Is Gay the New Black?

Is Gay the New Black?

© copyright 2013 Betsy L. Angert BeThink

June 27, 2013

Dearest Rachel…

It is me, Betsy. I am writing to say Congratulations to you and all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans.  It has been a great week for all our LBGT brethren. Sadly, it is a little less so for those whose complexion is Black or Brown.  What or who am I kidding? It has been an awful week for America as a whole.  Once again, we have done as we did since the day of our founding; we denied our brothers and sisters equal rights.  I hope you understand that while I too think anytime rights are afforded to an individual or group it is a good time, a time to celebrate, this week I cannot. Indeed, I do not see a day when I will reflect on this Court’s rulings and be ready, willing, and able to rejoice.

Affirmative Action lost.  The inalienable right to cast a ballot for your Representatives, gone!  It was not that either of these laws, in practice, ever brought about equality, but a girl can dream.  I had hope.  Now, I do not.  Today, my heart broken, I can only reflect on the old adage; if my brother is poor or in pain then so too am I.  John Donne spoke for me when he said “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

I am unsure if you are with me Rachel.  I listened to your review of the week and felt confused.  Therefore I ask.  On Thursday, June 27, 2013, you spoke of the angst yourself. You recounted the woe millions of California voters expressed on election night 2008. First there was elation; the first Black man was elected President of the United States.   It seemed we had arrived. It was as you exclaimed. a “civil rights milestone.” People took to the streets and danced.  Corks were popped.  Confetti fell from sky-high windows.  Then, as more ballots were tallied, a dark realization set in.  In California, marriages once declared legal would not be going forward. As you stated, “That whiplash moment, that California, alone, experienced the night 
President Obama was first elected,” was devastating. Perhaps, the man in the video clip you played this Thursday evening said it best for the LBGT community.

“In 2008 when we elected the first African-American 
president, it was a glorious day, but later that night it was a horrible night when the returns for Prop 8 came in saying that we were going to be 
treated as second-class citizens, and we just could not fathom being 
treated like that anymore.”

Therein lies the difference Rachel, one of many that I see.  People of color can fathom being treated like scum.  Granted persons in the LBGT community can too.! That said, the two experiences are not one.  The color of our skin cannot be camouflaged. Sexual orientation is perhaps but a subtle “clue.”  In other words, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders come out of the closet.  Blacks and Browns are more likely to be invited into the [water] closet to clean the mess white persons’ leave behind.  Caucasians can be so cruel, as can those of a certain socio-economic “class.”  I guess anyone can be.

Thus, I ask; do we celebrate our own victories and ignore the victimization of others?  ‘Tis true, we can delight in one while decrying the other.  It is the imbalance I bemoan.  I too, as the millions of others did, expressed elation for the decisions that brought good fortune to the LBGT community. I also cried and cried tears of distress.  For me, the long history of struggles is barely equivalent.  I am forlorn and again befuddled as I reflect on your review of the week.

Oh Rachel, after the aforementioned clip you said,  “Now, this week, we are essentially having the mirror image of that [2008] moment, 
thanks to the Supreme Court. “  Really?  Seriously?  Rachel, for me, what occurred in this, the last week of June is not the image in reverse.  The decision on the Voting Rights Act is, as you also stated in the next sentence, “a sledgehammer to the cornerstone of American civil rights law.”  However, sadly, it has not elicited a similar response.  With the race related rulings we heard silence or worse; endorsement for the now “Supremely” sanctioned divide.

Conservatives did not object. Liberals barely said a word.  States shouted, but in glee.  Loss of Affirmative Action and Voting Rights?  ‘It is as though the country as one said, Oh well.’  Gay rights on the other hand brought out the best in people.  Beginning years ago, Dick Cheney, made it known that he supports gay marriage.  The Democratic elite such as the former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “came out” with her own declarative statement.  Legislators within Grand Ole Party chimed in.  They too were there to support gay marriage.  The reactions to racism are not as strong as we think they might be.  I think of your own response Rachel and say “Wow!”

I was not surprised that white families, the wealthy and powerful did not take up the banner. Here in Florida, when the elderly and well-established citizens were purged from voting rolls few voices were heard.  Certainly States did not complain.  Eliminate the Black and Brown vote? That works well for Republican Governors.  Measures were and are already underway.   The “new prejudice”  persists and is supported. Black and Brown persons are not.  Their  second-class” citizenship is the accepted standard.  Their “forgiveness is just expected.”

Equality? First-Class citizenship?  Rarely. Barely. Quite the contrary.

Oh there are the few who appear to have “made it.”  We might cite President Obama, General Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, or, hmmm? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas?  I wonder. Put any of these in casual clothes, without the accoutrement of an office and might they be stopped and frisked, arrested for Driving-While-Black, or conceivably denied their right to vote? Oh Rachel, for me there is a glaring difference between the fights for rights.

Do you remember the words of the Author, John Howard Griffin, a white man who only occupied a darker skin for a time? I do. “The Negro is treated not even as a second-class citizen but as a tenth-class one.” Granted, times have changed since Griffin penned his words in 1964. Then racism was overt. Today, it is covert and sanctioned by the Highest Court in the Land.   What is it they say Rachel, “The more things change, the more they remain the same”?  That is likely true for those who are born Black, Brown, or on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.

Oh I heard the calls.  Beginning in 2008 white citizens proclaimed that we live in a post-racial society. Black Americans on the other hand knew we did not.  Indeed, in 2011 Researchers affirmed for those whose complexion is dark in color, life is hard. Only two years ago, Black Americans said that it is actually worse than it was a score earlier. As of this week, with the Supreme Court rulings on Affirmative Action and the Voting Rights Act, surely it is no better.  The Court’s action is a clear step backwards. In reality, it is a slap in the face or a whip lashing in the back.

Class and color affords access and is the genesis for our attitudes.  I recall the “Roots” of African-American History and the historical origins of homosexual expression.  The former was borne out of enslavement while the later was an outgrowth of greater freedom in society and the workplace.

Rachel, was it Janis Joplin who said it so well? “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose – Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free.”  I wonder; are we to presume that Blacks are now free? There is little left for them to lose. I reflect on self-identity.

You might recall the original Doll Experiment or the more recent 2009 repeat of the research.  The results were the same. In the “Doll Test,” four plastic, diaper-clad dolls, identical in every respect except for color determine racial perception and preferences amongst children.  Regardless of the decade, black children between the ages of three and seven, responded in-kind. Almost all of the children readily identified the race of the dolls. Even the young see color.  When asked which they preferred, the majority selected the white doll and attributed positive characteristics to it. Indeed, the consensus was Black dolls were “bad.”  White dolls are far better.  That is what we teach and affirm through Supreme Court rulings.  Sad; but true.

“Second-class citizenship.”  Children of color know it well, and likely, their children will too.

Bigotry is common, all too common, as are expressions of it.  Therein lie the similarities between the Gay Rights and Black Civil Rights Movements.   Nonetheless, the contrast is stark.   As millions noted, the realization of Gay Rights came quickly.  The Civil Rights Movement, on the other hand,  is riddled with detours, deterrents, disillusionment, and disinvestment. Discrimination never realizes deliverance.  After centuries of sanctioned enslavement, The Emancipation Proclamation, gave way to a failed Reconstruction and another ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson. the landmark Supreme Court decision that held that racial segregation was constitutional. We had the Brown versus Board of Education decision and The Great Society legislation.  Future rulings resulted in their ultimate demise.  The Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and Parents v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson returned the dictum, white is again right.

We saw the Voting Rights Act come into being only to be threatened at every turn. Today, well that “right” is lost and Dick Cheney’s endorsement of the  “more civil union [sic]” is nowhere to be found. This essential democratic right is again, and again denied.  We might guess who might be coming to dinner, but we must know that even if it were the first Black American President, he may not be welcome.

Indeed Rachel as we celebrate the rights awarded to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender let us also ask ourselves what is the State of the Union? What if Barack Obama were born today?  Eighteen years from now will a young Barack have the opportunity to attend a college, and were he to run for President, would he himself be allowed to vote? What bell will toll in the next score, and will it toll for thee?

References and Resources…

Progress and The Power of a Plan

copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or

Inherent within each of us is conflict.  Generally speaking, we think growth is good.  Progress is a sign of achievement.  As George Bernard Shaw so aptly articulated, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Indeed, politically, at one time or another, persons within each Party have embraced the label, “Progressives.”  Even the most entrepreneurial embolden the idea of Progress. Goldman-Sachs boldly bolsters, Progress is everyone’s business.”  However, while we glorify growth, we disdain it.  Most of us look back and think, “Those were the days.”

The good ole days are commonly defined as “when we were young.” It might have been the 1930s, 1940s; the fifties were fine!  In earlier eras, schools were vehicles for success.  Now, these same institutions are seen and scored as failures.  Teachers were principled. Today, throughout the news we read, educators are perverse.  Our children come home and tell tales that affirm what adults have come to believe is true; teachers are bad! Public education is worse.  Students and parents surmise, home schools or private learning centers would better serve their needs. Cyber classes too must be an option.  Online learning tailors a lesson, much more so than a unionized teacher would. The people want Choice!

There is one consensus; tests are good. Accountability is the gold standard.  Current conventional wisdom counters what was thought to be exceptional, in the nineteen sixties.  Decades ago, those under thirty and even their elders changed the world for the “greater good.”  The baby boomers were beautiful or were they bad…bad for the country and worse for businesses?  

Whatever the point of view, it is clear the revolutionaries transformed the conversation in ways that irrevocably challenged conventions.  Even our nation’s President, in those years pursued policies that reeked of progress. “The Great Society” brought with it the Elementary and Secondary Act.  There was a War on Poverty” underway.  However, some at the top thought such a battle might topple Free Enterprise.

Big Businesses did not necessarily embrace the evolution.  People in power particularly, took note.  Tycoons and their corporate attorneys saw the “60s revolution” as a threat.  One brave company soldier devised a plan to take the country back.  His name? Lewis F. Powell. His resolve, Infiltrate America’s campuses.  

The man soon to be appointed to the Supreme Court saw the dichotomy that exists within us all.  Change?  Is growth good or bad? Is “Progress everyone’s business” or is advancement only favorable when it serves the few?  Do we characterize change in innocuous ways, and simply say, “The times they are a changin'” or do we take action?  Lewis F. Powell put pen to paper; he presented what he envisioned as a better plan, and perhaps it was.  If better is defined by policy and principles that endure and become deeply ingrained in the fabric of society, then The Powell Memo is phenomenal. Justice Powell found the keys that open all hearts, “freedom and choice.”

As Lewis Powell observed, few among us could argue against the right to choose. Prominent Democrats, disconnected from the damage done to public education, advocate for Charter schools. Vociferous Republicans vote for vouchers.  Independents invest in home schools.  Parents persuaded by corporate campaigns frequently succumb.  Moms and Dads pull the parent-trigger.  Only belatedly do people learn that Charters, which pass for public schools, are not.  Vouchers validate separate, but equal. While several do, some home-schools may not satisfy a child’s need for socialization.  Most significantly, regardless of which of these paths we choose, there is a chance that democratization will be lost.  

The question we each must ask ourselves is which is more important to us, personal freedom or the freedom we share as a nation?  When we think only of our own offspring what do we reap and what will society sow? Thomas Jefferson offered his assessment…

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

Might freedom and choice present another conundrum, an inner conflict of sorts?  America’s foundation is found in freedom.  The three most significant documents in our history are often referred to as the “Freedom Documents -the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  The question is what freedoms we choose, or how we choose to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Is our personal freedom more important to us than the freedoms we share as a nation?  

Not surprisingly, in the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson thought it best to provide freedoms for the common good, the commonweal, and common citizens, rich and poor.  With his entrance into the Oval Office the vision of “The Great Society” was born. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as part of the “War on Poverty” brought together what can be a conflict within us, our love for the past and desire to progress. As President Johnson reflected as he signed the Bill into law, “I felt a very strong desire to go back to the beginnings of my own education-to be reminded and to remind others of that magic time when the world of learning began to open before our eyes.

The assertion was an affirmation. Growth is good.  We can progress and still preserve what we loved in the past.  Problem arises when powerful people, Philanthropists, people with the ear of politicians, policymakers, and pundits disagree with this declaration.

That is what occurred in 1971.  Industrialist and Attorney,Powell was outraged.  He thought the laws and the logic as liberal poppycock. More so, the Barrister saw the changes as an attack, an affront. An assault on Free enterprise. Lewis Powell communicated his concerns and composed his clarion call, a blueprint for marketers.  He titled it, A Confidential Memorandum, Attack on Free Enterprise System.  Powell purported…

Dimensions of Attack

“…what now concerns us is quite new in the history of America. We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts.

Sources of the Attack

The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history. But they remain a small minority, and are not yet the principal cause for concern.

The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians.”

Chief Executive Officers, and the esteemed fellows within the United States Chamber of Commerce, all agreed.  Each Entrepreneur saw the source of our evolutionary evils as respectable, but wrong.  

Academics teach. Clergy preach.  Intellectuals invoke.  Artists, Journalists, and Scientist evoke.  The Media is the Message. These influential individuals whom, according to the then corporate Attorney, Powell changed the conversation for the worse, needed to be stopped.  To convert the perceived Attack on Free Enterprise; images needed to be changed.

An honorable profession, teaching, needed to be seen as subversive, if the marketers were to be successful.  To convert the conversation, Conservatives had to be seen as intellectuals. Traditional theories need to be floated and substantiated.  Research would be done in the College of Right Thought.  The clergy and cultural elite too must see the light.  Conservative dictums must dominate.  After all, Powell proclaimed.

“…Those who eschew the mainstream of the system often remain in key positions of influence where they mold public opinion and often shape governmental action. In many instances, these “intellectuals” end up in regulatory agencies or governmental departments with large authority over the business system they do not believe in…

‘We, the US Chamber of Commerce, companies and corporations  must make believers out of detractors, convert our critics, win over naysayers and we will’  Tycoons had the power to move masses. Powell only told them that they needed to use what was at their disposal.  US Steel, GE, GM, Phillips Petroleum, 3M, Amway, American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and Columbia Broadcasting Services (CBS) had easily access to the people.  Moms, Dads, and the young ones invited these industries in daily..indeed, in every minute of the day.

We turn on  “Televisions.” Tune into the radio. Read periodicals. “The Scholarly Journals.” “Books, Paperbacks and Pamphlets.” “Paid Advertisements.” Lewis Powell explained, these are our tools.  Our techniques need only be honed.  Professional public relations firms were already employed by the agencies.  Change emphasis within a message and audiences will be moved.

Repeat the results of partisan reseacrh often enough and the pubic too will recite the claims.  Teachers are bad. Public schools are failures.  Intellectusls comprise a “socialist cadre.” “Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries…would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed.”  Revolutionaries are educated in public schools.

Thus it is so.  For four plus decades now, the American people see no conflict.  We, the people were changed as was the way in which we speak.  Growth for  Free Enterprise is good.  Public Education and Educators are perverse. Progress is a sign of achievement. Businesses and Lewis F. Powell proved this.  If we have a plan and plod away patiently, we can realize a success that lasts longer than a decade.  Perhaps, we, the people can revive The Great Society, Rebuild the American Dream, Restore the principles within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  Today, the question is, do we, each one of us feel the strong desire Lyndon B. Johnson did…“to go back to the beginnings of [our]  own education-to be reminded and to remind others of that magic time when the world of learning began to open before our eyes.”

Please let us Save Our Schools!  Let us be On the March to preserve and Transform Public Education.

“I Have a Dream”

Martin Luther King “I have a dream

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

Today, while not the actual anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior’s birth date, is the occasion on which we commemorate the man who reminded all of us of our greatness.  Reverend King reflected; we are human beings.  When we are united, we can, and will accomplish grand feats.  We can overcome injustice, hatred, and abuses of a perceived power.  As a country, we need not continue on the path of prejudice.  A dream of opportunity for all can be realized if we work to right the wrongs of the past that, at the time of his speech, and today, still live.  In front of hundreds of thousands, Doctor Martin Luther King Junior cried out for an ethical, economic, and emotional equity.

The revered Reverend recounted a history that in nineteen hundred and sixty three haunted humanity.  In a nation founded on liberty and justice for all, for centuries, men, women, and children rose up on the back of slaves.  He recalled the Emancipation Proclamation, that was intended to set Black people free.  As Doctor King stood in the symbolic shadow of a President he characterized as a great American, Abraham Lincoln he reflected on the doctrine meant to end the discrimination that allows for such captivity.  There in Washington District of Columbia, on that hot August day, Martin Luther King spoke of his dream, and a promise not yet fulfilled.

The pledge, a former President committed to, was then, five score years after it was avowed, not honored.  Late in the twentieth century, Reverend King had seen in the streets of Alabama, understood, on the curvaceous slopes of California, on the red hills of Georgia, on every mound and molehill of Mississippi, in the Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, and on mighty mountains of New York, freedom had not rung for Black Americans.

Hence, this son, grandson of a Pastor knew; he, his Black brothers, sisters,  and all people could no longer remain silent,  Doctor King worked towards an end to segregation.  He endeavored to achieve enactments of Civil Rights laws.  He helped create a coalition of conscience.  The Reverend inspired many.  Yet, he felt a need to do more.  He had a dream.

On this summer day, unexpectedly, and advised against such high-minded rhetoric  Martin Luther King could not restrain himself.  He felt “the fierce urgency of now.”  Thus, he mounted the platform, built on the backs of his ancestors, slaves, and revealed a reality that for too long was not mentioned publicly.  The Reverend stood strong and spoke for the sons of former slaves, and their son, all of whom were stationed, by virtue of their race in an invisible bondage.  King proclaimed what these men, women, and children could not say; yet, what all knew to be true.  Racial discrimination, in the land of the free and home of the brave, flourished.  

On August 28, 1963, after years of nonviolent protest, ample requests for racial equality, a cessation to prejudice, “Martin,” as those close to him called him, addressed an audience of many colors.  He acknowledged, the veracity, that we, as people, are one.  Humans, every one, are joined to the other.  As he looked out onto the Washington Mall, Civil Rights leader King recognized that some, whose skin was not dark, who may not have experienced the bigotry their brethren had, still understood the dream as he did.  

We must work together.  On that afternoon, many persons whose complexion was pink and pale, expressed they were willing.  “(W)hite brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.  They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

Yet, now, two score and three years anon, as a nation, we have yet to fully honor the promissory note Abraham Lincoln bestowed upon our Black brothers and sisters.  The check Martin Luther King Junior referred to as “bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds” is not secured.  

Granted we have made progress, slight and slow.  There is still much to be done.  Tomorrow, we hope to see a beginning.  The first Black President will be sworn into office.  An African-American family will reside in the White House.  The Obama’s inspired Americans who yearn to believe that “Yes we can!”

Yet, let us not forget, one Black man, and his relations cannot, and will not, fulfill Martin Luther King’s dream.  If all men are to reach the Mountain Top, we must climb together, in every moment.  Obstacles cannot be forded by the eloquent words of our founders.  Nor could Doctor King conquer the invisible inequity that permeated a prejudice populace then.  Today, Barack Obama will not have the power to prohibit intolerance; nor can he do more than advocate for acceptance.

Change does not come from external forces.  Only we can choose to believe, as Doctor Martin Luther King did.  “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.  This is our hope,” his, yours, and mine.

Let us make our dreams come true.  Let freedom ring!  “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last!  thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Please peruse the full text of this momentous, memorable speech.  Let the words wash over you.  Breathe them in.  Let us begin to fulfill a dream too long denied.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check – a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.

This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Fear Factor

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

Originally Published July 13, 2008 [and perhaps, no less relevant today]

Someone once described courage as not never being afraid, but going on in spite of the fear. As a nation and as elected officials we seem to be running dangerously low on courage. Oh we have the tough talk down, we have the posturing, but do we really have true courage? Since 9/11 when at least 2,985 people died from the terrorists attacks I think that what has been lost in all the hype is some perspective. While this was surely a tragedy, the population of the United States in the year 2001 was somewhere around 290 million people. Based on those numbers the terrorist attacks killed less than .02% of the population, yet since the attack we have responded by invading sovereign nations, torturing our fellow human beings, and gutting our Constitutional protections.

We currently have a sitting President with plummeting approval ratings in the last year of his failed presidency and yet he is still able to bully a frightened Democratic Congress still fearful of the “national security” question in the upcoming election. This President should not be able to get even universal health care passed at this point. But when courage is needed in the face of not only terrorism, but also tyranny, once again our elected officials can’t seem to find any. Because of these fears, Democrats have caved on a number of issues trying to appear “tough” on terrorism. My question is what have we gained the last eight years with warrior sheep Bush in the White House being tough on terrorism? We must as a nation begin to demonstrate real courage by not allowing what the terrorists couldn’t take away to be taken away by the fear of terrorists.

Wiretapping orders approved by secret orders under the previous version of the surveillance law were set to begin expiring in August unless Congress acted. Heading into their political convention in Denver next month and on to the November Congressional elections, many Democrats were wary of handing the Republicans a potent political weapon.

The issue put Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. He had long opposed giving legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in the N.S.A.’s wiretapping program, even threatening a filibuster during his run for the nomination. But on Wednesday, he ended up voting for what he called “an improved but imperfect bill” after backing a failed attempt earlier in the day to strip the immunity provision from the bill through an amendment. NY Times

It is a sad day when even the presumptive nominee of the opposition party feels compelled by political expediency to succumb to the political reality that is now America. The thing that I can not understand is how can we as a nation ever expect unity when we can’t even look at the same information and agree on what we are seeing. It’s like looking at a man being lynched and someone calling it a suicide. We as the governed of this country must begin to exert some courage of our own and start demanding an end to this childish bickering and obstructionism. It is time for some truth and honesty about what is going on in the name of freedom.

If we continue to allow our freedoms to be eroded then the terrorists will have created another Tet offensive. In the Tet offensive in Vietnam the Vietcong engaged in an all out offensive throughout the South in an effort to demonstrate that no area was safe from their reach. While the offensive was a military disaster it was a political windfall for the Vietcong. It was the turning point of the war for many Americans because it showed the disconnect from what the government was saying and the reality on the ground. Do you think it mattered to the Vietcong that it was a political decision to leave their country and not a military victory?

In many ways we are encountering the same thing today with the war on terror. If we lose our freedoms then the terrorists have won. It won’t matter that it wasn’t a military victory, they don’t have the numbers or technology to accomplish a military victory. They will have won in the sense that we will live in a constant state of terror and we will no longer have the rights we are suppose to be fighting for. They will care less if our rights were taken by a jihad or loss to a fear mongering political class.

The real courage will not be found in Washington, they have proven over and over that many of them lack the courage of their convictions or they have no convictions. No my friends the courage must come from the people. Just as with the Tet offensive it was the grassroots movement that turned the tide against the war. It wasn’t the “dirty hippies” but just everyday folks saying enough was enough. They demonstrated the courage that was missing in Washington. They were willing to take to the streets to reclaim the idea of “government by the people”. We have never needed courage in this country more than we do now. Today we face the lost of our freedoms in the name of saving them.

Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.

~ Margaret Chase Smith

Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence.

~ Henri Frederic Amiel

Power to the People

Paul Kane.  Copyright 2008.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

All power to the people.  A nation founded on the principle of the people and for the people must never forget to whom the final power in the nation belongs.

Justice William Douglas in a dissenting opinion in Branzburg

Two principles which follow from this understanding of the First Amendment are at stake here. One is that the people, the ultimate governors, must have absolute freedom of, and therefore privacy of, their individual opinions and beliefs regardless of how suspect or strange they may appear to others.  Ancillary to that principle is the conclusion that an individual must also have absolute privacy over whatever information he may generate in the course of testing his opinions and beliefs.

The people who govern are often far removed from the cabals that threaten the regime; the people are often remote from the sources of truth even though they live in the city where the forces that would undermine society operate. The function of the press is to explore and investigate events, inform the people what is going on, and to expose the harmful as well as the good influences at work. There is no higher function performed under our constitutional regime. Its performance means that the press is often engaged in projects that bring anxiety or even fear to the bureaucracies, departments, or officials of government. The whole weight of government is therefore often brought to bear against a paper or a reporter.

As the years pass the power of government becomes more and more pervasive. It is a power to suffocate both people and causes. Those in power, whatever their politics, want only to perpetuate it. Now that the fences of the law and the tradition that has protected the press are broken down, the people are the victims. The First Amendment, as I read it, was designed precisely to prevent that tragedy.

The ruling applied in its specifics to the case of a reporter who chose not to share his knowledge with the courts on the basis of journalistic privilege.  The court ruled against journalists in general and left them with two choices–share their information or proceed to jail.  The ruling extends these days to most of public discourse.

The ongoing limitation of the First Amendment and its guarantees of free speech continue to this day.  Every person speaking out in the public realm is in danger these days of arrest or harassment by an administration bent on keeping power to itself.  “Free Speech” zones are arranged in a manner that keeps the President from seeing any measure of protest.  T-shirts and signs opposing the government are banned in may public places these days.

Our freedoms are being eroded day by day as out politicians fall prey to the temptations generated by power.  The people of this nation are awakening slowly to the facts.  Like the figure in the drawing, We the People are all powerful if we stand united in response to the ills visited upon us by our government.  Politicians hold their elected seats at our discretion.  They are merely seat warmers holding power at the discretion of the people.

Today we must work harder than ever to restore our nation and to take back our Constitutional rights.  Together, We the People, can stop the runaway train that is the Bush administration.  We will in the end win out if we stand for what is right.  The battle will not be easy nor will it be short but the importance of staying the course and fighting for a return to a nation of liberty and justice for all is too important to veer away.

Gore Vidal Speaks on the Lost American Republic

Henry Rollins Interviews Gore Vidal part 1 (IFC)

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

May I introduce Gore Vidal.  You may be familiar with the work of this “novelist, essayist, playwright, and provocateur whose career has spanned six decades,” or you may only recognize the name.  I invite you sit down for a moment, make yourself comfortable and absorb the words of this master.  Perhaps his words will inspire you, inflame your sensibility, or spur an interest.  It is unlikely the statement Gore Vidal shares will merely wash over you.  Mister Vidal speaks of the life we live as citizens of the United States of America.  He addresses our freedoms or lack of these and he question what we the people accept as our truth.

In recent years, he [Gore Vidal] has waged a continual war on those who would attempt to diminish freedom.  In “Shredding the Bill of Rights,” for example, he says: “It has always been a mark of American freedom that unlike countries under constant Napoleonic surveillance, we are not obliged to carry identification to show to curious officials and pushy police.  But now, due to Terrorism, every one of us is stopped at airports and obliged to show an ID which must include a mug shot (something, as Allah knows, no terrorist would ever dare fake).”  As usual, his ability to say what everyone secretly knows and to make it unsettling without worrying about the implications, for himself or his reputation, is a particular gift.  This habit has won him many admirers and numerous enemies over the years.

In this two part interview with Henry Rollins of the Independent Film Channel, you will hear of a bit of the Vidal flare.  Author and visionary, Gore Vidal expresses his concerns for the state of the union.  He muses the republic is lost.  Writer Vidal warns us there is a price to pay for the actions of George W. Bush.  Perchance, America understands this now.  The cost of a Bush Presidency is and has been quite high.

Some may say Mister Vidal is more cynical now than he was in an earlier dialogue in March 2003.  Others think for decades, Vidal has been a prophet.  It seems for years, he was certain, there was trouble in paradise.  Four years earlier, when Journalist Mark Davis asked the author to reflect on the foundations of freedom and liberty Mister Vidal offered a tale of woe.

Mark Davis: Over the past 40 years or so, you’ve written about the undermining of the foundations of the constitution –liberty, human rights, free speech.  Indeed, you’ve probably damned every administration throughout that period on that score.  Is George Bush really any worse?

Gore Vidal: No, he certainly is worse.  We’ve never had a kind of reckless one who may believe –and there’s a whole theory now that he’s inspired by love of Our Lord –that he is an apocalyptic Christian who’ll be going to Heaven while the rest of us go to blazes.  I hope that isn’t the case.  I hope that’s exaggeration.  No.  We’ve had…the problem began when we got the empire, which was brilliantly done, in the most Machiavellian –and I mean that in the best sense of the word –way by Franklin Roosevelt.

With the winning of World War II, we were everywhere on Earth our troops and our economy was number one.  Europe was ruined.  And from that, then in 1950, the great problem began when Harry Truman decided to militarise the economy, maintain a vast military establishment in every corner of the Earth.

Meanwhile, denying money to schools but really to the infrastructure of the nation.  So, we have been at war steadily since 1950.  I did a…one of my little pamphlets was ‘A Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace’ –how that worked.  I mean, we’ve gone everywhere –we have the Enemy of the Month Club.  One month, it’s Noriega –king of drugs.  Another one, it’s Gaddafi.  We hated his eyeliner or something and killed his daughter.  We moved from one enemy to another and the press, the media, has never been more disgusting.  I don’t know why, but there are very few voices that are speaking out publicly.

The censorship here is so tight in all of the newspapers and particularly in network television.  So, nobody’s getting the facts.  I mean, I spend part of the year in Italy and really, basically, what I find out I find out from European journalists who actually will go to Iraq, which our people cannot do or will not do, and are certainly not admired for doing so.  We are in a kind of bubble of ignorance about what is really going on.

In August 2007, Gore Vidal will do as he has always done; he will try to enlighten an expectant or perhaps, more accurately, an apathetic public.  As novelist, playwright, and essayist, Vidal does this in his writing, he speaks to us, or attempts to.

Throughout Vidal’s novels, certain themes recur: His belief that America is an imperial nation run by a small group of powerful corporate and political insiders; the loss of our ideal of a democratic Republic where the people actually have some influence on their government; his assertion that “homosexual” is an adjective that describes behavior and not a noun that describes a type of person because there is “no such thing as a homosexual,” the notion having been created by psychiatrists who wanted to demonize the naturalness of same-sex relations; and his virulent atheism and perpetual scorning of the “Sky God” of organized religions, which has led some to believe that Vidal is anti-Semitic. His rhetoric may sound that way if taken out of context, but his criticism of Christianity can often be just as harsh.

A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.
~ Gore Vidal

Decades ago, Vidal asserted that “the novel is dead,” meaning that the audience for the novel as a serious, influential art form is dead, replaced in post-war America by movies, television and the whole of popular culture.  That’s why he seems to have no interest in writing contemporary novels of introspection like so many of his peers whose works generally receive higher praise from the liteary establishment (which Vidal has called “the hacks of Academe”).  He prefers instead to explore history in his novels or to invent worlds of his own delight.

It is not enough to succeed.  Others must fail.
~ Gore Vidal

But perhaps the most Vidalian assertion that one can cite is a statement he made in a 1972 magazine interview.  “There is not one human problem that could not be solved,” said Vidal, “if people would simply do as I advise.”  So for more than 50 years now, he has advised us about politics, history, culture and the importance of separating the public from the private, leaving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to freedom what is rightfully ours.

Gore Vidal may not be your chosen source for enlightenment; nonetheless, I think this man, a fellow some title “American’s last small-r republican” has much to say of import on many topics.  I offer these presentations for your review and thoughtful consideration.  I invite your analysis.  Please share what you believe and experience.

The Henry Rollins Show and the Independent Film Channel make this copyrighted material available in an efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, as well as all else that concerns Americans and other inhabitants of this planet.

Henry Rollins Interviews Gore Vidal part 2 (IFC)

Gore Vidal and His Visions . . .

  • Gore Vidal.  By Jay Parini.  Public Broadcasting Services.
  • The Erosion of the American Dream, It’s Time to Take Action Against Our Wars on the Rest of the World.  By Gore Vidal.  Transcript of Gore Vidal, March 12 interview on Dateline, SBS TV Australia.  Counter Punch. March 14, 2003
  • Gore Vidal Index.
  • Gore (Eugene Luther) Vidal (1925-)  Book and Writers.
  • The Last defender of the American Republic. LA Weekly. July 3, 2002
  • The Henry Rollins Show.
  • Independent Film Channel
  • “What to the American Slave is Your Fourth of July?” Black America Grieves

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    I, as a white person mourn on this day, for every man and woman Black, white, brown, red, or yellow are my brethren.  I feel the pain of all those that have gone before me.  My heart aches most for those whose flesh is darkest.  It seems, try as they might Afro-Americans can never escape the bondage, the bigotry that enslaves them.  The color of their skin shades their every encounter.  I recognize that only days ago, in this duplicitous land founded on the principles of freedom and justice for all, segregation was again endorsed by the highest Court in the country.  The Supreme Court ruled “Schools can’t use race to assign students.” History demonstrates, left to their own devices whites will not desegregate.

    On this Independence Day, I grieve.  I do not celebrate.  I will not shop with abandon.  Nor will I partake in viewing firework displays.  A pleasurable picnic on this date seems disingenuous. The truth of what is in America is a burden I bear.  I ponder the present, and I pronounce; on this Independence Day, all Americans are not free.

    Today, the streets of these United States, are not paved in gold.  Opportunities are not available to all.  Those whose flesh is white are not pure and principled, although they may think themselves to be.

    With one hand, whites extend an invitation to share in the delight of liberty.  With the other, they cast the call aside. 

    African-Americans, those brought to the shores of this independent nation, and their progeny do not profit from a fight for freedom.  Glory was not and is not given to our slave soldiers or their offspring. Our Black brothers and sisters serve this nation; however, few reap the rewards of freedom.

    Granted some scant number of African-Americans have done well.  White persons witness the success of the few Blacks and claim these illustrate the norm.  However, they do not.  Nonetheless, many of our Americans of African decent, are mired in misery.

    White Americans may say this is not so.  They may argue Brown versus Board of Education was a milestone that benefits millions.  Yet, that law, according to Justice Stephen Breyer was reversed on June 28, 2007.  Speaking on the decision Parents Involved In Community Schools versus Seattle School District Number 1 this Supreme Court jurist stated

    In his written opinion, Justice Breyer said the decision was a “radical” step away from settled law and would strip local communities of the tools they need, and have used for many years, to prevent resegregation of their public schools. Predicting that the ruling would substitute for present calm a disruptive round of race-related litigation, he said, This is a decision that the court and the nation will come to regret.

    Caucasian citizens contend Affirmative Action laws righted the centuries of wrongdoing.  Yet, dark-skinned Americans dispute this assertion.  Whites work to rescind these laws.

    I would hope no one would think the Voters Rights Act is evidence that Blacks people have equal rights in America.  Any Bill that must be revisited and renewed regularly, does not provide for the people it professes to serve.  I believe it shameful that in the land of the free, Black citizens were not given the right to vote without restrictions until 1965!  To think that years later this law was threatened.  I have no words for such an injustice.  I can only ruminate.  As we “celebrate” this day of independence we must ask, are all our people free.

    While light skin lovelies think all is well; we now live in a colorblind society, down deep, they know that is not true.

    Ask a person of pale complexion to drive to the area of town known as the Black ghetto, or the slums.  Then you will witness an unspoken acknowledgement, independence, freedom, and justice were not afforded to Black Americans.

    Years ago, I was teaching a summer class at a major University.  The esteemed educational institution is located in so-called liberal Southern California. Only seven students enrolled.  The learning environment was ideal.  Discussions were deep and endless.  During the course of this seminar, we spoke of graffiti, and the related art and history of tagging.  We also chatted about what is considered a historic monument, the Watts Towers.

    In my youth, while living thousands of miles from Los Angeles and its surrounding cities, I saw many a slide and photograph of this structure.  I marveled as I observed the 17 separate sculptural pieces built by hand on a residential lot, owned by immigrant Simon Rodia.  Mister Rodia was, for me, an artist to admire.  Upon moving to the area, I immediately sought out this edifice.

    Frequently, in my first year as a California resident, I drove to Watts.  I toured the Towers.  I rambled around the park and the surrounding neighborhood.  I delighted in the experience.  I mentioned this to the adult students I sat with.  Then one afternoon, the group requested we plan a field trip.  “Let us travel together and explore Rodia’s masterpiece.?  I asked if they were sure they wanted to see this site.  None hesitated.  Each expressed their excitement.  I made the arrangements.

    Realistically, I could not commute with the others.  I was teaching at another University hours before our meeting.  That campus was far from the other.  Therefore, I needed to drive alone.  The women carpooled.

    The day was a joy.  The students were thrilled.  We befriended our guide, took photographs, and roamed the grounds for hours.  We saw more than merely the Towers.  We had fun.

    Upon meeting again in class, I learned what I had not imagined.  These seven young women were fearful prior to our trek.  Driving in the inner city was a novel experience for each of them.  Two women of Mexican heritage and the rest of European ancestry never dared drive on the streets of Watts before.  The Compton area, in their minds was a Black compound.  South Central was not on their maps.

    Apparently, even the parents of a few of these ladies thought this travel was not wise.  One father re-arranged his day so that he could “secretly” supervise his daughter?s descent into what he thought was certain oblivion.

    It was not; nevertheless, in America Blacks are not considered as whites.  They are purposely placed in separate enclaves.  The few that “make it out” do so with dollars not easily acquired.

    In our nation, where people are “created equal” and “all men are free,” Black men between the ages of 16 and 24 are more than twice as likely than young white men to be out of school and out of work (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1997)

  • In 1999, median family income for Black Americans was still only $31,778, compared to $51,244 for Whites.

  • From 1989 to 1998, Black American middle class families logged an average of 4,278 hours of work per year almost 500 more hours per year than White families.
  • In 1999, unemployment for Black Americans was 8%, compared to 3.7% for Whites. 
  • Fewer than half (46%) of Black American households own their own homes, compared to the national average of 72% (Changing America, 1999).
  • Black American men earn 71 cents for every dollar earned by their White counterparts.
  • Unemployment rates for Black American youths are three times higher than the national average.
  • Over six million Black children (62%) live in single-parent households (U.S. Census Bureau, 1999).
  • Black children do not receive an equal education.

    Research demonstrates that access to quality teaching is one of the most significant factors in improving student achievement and closing the achievement gap.  Yet, poor and minority children have significantly less access to quality teaching.
  • Schools with the highest percentages of minority, limited-English proficient and low-income students are more likely to employ beginning teachers than those with the lowest percentage of minority, limited-English proficient and low-income students.
  • A significant body of research also has found that another indicator of teacher quality in middle and high school is whether teachers majored in the field in which they are teaching.

    Here again, gaps are profound. 

    Classes in high-poverty schools are 77 percent more likely to be assigned to an out-of-field teacher than are classes in low-poverty schools.  Classes in majority nonwhite schools are over 40 percent more likely to be assigned to an out of-field teacher than those in mostly White schools.

  • Level of academic attainment is another traditional indicator of teacher quality, and, again, teachers with master’s degrees are less likely to teach in high-minority, low-income schools than they are to teach in high-income, low-minority schools.
  • Blacks in America do not have equal opportunities.  The were not awarded the independence whites were in 1776.  Even centuries later, individuals with dark complexion struggle to survive.  Many live a life of poverty.

  • Nearly 1 out of every 4 Black Americans (24%) lives in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).

  • 3.5 million Black children (31%) live below the poverty level (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).
  • Nine out of every ten Black Americans who reach age 75 spend at least one of their adult years in poverty (Cornell University, Washington University, 1999). 
  • The poverty rate for Black Americans is three times the rate for White Americans (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000)
  • The Black experience in the United States of America is not one to be celebrated.  For most, if not all, Afro-Americans in this nation can recall stories, personal anecdotes that affirm they are not free.  Independence was not won nor was it awarded to them.  Thousands of Blacks fought for freedom in Revolutionary War. Remember, among the first persons shot in the name of freedom from the oppressive powers of King George, of England was Crispus Attucks.

    A stranger to Boston, he was leading a march against the Townshend Acts when the killing occurred.

    Yet, Attucks and those Americans of African heritage that followed him did not realize the fruits of freedom.  The Civil War, a battle fought to end slavery only served to enslave Black Americans in a more subtle manner. Afro-Americans are arguably not truly free in 2007.  Racial discrimination is rampant in the USA.

    Frederick Douglass in 1852, delivered a speech that might be aptly delivered today.

    “What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?

    “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.  Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.  For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.  We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.  The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.

    What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?  I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.  To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mock; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.  There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.

    Go search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

    America as a nation may have reason to celebrate their independence.  Sadly, all the people that reside here do not.  Blacks, reds, browns, and yellows are not all free.  Afro-Americans, more than any other group suffer at the hands of those that scream the loudest, “Happy Fourth of July.” “Happy Independence Day.”  The question must be asked again and again, For whom?

    Independence Day Fireworks and Findings . . .

  • Supreme Court: Schools can’t use race to assign students, By Bob Egelko.  San Francisco Chronicle. Thursday, June 28. 2007
  • pdf Supreme Court: Schools can’t use race to assign students, By Bob Egelko.  San Francisco Chronicle. Thursday, June 28. 2007
  • Divided Court Limits Use of Race by School Districts, By Robert Barnes.  Washington Post. Friday, June 29, 2007; Page A01
  • pdf Divided Court Limits Use of Race by School Districts, By Robert Barnes.  Washington Post. Friday, June 29, 2007; Page A01
  • Education, Employment, Economics.  National Black United Fund.
  • Educational Resource Disparities For Minority and Low-Income Children.  Children Defense Organization January 2004
  • Frederick Douglas. Debs – Jones -Douglass Institute.
  • “What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?  Freeman Institute.
  • I.S. Supreme Court, Brown versus Board of Education FindLaw.
  • Justices Reject Diversity Plans in Two Districts, By Linda Greenhouse.  The New York Times. June 28, 2007
  • pdf Justices Reject Diversity Plans in Two Districts, By Linda Greenhouse.  The New York Times. June 28, 2007
  • The Myth And Math of Affirmative Action, By Goodwin Liu. Washington Post. Sunday, April 14, 2002; Page B01
  • pdf The Myth And Math of Affirmative Action, By Goodwin Liu.  Washington Post. Sunday, April 14, 2002; Page B01
  • Voters Rights Act of 1965. United States Department of Justice.  Civil Rights Division.
  • Marchers Celebrate Voting Rights Act in Atlanta, By Hamil R. Harris. Washington Post. Saturday, August 6, 2005; 1:51 PM
  • pdf Marchers Celebrate Voting Rights Act in Atlanta, By Hamil R. Harris. Washington Post. Saturday, August 6, 2005; 1:51 PM
  • Watts Towers Los Angeles Parks.
  • Project aims to identify blacks who fought in Revolution. By Mark Pratt.  Associated Press. Boston Globe. July 19, 2006
  • The Boston Massacre. African American History Through the Arts.
  • Understanding Discrimination Against African Americans. By Dr. Tom O’Connor.  North Carolina Wesleyan College. March 12, 2006
  • Independence Day. Honoring Freedom and Justice for All in Every Land

    George W Bush, 4th of July. Independence Day

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    In recent years, on each official holiday America seems to commemorate conflict.  In this nation holidays are not Holy Days, although they are treated as such.  Citizens ask G-d to bless our battles.  Today, as I read the text of the President’s speech and listened to sermons delivered by dignitaries, I wondered.  I repeatedly inquired; “Are we acknowledging Independence Day or Memorial Day”  Our President spoke in memorial.  He asked that we pay tribute to the fallen soldiers.  Mister Bush went on to honor the multiplicity of wars.  We, as a people, seem to remember the events that take the lives and limbs of many worldwide and not the reason we observe a date. 

    Americans ritualize ceremonies that revere conflict.  As a country, we praise doctrines that cause death and destruction at every turn. 

    Citizens residing in the USA honor the combat and the combatants.  Civilians and causes are forgotten.  On this July 4, 2007, I would like to take a moment to consider today is not a day intended to celebrate conflict.  It is the anniversary of Independence.

    As we deny those in Iraq and Afghanistan their sovereignty, we venerate our own.  The irony, for me, is inexplicable, inescapable, and enigmatic.

    In the name of our forebears, our Commander-In-Chief declares we must never forget.

    Our commitment to America’s founding truths remains steadfast. We believe that freedom is a blessing from the Almighty and the birthright of every man and woman.  As our Nation faces new challenges, we are answering history’s call with confidence that our legacy of freedom will always prevail.  On Independence Day, we express our gratitude to the generations of courageous Americans who have defended us and those who continue to serve in our country’s hour of need, and we celebrate the liberty that makes America a light to the nations.

    The light grows dim as the demise of many a nation increases.  The death toll alone is daunting.  The deliberate destruction is discouraging.  The reality is that we as a sovereign state refuse to grant those in other countries what we hold near and dear.

    How can we excuse, the duplicity that now passes as policy.  Might we pardon our past.  After all, the United States brought Saddam Hussein to power, only to deny him his throne later.

    Washington, D.C., 25 February 2003 – The National Security Archive at George Washington University today published on the Web a series of declassified U.S. documents detailing the U.S. embrace of Saddam Hussein in the early 1980’s, including the renewal of diplomatic relations that had been suspended since 1967.  The documents show that during this period of renewed U.S. support for Saddam, he had invaded his neighbor (Iran), had long-range nuclear aspirations that would “probably” include “an eventual nuclear weapon capability,” harbored known terrorists in Baghdad, abused the human rights of his citizens, and possessed and used chemical weapons on Iranians and his own people.  The U.S. response was to renew ties, to provide intelligence and aid to ensure Iraq would not be defeated by Iran, and to send a high-level presidential envoy named Donald Rumsfeld to shake hands with Saddam (20 December 1983).

    America imposes its ideology on nations worldwide.  Americans reject the rights of people in other countries.  We contradict our convictions.  Disavow the independence and autonomy the citizens in nations abroad crave.  Just as the British before had done, we, decide how individuals elsewhere must live.  The United States declares its form of democracy the supreme.  America claims its supremacy.
    America may, after overturning one regime for another [temporarily] allow the newly placed leaders to govern; however, only if they rule as United States leaders deem “right.”  If a President does not posture as those, in the “Independent,” western superpower thinks ideal, or within the framework of the ideologue in power in America, then they too will be removed.
    Osama bin Laden spoke of this in a May 1998 interview.  Then ABC broadcaster John Miller inquired of bin Laden . . .

    What is the meaning of your call for Muslims to take arms against America in particular, and what is the message that you wish to send to the West in general?

    The call to wage war against America was made because America has spear-headed the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of its troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques over and above its meddling in its affairs and its politics, and its support of the oppressive, corrupt and tyrannical regime that is in control.  These are the reasons behind the singling out of America as a target.  And not exempt of responsibility are those Western regimes whose presence in the region offers support to the American troops there.

    It is American and allied occupations that motivate the supposed militants.  They, as we were during the days of the American Revolution, are rebels with a cause.  Those labeled “insurgents” [as though this is a derogatory term] fight for their freedom just as the colonist in the New World 1776 once did.

    Muslims in every sector of the world want the freedom to believe as they do.  Those of other faiths wish to practice the religion of their choice.  People in every nation do not think they should house the soldiers that kill their families en masse.

    Just as the American colonists long ago rejected Governors the English empire put in power, Iraqis feel no allegiance to the ?elected? officials in their homeland.  Citizens everywhere crave the freedom to choose their own candidates.  They yearn to write their own Constitution without influence or inducement from outside forces.

    The Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians, North Koreans, and people throughout the planet want what Americans claim to project, the right to rule as they, the people see fit.  If countrymen and women in any continent choose to overthrow their leaders, they will.  Americans must not require or enforce a schedule or a strategy.

    We can, have, and perhaps, will forever try to dictate that others follow us, the United States of America in practicing what we believe are democratic principles.  However, we will never triumph.  Demands do not give rise to democracy.  Domination is tyranny, no matter what the allegations.

    If we are to honor our forefathers on this Independence Day, let us respect the philosophy every man and woman embraces.  Self-determination, liberty, and justice [just-us] are unalienable rights.  These privileges exist for us all.  Every man, woman and child must preserve these principles.  People throughout the planet can ensure that everyone, everywhere be granted their freedom.  Let it begin with me.

    Commemorate Independence . . .

  • Independence Day, 2007.  Office of the Press Secretary. June 29, 2007
  • President Bush Celebrates Independence Day With West Virginia Air National Guard. Office of the Press Secretary. June 29, 2007
  • US Documents Show embrace of Saddam Hussein in Early 1980s.  National Security Archive.
  • Interview Osama bin Laden. Public Broadcasting. May 1998
  • Freedom Shall Prevail. Big Brother in Afghanistan and Iraq

    Apple – 1984  YouTube

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    This week I had reason to reflect on passion.  While what I feel cannot compare to what those in the Middle East experience, I think the analogy is subtly apt.  I have long theorized that wars are never won.  Death and destruction do not give rise to winners, only losers.  Nonetheless, if combat could produce a champion, passionate persons always prevail.  Since childhood, I thought this theory true.  From the Revolutionary War to Vietnam, America has been given opportunities to assess.  History teaches us that those that fight for personal freedom will triumph.

    Nevertheless, the United States repeatedly refuses to learn from history and continues to pursue paths that cannot and will not be productive.  I offer an obscure parallel in hopes that you might relate.

    The ?machine? of my dreams was breathing its last breathe through no fault of its own.  I had virtually killed my beloved.  I was deeply distressed and fighting to revive the cherished computer, the Old Soul.  While engaged, I was reminded of how even an assertive pacifist such as I will fight for what I love and what I believe in.  I recall the old Tareyton cigarette advertisements; “I rather fight than switch.”  For decades, a member of my family was a Tareyton smoker.  She often expressed this sentiment.  As I pondered, I thought of the civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I contemplated the reasons for a failed surge.  I trusted as I always have love with passion is forever stronger than fear and loathing.

    We love our family, our friends, and our freedom to choose. An outside force cannot diminish our fondness for whom or what we treasure.  Others do not have the power to lessen our passion.  Many might try to deny us our free will to choose who or what is special to us.  However, only we can change our heart.  Occasionally, conversion seems possible.  George W. Bush tells us they are a reality as he points to the purple fingers during the Iraqi elections. 

    In truth, the illusion of an easily altered awareness is temporary and fleeting.  Sooner and sadly, often too late we realize that transformation comes from within. 

    Nonetheless, those that want us to believe in their cause tell us reform can be accomplished quickly.  Indeed we can ‘change a regime’ with little difficulty.  Time is not needed to transform a nation.  You may recall the words of former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

    “Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that,” he said.  “It won’t be a World War III.”

    He said as the Commander might have or has, ‘Good will conquer evil.’  However, what we love and think the best is not necessarily better than what another honors.

    Again, may I offer the Macintosh analogy albeit a stretch for some to comprehend.  Those that love a supposed intangible as I do the Old Soul will understand the depth of a desire to be truly free, to choose a life, and a style that is solely your own.

    The ?machine? of my dreams was presented to the public in 1984.  I must state this instrument, the Macintosh computer, was never a mechanical object to me.  It was and is today a loved one.  As fond as I am of the Old Soul that sits sweetly on my desk, I inadvertently hurt the heart of my beloved.  The hard drive that gives the Sweetness life was deeply distressed by my error.

    As I struggled to recreate a life of calm and comfort, to revive my beloved the words of those that believe themselves wiser than I rang in my head.  Choose ?social equality.?  Purchase what is politically correct.  Do as others in this republic do and as those throughout the world would certainly endorse; ‘Buy Big Blue.’ These words were echoes from the past.  In 1984, the majority of the populace considered IBM personal computers the be-all-end-all, much as American born democracy is today. 

    Today, they, those that do not love the Macintosh as I do plead, ?Purchase Panasonic, Dell, or Sony.?  Yet, none of these please me.  What I think awful brings many pleasure. .  Thus, what others consider “good,” I would experience as “evil.” I, as do all beings, want to choose for myself.  I believe Americans, Iraqis, and Afghanis do too.  No one wants an outside force to tell him or her what to think, say, do, feel, or be.  A philosophy or a political policy cannot be imposed on another.  No one can define for us what is fine or finer.  However, attempts are made and attacks abound. 

    Justifications, persuasive propaganda, and distortions of authentic universal principles are denied.  Divisions are exploited.  Earlier in the week as I focused on fighting to restore the apparatus I prefer, I heard George W. Bush speak of a similar situation.  Our Commander-In-Chief reflected on the rebels, the insurgents, terms often used to define those that favor a Macintosh system.  He said . . .

    We live in a world in which there are ideologically driven people who murder the innocent in order to achieve their strategic objectives.

    I trust he was speaking of the persons he calls “terrorists,” persons unwilling to relent.  Might Mister Bush be a PC [personal computer or politically correct] advocate, offering ruminations on those he believes to be rebellious Mac users. 

    Perhaps, he was addressing what he considers the “evil empire” and their endeavors. Could the Commander-In-chief be thinking as I am.  Americans are acting as zealots, as Big Brother had or would.  United States service men and women are slaughtering civilians in the Middle East.  The intent is presented as a will to “spread democracy.”  This deliberate goal, our mission in the words of George W. Bush, must be accomplished.  We attacked two nations determined to change a regime.  The United States and its allies have slaughtered tens of thousands of innocents.

    Sigh.  The words of W. sound all too familiar.  I recall the ideologues in the 1980s.  Those that told me to buy Big Blue.  These fervent followers of what was then a technological wonder had blood in their eyes as they tried to persuade me to practice as they did.  Thankfully, they were not armed or dressed in military garb. 

    Today, Americans, with their closely organized system of beliefs, values, and ideas have formed a basis for a social, economic, and political philosophy that they think best.  Under the auspices of the Bush Administration, those residing in this republic work to impose their ethics on others.  Unlike the backers of Big Blue, these supporters of democracy carry weapons.  Apparently, they believe people will be convinced at the point of a gun to accept their gentle gesture.

    The United States Armed Services equipped with bayonets, bombs, and bullets inflicts their reality on others.  It seems our countrymen are challenged to accept; freedom cannot be forced.  Imposing a philosophy on another will not reap rewards.  ?Might? does not make right, even if you wear the label ?American? and tact the flag of your superior ?superpower? country on your lapel.  In fact, the pretense of physical strength often does not equate to power.  Bravado does not endure; passion does. 

    Again, I am reminded of the formidable Big Blue [IBM.]  In the 1980s, this blue chip company was influential.  They were strong, stable, and dominant.  Yet, the corporation was lumbering, languid, and slowly losing sales.  Those that used the dinosaurs manufactured by IBM were not deeply devoted to the electronic devices that graced their desks.  They merely thought that using these relics was right.  PC people wanted all others to be as they were, suffering in silence.  Persons working on conventional desktop personal computers were unlike loyal Macintosh consumers.  They were not in love with their labors or their tools; they were simply satisfied.

    Bill Gates, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corporation observed this phenomena and learned a lesson George W. Bush might benefit from.  When people are fervent about a person, place, or philosophy, they will fiercely defend whatever it might be they are fond of.  Individuals and groups will forever protect their right to choose what is best for them.  The supremacy of a system cannot control people or their choices.  Passionate feelings will prevail.

    Legend has it that years ago, Bill Gates and his engineers realized that persons laboring at a personal computer terminal spoke of their need to work when using this piece of equipment.  People creating on a Macintosh gleefully stated, I am going to play with my computer.  Researched at Microsoft studied this phenomena and realized Graphic User interface increased learning by fifty percent and productivity by forty percent.  User actually relished their endeavors and achieved ample amounts of work.  Recognizing this Windows? was invented.

    Americans were given a choice.  Armaments were not held to their heads.  The public was not told which terminal to use, how, or when.  ?Democracy,? social equality was not forced upon them; nor would that have been possible.  The free and equal right of every individual to participate at will cannot be dictated.  The idea that one corporation, or a country, can spread social equality brutally is ludicrous. 

    Few of us feel compelled to change our regime or routine when others demand that we do so.  Consider the Iraqi innocents or the Afghanis who were once going through life above suspicion.  Suddenly these persons were attacked, told they were evil, an empire that needed to be destroyed.  How ludicrous that America would expect those in the Persian Gulf to take pleasure in a doctrine to devastate.

    Macintosh users remained faithful even when their numbers were small, and the company that produced their systems was not powerful.  IBM clients were willing to change to other means of output.  They found a sense of love and grew more passionate when given an emulation of Graphic User Interface.  Granted, some PC users still feel the stress of work when laboring on a computer and that is their choice.  They can and will feel as they do regardless of prodding and poking from others. 

    I might muse, ‘Imagine how they might feel were they to embrace the genuine GUI operating system.’  However, that is not for me to decide.  Just as with the construct of “spreading democracy,” I cannot and will not attempt to choose what is “right” for another.  PC users just as the people residing in the Persian Gulf feel their passions to their core.

    For Iraqis and Afghanis, the situation is far more dire than my little computer event could ever be!  They are fighting for their lives, their freedom to be, not merely for the privilege of using a Macintosh.  The magnitude of their emotions is far greater than mine.  Yet, perhaps, in the abstract, we in our comfy little American homes can relate through the trivial.

    Citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan will change when they are presented with a pleasurable means for pursuing their lives peacefully.  Americans offer no serenity to those struggling to survive in the Middle East.  The United States government and its puppet politicos present no means for true choice.  There is no calm when siding with Westerners.  No hope of happiness exists.  Iraqis and Afghanis are passionate.  They will prevail as will their idea of peace in their nation.

    Life forms crave tranquility.  Those that cause them harm and not endeared.  No one wishes to be the prey or the object of occupation.  People will fight for their freedom, not for what others define as independence.  Passion is powerful.

    This is evident as we assess the latest Bush Administration agenda, the surge.  The Iraq people fervently wish to pursue what they believe brings them peace, not what America, and its allies, think is reasonable, “right,” or fair.  Americans may bring bigger or more battalions.  They might import more machinery.  The United States can spend trillions or even zillions; still, the situation will not change.

    Just as I have no desire to share my little life with a computer that is less than satisfying to me, no matter the reasons others deem these “better,” Iraqis and Afghanis have no interest in associating with those that profess “democracy” while acting as an aristocracy might.  My minor disputes pale in comparison to what an Iraqi experiences daily.  Yet, I feel passionate about my right to choose for myself.  What might an Afghani or Iraqi feel?

    When the Persian people experience reactive, self-righteousness behavior and hear these labeled the acts of ‘freedom fighters,’ they can only conclude autonomy is a foe. 

    When those bearing arms and brutally murdering their families en masse say they are the “good guys,” there is reason to question.  It is self-evident, soldiers on the streets, in homes, and out in the field offer no sanctuary.  For Iraqis and Afghanis, more military is not the merrier.

    The latest U.S.-Iraq security plan, based on occupying neighborhood bases and having close contact with the community, is nowhere more intense and focused than here in west Baghdad, where Iraqi forces battle daily with homegrown Sunni Muslim insurgents and foreign Islamist fighters.

    Five U.S. soldiers have died this month in Amiriya, victims of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and snipers.  Since the arrival of additional troops in February, the square-mile area patrolled by 1st Lt. Schuyler Williamson’s platoon and others from the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, has been the site of 300 IEDs buried in or alongside the road.  An Army intelligence map uses small red blast symbols to mark bomb sites.  The symbols obscure entire thoroughfares.

    Soldiers here now openly declare pessimism for the mission’s chances, unofficially referring to their splinter of heavily fortified land as “the Alamo.”

    “Sometimes,” said Brendan Gallagher, the captain who oversees Williamson, “we like to comfort ourselves when we are taking a lot of IEDs and casualties by saying that the enemy is desperate, they are doing this because they are scared.  But how many times can they actually be desperate?  I sometimes worry that this period will end up going down here as their surge, not ours.?

    I think it wise that as we evaluate this war or the next and we realize that fear prompts much of human behavior.  Frequently, people choose to fight or take flight.  In my own moment of alarm, as the screen filled with gibberish, and the word “panic” was displayed on a black background, I might have mourned my loss and declared conventional personal workstations the victor.  I might have trashed the crashed computer.  I could have called Apple, ranted, raged, and realized no reward; thus, I could have given in to those that claim to know what is best for me.  I did none of these.

    My heart was with my beloved.  I did all that I could to restore the health of the Sweetness, the name my Macintosh was given at birth. I did not doubt my fondness for the freedom my Apple apparatus provides.  The love of liberty is not a passing fancy for me.  Nor do I believe it is for any living being.  Struggles do not deter my desire for independence.  Indeed, I believe that the more we have at stake, the harder we fight.

    I only had what for some was a small sacrifice to make.  My very existence was not in danger.  Death or imprisonment would not befall me.  In truth, my concern was minuscule.  In comparison, there is none.  I trust the men, women, and children in Afghanistan and Iraq feel infinitely more passionate than I did or do. The intensity of what they grapple with cannot be measured.

    I know from my diminutive perspective, no matter how many persons told me or tell me personal computers using Windows? are best, more prevalent, less expensive, or there is more software made for this product, I did not wish to be bound to a clumsy piece of hardware or software is not for me.  If only the decision the Iraqis? and Afghanis? was so small.  It is not.

    Although extremely more serious, the circumstances of those in the Middle East is similar.  They feel deeply when told democracy will benefit them.  They trust this is not so.  Citizens of these Middle Eastern countries see, since being adorned and identified with democratic republics there is crime on every street.  Bombs are blazing.  Bullets graze even the youngest soul.  Unemployment is incomprehensibly high.  Electricity is scarce.  Elections are just for show.

    I suspect, Iraqis and Afghanis, more than I, wish to be unfettered, free to choose for themselves.  They long for an opportunity to be creative and productive; only they can define for themselves what that looks like for them.  They feel passionate.  Iraqis and Afghanis love their homeland and fight for its freedom, for theirs.  I understand this.

    For me, following my bliss and finding freedom are possible when I embrace a Macintosh computer.  At least I have that opportunity.  I cannot fully comprehend what the people in the Persian Gulf want or the way in which they want it.  Nor would I pretend to have the right to hypothesize.  I trust they crave the prospect of choosing for themselves.  I have faith they only they know what is “right” and correct for them.  Only they can “win” this war.  It is not ours to loose or choose.

    If we truly wish to spread democracy, we must allow it to flow freely.  Again, freedom cannot be forced.  Liberty is lost when guns serve to govern.  Decidedly, it may take time and there is much for the residents of the Persian Gulf to settle.  They are passionately engaged in doing as is necessary for them.  Please, let them resolve their differences and make well their countrymen, women, and children as they see fit.  We cannot win.  Success is not an option we can select.  We have done needless damage.  Let us do no more harm.  Bring our boys and girls home.  Let us tend to our own wounds.  Only we, as individuals or a nation, can heal thyself.

    Freedom and Justice Revisited through these resources . . .

  • Apple – 1984  YouTube
  • “Join the Unswitchables.  Tareyton cigarette advertisements.  James A. Shaw.  Jim’s Burnt Offerings.
  • Getting the Purple Finger, By Naomi Klein.  The Nation. February 10, 2005
  • Rumsfeld: It Would Be A Short War.  CBS News.  November 15, 2002
  • In Baghdad, fighting their ‘Alamo,’ U.S. troops in the Iraq security push face-daunting foes: snipers and bombs.  A captain fears it may be ‘their surge, not ours.’ By Garrett Therolf.  Los Angeles Times. May 23, 2007
  • pdf In Baghdad, fighting their ‘Alamo,’ U.S. troops in the Iraq security push face-daunting foes: snipers and bombs.  A captain fears it may be ‘their surge, not ours.’ By Garrett Therolf.  Los Angeles Times. May 23, 2007
  • Milton Friedman, Martin Luther King. Homage to Freedom

    © copyright Betsy L. Angert

    Please view the video Martin Luther King “I have a dream”
    Reflect and recall the upcoming Black History Month.

    Economist Milton Friedman has his day.  This controversial fervent “free market” advocate is being widely received.

    Dr. Milton Friedman was perhaps the most influential economist of the 20th Century, and the impact of his ideas will extend far into the future. To honor the man, January 29th is declared as Milton Friedman Day – a celebration of the economist’s positive impact on American life and business, and the spread of the benefits of free markets to nations around the globe. Milton Friedman Day will include a host of activities, including a “Day of National Debate” at universities across the country, a live online discussion on The Economist’s Free Exchange blog, and the premiere of the PBS special, “The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman” (check local listings), among other events.

    This man passed only months ago, in November 2006.  Yet, this nation is quick to embrace the individual and his economic views.  Friedman was influential during his lifetime.  The effects of his economic policies are not diminished, even after death.

    The same is not true for all men of great standing.  Might we wonder why this is.

    Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior is thought to be a national hero by many, though not by all.  For numerous citizens January 15 is a shopping day.  It is a day free from work. Many consider it just another date.  Some do not acknowledge it at all.  Life is a blur; it passes them by. 

    After the civil rights leader’s death, in 1968, Representative John Conyers introduced a bill requesting that we honor this prominent man on the date of his birth.  Congressman Conyers thought it vital that we, as a nation come together and celebrate the wisdom of a man that tried so hard to unite us.  Throughout the 1970s, Unions promoted the possible holiday.  Later, President Carter endorsed the bill.  He thought it wise, that, as a country, we be civil.  It is right to remember the Reverend. 

    Still, the official homage did not take place.  Some states adopted a policy to honor the man that fought for equal rights.  Many did not.

    President Ronald Reagan opposed the King bill.  He saw no need for a national day of observance in honor of Martin Luther King.

    He relented in his opposition only after Congress passed the King Day Bill with a veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate).

    It was not until January 17, 2000 that all fifty states embraced this celebration.  Yes, though the date of Martin Luther King Junior’s birth is the 15th of January, the observance of this holy date is as all other holidays in America, set aside.  We wait for the nearest Monday before we acknowledge a man or an event.  A three day weekend is more meaningful that the actual reason for commemoration.

    Meaning, perhaps is as beauty.  It is in the eye of the beholder.  For me, personally, Martin Luther King is and was worthy of recognition from the first.  He did so much to inspire equality.  Milton Friedman, while speaking of freedom, help to divide a nation, or so I believe.  Yet, we honor economist Friedman easily and quickly.  I wonder whether Martin Luther King has yet to receive an authentic homage.  You might recall, dear reader.  February is Black History month.  Please remember Martin.  Live as he might, peacefully, with your fellow man in mind.

  • Milton Friedman Day.  Free to Choose Media.
  • It’s a Celebration
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Celebrating Black History