Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More Black and White

Here's some official chatter over the police radios the day of the first attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery via the Edmund Pettus Bridge:

(Quoting from page 44 of Canaan's Edge)
  "There's three more cars of niggers crossing the bridge.  Some white bastards riding with them." 

This from the land of 'State's Rights' and 'We never had no race problem 'til these outside agitators started up.'

A couple hundred cops, 'possemen' and assorted hooligans attacked peaceful marchers with tear gas, clubs and homemade flails made of rubber hose laced with spikes.  All because a group of Negroes had decided to march peacefully from Selma to Montgomery to petition the Governor (George Wallace) for voting rights. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Black and White

I've been doing some heavy reading this summer.  Mostly Taylor Branch's trilogy on America In the King Years.  I finished volume two last night, Pillar of Fire (1963-65).  What stands out as the central theme of the book(s) is the absolutely entrenched racism of southern society in that period.  They start teaching that shit right from the cradle, I guess.  It's the only possible explanation.  The sheer brutality of it, the amazing audacity, the 100% compliance, it just blows the mind.  Groups of Negroes (they weren't Blacks yet) would go out to register to vote and be beaten, harassed, dog-bitten and sometimes even gun-shot and then arrested for 'disturbing the peace.'  Fuck.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Neverending Notion

My latest letter to the editor:
I see once again a letter, Sunday, asserting that the Founding Fathers based our nation on "biblical morality" and rooted our legal system in "biblical values."  (At no point does the writer actually quote the Constitution, or even the Bible.)

The Constitution begins with the phrase "We the People" for a reason.  The Founders were setting up the first constitutional democracy in the modern world.  They drew on many sources and certainly most had knowledge of the Bible and lived among 'religious' people.  However there are no references to 'God' or to 'scripture' and the only time religion is mentioned it is in the context of providing for its independence from government, and government's independence from it.

We the people are entitled to and must responsibly govern ourselves.  Those of us who wish to look to the Bible for guidance or inspiration may do so as may anyone look to any other source.  The Founders based our government on that right and responsibility, not on any single ancient source.