Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Second American Civil War Part 4

I am writing this short series of articles because many people have either forgotten or would prefer to forget the struggle for simple human dignity in the United States. From 1947 , the date the Armed Forces were integrated, to even now the struggle simmered, flamed, and is now beginning to cool. It will be difficult to ever have a perfect calm, but as the generations directly affected by the injustice die then a more rational approach will be taken in judgment. That coolness will be slightly empty because the emotion will be gone and the history will be embalmed.

Today the leadership of black folks still see them as their flock to manage, when in fact some are breaking away as they see their self-interest in conflict with the fossilized likes of Jesse Jackson, Charles Rangel, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, and Julian Bond to name a few. I am not able to judge their internal motivation for keeping their wounds open, and I do know that all of these men suffered the sting of segregation and can’t accept the changes that have been achieved. The can’t forget and they should not forget, but they should work honestly to keep change alive. It is moribund at the moment, and there will be no change as long as they stay on the plantation run by Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, at the rest of the de facto slave holders.

Back to the story, after the race riots tore across the country people began to think about how to mollify the protestors. In 1965 I went to school with black classmates for the first time in my life. They were nervous, we were curious and some of us were hateful in our behavior towards them. This behavior was strictly learned from parents, siblings, and society in general. There were no fights as the nuns and priests enforced a level of civility that made it possible to have classes and a school life.

At about this time the Vietnam War was escalating, this conflict was one that Dr. King protested as unjust. This did not endear him to President Johnson or J. Edgar Hoover, these two leading lights of liberalism who used secret police tactics to spy on Dr. King. Secret wiretaps of his hotel rooms, his home and phones were employed. Mostly without bothering to secure a warrant, these operations were known as Black Bag Jobs. (What is this controversy about George Bush eavesdropping on our enemies about?)

Anyway they tried to ruin his reputation and destroy his credibility, he won the Nobel Prize for Peace; and he deserved it. About this time Cassius Clay changed his name to Mohammed Ali and he too protested the war. He took the stand of a conscientious objector and refused to be drafted. This cost him dearly. The country was at war with it self, which is the point of these articles. Very few of the leaders at that time covered themselves with glory. Millions of young men were drafted and sent to fight for a reason no one quite understood. I went too.

In 1968 a tragedy occurred that still echoes through our lives. Dr. King was assassinated. This event, which I remember well, caused a tremendous flare up. My fellow soldiers were all shocked and dismayed, in those war places white and black depended on each other simply to survive. We were fighting for our lives of course, but also for Dr. King’s right to say or do what ever he wanted (legally of course) and his right not to be murdered. I said earlier that his death propelled the struggle forward, but also began its collapse. It is my belief that had Dr. King lived out his normal span, say to at least 73, the United States would be in far better shape than it is. Dr. King was a statesman, head and shoulders above 90% of the leadership of the USA. His associates were no where near as effective as leaders or even as human beings. They carved out territories for themselves and exploited those they were supposed to help as cynically as any white man. They corrupted the movement.

No comments: