I am a happy person with a peaceful heart. So, I don’t like to wake up on a Monday morning feeling depressed with a queasiness in the pit of my stomach.
We have had 233 years to develop this nation into the pinnacle of Western Civilization – politically, intellectually, culturally – and it just ain’t happening.
One decade into a new century and a new millennium, we wake up on a Monday morning to headlines which cry out racism. As my mother used to say, “It’s enough to make a preacher cuss.”
Racism is a part of the history of the world, and racism is very much a part of the history of this country. Most of the Founding Fathers we love to venerate were slaveholders. While they spoke loftily about and fougbt bravely for the equality of man, slavery remained an economic cornerstone of this country until the second half of the 19th Century.
Over the last month, I’ve listened to a random selection of books which, as it turned out, either address racism or reek with it and use the “N” word more times than can be endured. The authors? James Michener, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Mitchell and William Faulkner. We can no more expunge racism from our history than we can expunge it from our literary heritage. It is there.
We could hope to move beyond it, but we never will as long as it remains a partisan petard.
If it weren’t so damn hypocritical, it would almost be laughable to hear Republicans railing against Sen. Harry Reid’s “racism.” Have they “disremembered” that Sen. Joe Biden said the same things verbatim and was selected by Sen. Barack Obama as his running mate?
Has the GOP “disremembered” its own record? Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, summed up that record in dismissing Republican calls for Reid to step down as senate majority leader: “Actions speak louder than words.”
So, here we are in 2010 still grappling with a social issue which should have died away with continuing enlightenment. Albert Einstein, hardly an intellectual slug, said, “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.”
Until we can overcome these forces, this country will never establish itself as a starting place for civilization in the 21st Century.
And, frankly, this new civil war Americans are fighting is neither civil nor solicitous of civility.