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Monday, January 15, 2018

EDITORIAL
On His Day Today, Where Does America Really Stand?


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in France in 1966. 
Getty 
       

by
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW                                           
Monday, January 15, 2018

What kind of shape do you think America is in?  Does your answer depend on the color of your skin?  Your gender?  How much money you make?  Or does it depend on the overall state of the United States and the millions of people who may be in less fortunate circumstances than yourself?

Today is not only Martin Luther King Day, a Federal holiday -- it is also Dr. King's birthday.  He would have turned 89 today.

On this day, where does America stand? 

The answer is very clear.  America stands on very unsettled and dangerous ground, which is where it has stood for centuries beyond 241 years of U.S. existence. 

White supremacy is a force and power that has never yielded in all of that time.  Over the last 55 years those forces, in the guise of GOP politicians and presidents like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and his son, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, have rolled back the rights and victories that Dr. King and the vast movement he was part of fought for and died for. 

Voting rights have been eviscerated by the U.S. Supreme Court (2013).  Immigration was attacked in 2015 and beyond.

In a matter of just 12 months the current occupant of the White House has been successful in making good on his promise to return America to the overtly racist place Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, Jesse Jackson, Amelia Boynton, Coretta Scott King, John Lewis and so many others fought against.  We've had the echoes of the very recent past with Charlottesville, Virginia.  We've seen overt hatred become mainstream chic, normalized by the GOP and amplified by a largely unquestioning corporate news media interested only in entertaining not educating its viewers -- and all in the name of profit, not the public. 

That same news media will champion Dr. King today.  I suspect they will, as they have ever since his assassination in 1968, not tell the whole story of Dr. King.  They will instead usher us to a skewered and sanitized view of his activism.  Dr. King was truly a man of the people.  A man for unions.  For equal pay.  For human rights.  All of which are under huge attack right now.

Last week's racist comments by the latest person to walk into the White House are nothing new.  People have become too complacent it seems, too tolerant, too lazy and abundantly selfish.  Critical thinking has vanished.  And iPhones are the new Bible.

The conversation about racism and race in America cannot be a conversation anymore.  America must reckon with itself.  Reckon with its deep racist history and violence.  Reckon with its original sins of genocide of the Native American and hundreds of years of enslavement of Blacks in America.  These truths have never been faced or reckoned with.

Over the last few years in the United States we've seen the deaths of Heather Heyer, Sandra Bland, Renisha McBride, all of whom died either seeking help or helping others or journeying to help raise consciences.  All of these individuals died doing Dr. King's work or died turning to others to assist them -- something Dr. King preached and practiced.

We do not need dead-ended platitudes or cool-sounding political rhetoric.  America is beyond that.  We've been seduced by it for too long.  Action is required.  Not just by politicians but by each and every one of us.  Action is required, in large or small measure.

As America free-falls into the place of doom it has quietly but surely slumped toward over the last 60 years it is important to note that doom in far more dire dimensions has hit America before. 

Many questions must now be asked and answered.  Will we lift ourselves out of doom this time?  Will we cast it out?  Where will we stand?  And where will America really stand a year from now?


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