Political Observations (Ready or Not)

This is the first of a series of posts telling the story of my association with George Thorogood.  It is dedicated to my wife who was born on 3 July 1952, and died 31 January 2017 from ovarian cancer.  She was also a fan, and we shared our love of  The Delaware Destroyers with friends and family for 37 years together.

26 September 2016

Are you kidding me with this shit?

As much as I intended the blog to be about technology and Internet Radio, I feel compelled to offer some observations on what is currently happening with the election and ongoing protests over police shootings of primarily black men.
I would like to state that I am a white American, and in no way speaking as if I have  the experience of someone that is in the community of color  experiencing  first hand the sometimes unwarranted violence of those designated to serve and protect.  I also am the grandson of a Philadelphia PA policeman who rose the the rank of detective, and who was involved in probably the most famous unsolved case in Philly, known as “The Boy in the Box”, but that is a story for another day.
It can be incredibly depressing to see what is going on right now in the streets of the US, as right now protests are going on in Charlotte NC that have varying levels of violence, but in most scenarios are non-violent.  But I also have the benefit of hindsight, and to state it simply, I have seen worse.
With my memory, understanding, and vision aided by a new book I am reading, called “Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon” by Larry Tye, I have a greater understanding of events I was a witness to, but maybe too young, or too distracted by other things in life to fully understand.
I refer to events such as riots that occurred over the registration of black students into universities in the South such as the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  Just take a minute to let that sink in, there were riots over the fact that a black person wanted to educate themselves to become productive members of society and grab their piece of the American dream.
Their registrations were not just blocked by white citizens, but by duly elected governors of Mississippi and Alabama in 1962 and 1963.  George Wallace , then Governor of Alabama even went so far as to quote a secret Klu Klux Klan (KKK) pledge that ended with “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
Back then, police and state trooper units were not integrated as they are today, and they were being led by avowed and unrepentant racists like Wallace and Ross Barnett, then Governor of Mississippi. So when Bobby Kennedy made a visit to Alabama to”demonstrate his interest and take the measure of his adversary…, greeting him at the state capital were forty riot-trained state troopers-Confederate flags painted on their helmets…”
They were not there to welcome Bobby Kennedy, duly sworn as the Attorney General of the United States, but to intimidate him, “to poke him in the stomach with his stick, while another refused to shake his hand.”
Bobby’s will to take on Wallace and his political savvy and back-room dealings resulted in eliminating the riots that occurred in Mississippi, as he allowed Wallace to grandstand at the schoolhouse door with the two black students a safe distance away, and they then   “checked into their dormitories, and quietly registered that afternoon.”
So many more stories and events from that turbulent time in the early 60’s to recount here, but a major one that occurred in August of 1963, now known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, “drew an estimated quarter million people to press not just for liberty but employment, which along with the right to vote was seen as the gateway to racial justice.”  A March that went off peacefully and successfully, in large part again to Bobby’s “operating from the shadows” and highlighted by  Martin Luther King’s speech ending in “the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at Last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty , we are free at last'”
So when I see the protest, and people of color speaking out and against what they see as unfair and unwarranted violence against their community, I recognize that this is sometimes required to stir officials  into action and has a long history of effectively promoting change.
I recognize that the police have a dangerous job to do, and I appreciate their service. But they need to recognize that remnants and vestiges of the racism that saw police forces attack and vilify civil rights activists in the 60’s still remain, and they need to be finally eliminated from serving in our state trooper and police forces.
Unfortunately many folks do not see this, and many who do not,  support Donald Trump.  A perfect example that  can really exemplify the pure ignorance and utter ridiculousness of the some Trump supporters is the recent statement by Ohio county chairperson Kathy Miller.
“I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected. We never had any problems like this,” Miller said. “Now, with the people with guns and shooting up neighborhoods and not being responsible citizens, that’s a big change, and I think that’s the philosophy Obama has perpetuated on America.”
Of course with the election around the corner, Trump has to abandon his earlier professed loyalty to his staff, and unload Miller (who has since resigned over the comments) like a sack of potatoes as quickly as possible so he can continue his “sincere” outreach to the black community for their votes.
I don’t know which world Miller lived in prior to Obama’s election, but it certainly was not the United States I inhabit and observe.  Now that she has some free time, maybe she can pick up Mr. Tye’s book for a refresher course on real racism that she seems to have conveniently overlooked or forgotten.
And I know she is not alone among Trump supporters, because, well, I have eyes and ears.
 

Excerpts copied from "Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon" by Larry Tye,
are not footnoted, but are shown in quotations.
Quote attributed to former Ohio County Chairperson Kathy Miller is taken from
"CNN Politics" of 09/23/16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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