Wednesday, August 28, 2013

America Marches On

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Tea baggers and the extremist fringe of the Republican Party have recently had a lot for which to be thankful:  George Zimmerman, a Florida vigilante, was acquitted in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, the United States Supreme Court essentially gutted the Voting Rights Act opening the door for many states to immediately impose voting restrictions to keep those odious poor people and minorities away from the polls, and  most Americans, even the insane and/or criminal Americans, are quickly securing the “right” to rush out and buy any type of weapon that strikes their fancy.   Justice Scalia is reportedly even mulling over the notion that the Second Amendment would allow private ownership of rocket launchers.

We, as a nation, are rapidly becoming Ted Nugent’s wet dream – or the personification of the love child of Ayn Rand and John Birch.  It’s a scary landscape, one that would be unbearably daunting if not for the perspective afforded by history.

That perspective was on bold display today as the country celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  It was a time for the sane portion of America to wave a few flags and honor a few heroes of their own.   Three Democratic Presidents were in attendance and addressed the crowd.  The two surviving Republican Presidents, both named Bush, were noticeably absent.

I was able to tune into much of the event during lunch via my local National Public Radio station.  I heard the speeches of Presidents Carter and Clinton in their entirety, and caught a portion of President Obama’s address.  Dr. King’s sister and some of his children also spoke.

All three Presidents were eloquent, but it was Clinton who delivered the sharpest line of the afternoon when he noted, “A great democracy doesn’t make it harder to vote than buy as assault weapon.”  That one sailed right over the tidal pool and out of the ball park!  Jimmy Carter commented on the perspective of history in showing that we have come a long way in the past five decades.  However, as the U.S. Supreme Court, a Florida jury, and several state legislatures have recently proven, we still have a very long way to go. 

Today was a pleasant reprieve from all of the right-wing hate,  It was good to see a whole cadre of civil rights activists being honored by a grateful nation and to know that their bravery in the face of almost constant peril opened doors for so many – doors that are almost taken for granted today.   It was a grand look back and a brief glimpse forward.  We know where we have been, and with the perspective of history, we have a sense of the barriers that still need to be crossed.

Let the baggers spend as much money, time, and energy as they can muster in fighting health care for all, trying to defund public schools, patrolling the borders, painting misspelled protest signs, and cutting eye-holes in bed sheets – America is marching on without them!

(If you haven’t already done so, check out the new “March on Washington” forever stamps currently available at your local post office.)

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