Love where you live!
I remember sitting, watching thousands of people on the grass and around the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., watching hundreds of people jostling one another around the Lincoln Memorial, around the bank of microphones. I remember sitting and watching as a man named King pushed through the throng and approached those microphones. I listened carefully to what he said and much of it made good sense to me.
A young man, just back from a beginning war in the Southeast, I really didnt understand a lot of the goings on because I had other important things to deal with. Segregation had never had a great impact on me growing up. I had watched Marshals escorting children into schools. I had seen them escorting young adults into colleges. I had watched as police brutalized blacks with clubs, dogs and fire hoses and wondered if the South had become an enclave of Nazi Gestapo and S.A. tactics. I watched Southern politicians say stupid things, things that made no sense to me and I was sure only reflected an inbred hatred based upon poor education and personal stupidity. I had seen separate washrooms and separate drinking fountains in Memphis. I had heard the odd talk, seen newsreels and read papers about this thing called segregation but it just was not a part of my life. I knew a few black guys - they and we referred to them as "Negroes" then - some of which were pals, others acted like asses and I avoided them. But then there were far more "asses" amoungst whites than blacks that I was aware of.
During and after this speech I thought things like, "Uh Oh. Gonna be more riots" and, "If things are so bad there why doesnt the government step in and made the needed corrections?". That was, of course, when I still believed in "government". But, because I had, for me at least, more important things that occupied my daily life, I moved on.
Even in those days I was keenly aware of a things called "CHARACTER". - "attributes that determine a person's moral and ethical actions and reactions". I had had "Character" pounded into me from very early childhood in my home. I never remember thinking about it but I was aware, most of the time, of consequences", of "right and wrong", of "treating the other guy right and expecting the same in return", of what constituted "cheating", how and why to watch what I said when I said it and to whom because of consequences and perceptions. To me this was "Character". Then I watched as politicians did and said things repugnant to me, my understanding of the world. I watched as a President blatantly lied about sex. I watched time and time again as supporters of this President cheered and supported his lies, shouting to the country and the world that it was his, "Private Life". The press joined the fray and told the world that "Character" really had no place in American life style and I stood in wonder at this stupidity.
As I watched man named King talk to these thousands of people the few things I really remembered from his speech were, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their character".
Yesterday, in my travels, I noted a headline on the Union-Tribune. Something about "Character Counts" and I stopped to re-read that headline a couple of times. I was suddenly wrenched back over the years when the Democrat Party and all the press were decrying the concept of "Character" when one of their own was involved in highly questionable or outright illegal activities. Suddenly now, "Character Counts". Why dont I see this in the queues at every Welfare office with seekers of free government handouts? Why dont I hear this in politican speeches? Why dont I hear and see this when reading about guys like Reverend Wright and his Hate America/Hate Whites spewings? Why dont I see this when reading about a president's close associations with terrorists, bombers and murderers? Why didnt I see this following the verdict in Florida? Why didnt I see this when talking about staggering numbers of murders in Chicago? Why am I not seeing this when politicians of one colour are caught doing illegal activities? Why do I hear shouts of love and support for a Mayor of San Diego who blatantly and for years, acted in such a repulsive and abusive manner to a continuing chorus of, "Shhhhh!".
August 28, 1963 was the day when the world heard that Character, not colour counted. Doesnt really seem that that man named King had a great impact of things though. Gone are the lynch mobs - although FIlner would have you believe otherwise - and gone are the burning crosses and hooded thugs. But it would seem Affirmative Action has taken their places in reversing the poles. Where is the "... not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their character"? Was this, were these just pipe dreams? Was he right? One class of people had been written a bad check? Seems perhaps most of the people of this country have been written bad checks for many, many years now.