Wednesday, August 31, 2011
You may remember that long before the Libyan Freedom Fighters and the Arab Spring there was the June, 1989, massacre at Tiananmen Square. The Chinese army killed hundreds of unarmed, freedom-seeking students.
Long before Tiananmen Square, I vividly remember the 1963 Birmingham police dogs ferociously tearing at a black boy as well as the 15 Sept 1963 church bombings in the good ole southern USA. Four children died that day: Addie MaeCollins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Denise McNair (11). Doubtlessly unaware, still, they were Freedom Fighters, too, and they did pay the supreme price.
Human Rights it seems are always on the short end of the stick, especially when wealth and land are in the mix. Historians estimate that Georgians, Carolinians, Virginians, and Alabamians forced more than 100,000 Native Americans from their homelands and onto the Trail of Tears following the discovery of gold in the 1830s. The state of Georgia had already declared all laws of the Cherokee Nation null and void after June 1, 1830, and also prohibited Cherokees from conducting tribal business, contracting, testifying against whites in court, or mining for gold. Cherokee leaders successfully challenged Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Count, but President Jackson refused to enforce the Court's decision. Thousands died along the Trail of Tears.
Later, on 29 Dec 1890, at Wounded Knee Creek, the US Army needlessly slaughtered more than 100 women and children out of fear of Native American religious empowerment.
You may be thinking: “Well, all that was in the past. Today we’re more enlightened. We respect the human rights of people.”
In a throwback to the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow era, the state of Alabama has enacted (Sept, 2011) a law that is so inhumane that four Alabama church leaders, an Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop and bishop, have sued to block it on the grounds that it criminalizes acts of Christian compassion, making potential criminals of anyone who may work or live with undocumented immigrants or show them kindness. Why are we tolerating these modern-day atrocities?
It actually gets worse.
Today, led by recently concocted teacup stupidity and old-fashioned religious self-righteousness, the Republican Party is about to plummet the USA into a New Dark Age. Willfully ignorant, the Republican Party teacup people have rewritten our national history to serve their flavor of denial and impose the same-old-same-old ethnic / religious intolerance on the rest of us.
This time, unfortunately, a few teacupers are congressionally empowered. Brash, loud and with nothing personally invested, they are readily squandering our national, hard-won freedoms to remove one black man from office and force the rest of us to bend to their religious dogma.
Only a few years ago, my father’s Army unit fought from Normandy to Germany in continuous combat. By December, 1944, they were freezing in summer uniforms as they helped relieve our surrounded troops at Bastogne. Still, those hardened combat vets were sickened when they helped “liberate” Nazi death camps.
As a child, I remember him screaming in night terrors. Only now, years later, have I begun to understand that perhaps it was more than horrendous combat that he relived each night.
Today, a significant sector of Japanese society denies the WWII atrocities took place at all. And, the same is true about the Holocaust. Likewise, the tea-cup people already have proven that they are willing to risk everything our fathers and mothers worked and fought for just to keep a black man down.
The real question is whether the rest of us are willing to surrender our souls and squander our national heritage by allowing a minority of tea-cup-stupid people to continue on the road toward total economic collapse, unemployment levels which will exceed the Great Depression, and a home foreclosure rate never seen before in the United States. I hope not. The price paid in blood by our fathers and mothers is just too high to stand by and allow that to happen.
There are at least two bright spots.
My point is that there is reason to hope when our elected people actually work for the good of the people instead of their own personal benefit. We must make Congress pull their combined heads out of their rear ends and resolve our nation’s problems. Now.
As it was in 1963 for the Civil Rights Freedom Fighters, our last hope may be one final, massive march on Washington to demand that Congress pay attention to job creation; adopt a housing plan that brings relief for what’s left of the middle class by bringing mortgages into line with depressed housing values; end outrageous, criminal foreclosures; and put the white collar criminal “brokers” in jail for stealing the nation’s wealth.