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“I wish I’d a knowed more people. I’d a loved ‘em all. If I’d a knowed more, I would have loved more.” So speaks Pilate Dead, the captivating character from Toni Morrison’s vital American novel, "Song of Solomon."

Morrison died last week, and we would be enriched to celebrate, understand, and follow Morrison’s vital voice for compassion and love.

Her strangely named character, Pilate, is a constant representative of unconditional, sacrificial love, and she speaks boldly to America today when she makes no distinction between brother, sister, or stranger: “What’s the difference in the way you act toward ‘em,” she asks, “Don’t you have to act the same way to both?” This requires an open mind, compassion, and critically thinking about “every assumption.”

Another character reinforces this metaphorically when he asserts, “Wanna fly, you got to give up the s--t that weighs you down.”

Toni Morrison has passed, but she continues to call America to live an undiminished life and be our better selves.

Paul Olsen,

Bettendorf

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