As we ease into 2018, I’m wondering if I’m the only one who’s still writing 2017 on my checks? Probably not.
It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and I’m reflecting on his legacy. Dr. King fought and died so that disenfranchised Americans could enjoy equal rights and equal opportunity in this country. His work ended Jim Crow and codified into law the notion that all citizens of this nation are constitutionally guaranteed the right to participate in our democracy through voting. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the shadow of the Civil Rights Act as part of the first generation of African Americans to benefit from the sacrifice of those who struggled for freedom. Things were not perfect. The triad of racism, bigotry and discrimination were not eradicated, but things were substantially better than they were during my mother’s time or my Grandma’s youth in the Birmingham of the 1920s, 30’s and 40’s. We had a societal understanding about what was acceptable and what was intolerable. You could be a racist, but you couldn’t espouse those views or use those views as a rationale in business, employment and housing without repercussions. In 2018 America, that’s no longer the case.
Today, we see those in power blatantly working to suppress the Black vote as the Supreme Court has allowed the erosion of the Voting Rights Act. We see marchers in the streets with tiki torches from Home Depot chanting proudly about their white supremacy. Overtly racist rhetoric is spewed on a regular basis from the seat of American democracy. Anyone who points it out or calls it out is dismissed as being “politically correct” or, in a twisted irony, accused of racism themselves. Some people say that for Dr. King’s dream, these are dark times.
I don’t agree. I think that periodically we need to be jolted awake and reminded that the maintenance of assuring freedom and equality is an ongoing task. Threats to equitable treatment and access have been a rallying cry, spurring the complacent into action. It has forced people of all races, genders and orientations off of their couches, away from their digital devices and into action. I don’t think that these are dark times. I believe the contrary. In the end, this will be our finest hour.
Happy Martin Luther King Day.
On that note, not much to report on this week.
The Lady Love and I saw THE POST last night. It’s the story of the battle between the Washington Post and the Nixon White House and Justice Department over the publication of The Pentagon Papers, the leaked Pentagon report that detailed the history, distortions and outright lies told to the American people about the Vietnam War. The thing that struck me most was how reflective the story is of our current times. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are brilliant as Post editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Katharine Graham who struggle with what to do when coming into possession of information that will undermine the current government, yet the people deserve to know. It really speaks to the role of journalism…REAL journalism…as well as its responsibilities in a free democracy. The film is a MUST SEE.
We also saw MOLLY’S GAME about the underground poker game for the rich and famous run in Hollywood and New York by Molly Bloom. It’s a fascinating study in what behaviors we view as criminal and why.
Almost done with FIRE AND FURY on Audible. It’s apparently the only way you can get the book now as the first hardcover printing sold out. The book has given me a migraine from shaking my head in disgust so much. As I wrote previously, it would be funny and entertaining if it weren’t so scary.
Have a great weekend!