, Thurgood Marshall, Cesar Chavez, Lech Walesa, Michael Moore, and Ann Coulter. Each of these people has left or is in the process of leaving a legacy behind them. What makes these people considered radical is that they refused to embrace status quo. Some are conservative, some are liberal, but all believe vehemently in their cause.
I admit it here and now. I was wrong. I take back what I wrote the other day about being a radical. If I would be so lucky as to be lumped in with the list of people above, I would be deeply honored. If my opinions, beliefs and desire to see a better Wylie for all citizens makes me a wild-eyed radical, and if wanting to see a prosperous future for our children represents being a radical, then sign me up on the dotted line because I will be in tremendous company.