The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Martin Luther King’

WINNERS/LOSERS

There were no winners in the Zimmerman/Martin trial.  Trayvon Martin is still dead.  George Zimmerman is still living in hell.

If there were anything good that came out of this farce of a well-orchestrated operetta (sans musique) it is that those engaged in the garment industry who manufacture sweatshirts with hoods saw a rise in their sales.  And we had the opportunity to hear from some of America’s brain trust (a number of NFL players and some of their kin) who made direct and indirect threats against Mr. Zimmerman and who spoke of terminating his continued residency on planet Earth.

The DOJ which had been considering bringing charges against Mr. Zimmerman for possible violations of the “Civil Rights Act” prior to the criminal trial, announced today that it is evaluating pursuing those charges.  And I believe that Mr. Zimmerman should be grateful that the DOJ is vigilant in this regard.  I hope that his attorneys request that Atty. General Holder investigate those NFL twits who tweeted their violent responses to the verdict.

But we all know that will not happen.

Falcons receiver Roddy White, who rarely bites his tongue, sounded off loudly on Twitter. ”F–king Zimmerman got away with murder today wow what kind of world do we live in,” White said. ”All them jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid.”

Marcus Vick, the brother of Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, continued a theme he began during the prosecution’s closing argument. ”Like I said before, a dogs life mean more then a human of color,” Marcus Vick said. ”My people’s did 2 years over some bullshit when this dude took a human life. Y’all MF’s sick. . . . Zimmerman u peace of DOG shit if I ever seen u I would run up n let u beat my ass then I’ll pop u right between the eyes u cricket Bitch.”

Even Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who isn’t known for saying or doing outlandish things, offered up a chilling prediction for George Zimmerman’s future, via Deadspin: ”Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up with him.”

Bengals linebacker James Harrison made a very strong point that gets to the core of the case. ”Think I’ll go pick a fight and get my ass kicked then pull my gun and kill somebody and see if I can get away,” Harrison tweeted.

Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, who lost a brother last year under far different but no less tragic circumstances, realizes that eye-for-an-eye revenge shouldn’t happen. ”Also as mad as a lot of people are over the verdict…trying to take out Zimmerman isn’t the answer neither,” Smith said.

Thank you, Mr. Smith for offering a bit of sanity to this conversation.

All humans make statements and decisions based on either logic, emotion or a combination of the two.  At certain moments one side or the other may be dominant.  But the problem is that if we allow our emotions to direct our thinking to the exclusion of logic, our decisions tend to be catastrophic.

Consider that if the Captain of the Titanic, realizing the boat was imperiled ran around yelling, “Oh, no.  The ship is sinking.  The ship is sinking,” rather than ordering the crew to prepare the lifeboats in order to evacuate the passengers.  That might well have resulted in there being no survivors.

And so, perhaps, we can overlook the over-reactive emotional response to a situation that the administration, the media and the self-styled “quasi-intelligentsia” in the black community stirred up and fostered.  After all, making sure that adding kindling to the fire of “race relations” is their agenda of distracting us from the real racial tragedies in this country.

After a few days have passed and emotions have subsided, those within America’s black community who really want to address this important matter in a serious way should start asking some serious and important questions.  And they should look at the facts, not the TV screen.

It is a fact, according to FBI statistics, that when interracial violence and death occurs involving a black and a white person, 81% of the time the victim is the white person.   If the white community has this information, do those in the black community not understand why white people might be legitimately frightened of blacks?

But there is more than this with which the black community in America should be concerned.  And that concern should not arise from their worries about “crackers” or the KKK doing them in.  Over 95% of the murders which befall blacks in America are committed by other blacks.  The “hood” is a very, very dangerous place to live and to raise children.

To my brothers and sisters who reside there, I would say to you that you have settled for enslavement as surely as if “Old Massa” purchased you at an auction.  You have been bought and paid for through that EBT card and your sub-standard healthcare that Medicaid provides and your Obamaphone.  You have sold your souls to the devil – and his name is your congressman or city representative or ward alderman.  And until you wake up and hear that call of truly great leaders like the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. who had a vision and a plan, you will live out your lives in servitude – and you will condemn your children to the same fate.

In the current culture and climate, there are no winners.

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THOUGHTS ON INAUGUARATION DAY

Perhaps the Devil made me do it but I couldn’t help myself.  As I thought about the  goings-on in Washington I went to my film library to find something appropriate for the occasion – and I did.  It was a classic film and one which I suspect I shall be watching more frequently over the next four years.  Released in 1956 it stars Danny Kaye, Glynnis Johns, Angela Lansbury and Basil Rathbone.  The movie is “The Court Jester.”

Kaye, always the master of physical comedy, passed away in 1987.  He plays the court jester who saves the English kingdom from the impostor who sits on the throne and secures the rightful heir his title.  Obviously, Kaye’s death means that he is too late to help us in our present situation.

Surprisingly, this film has not been banned.  A significant part of the cast is an ensemble of midgets who assist the jester in accomplishing his mission.  The last I heard is that people who have their condition are either on an “endangered species” list or are receiving SSI disability payments and thus are unavailable for work.

As I viewed this film which I had not watched for several years, my convoluted thinking led me to yet another artistic work.  In this case, the piece was produced by a former Harvard University math professor, Tom Lehrer.  Mr. Lehrer’s musical cynicism was in great vogue in the late ‘50’s and ‘60’s.  He recorded upwards of forty songs dealing with social issues, mores and values and political matters which were at that time in the limelight of a then much more involved and thinking public.

One of those, presented below for your enjoyment, is a song simply entitled by the name of its subject matter, the then newly elected Senator from California, George Murphy.  The year was 1964 and Murphy had defeated Pierre Sallinger who had been President Kennedy’s press secretary.

Mr. Murphy’s career in Hollywood centered about his primary skills – as a song and dance man.  And now we have a newly inaugurated president in the White House who believes he has those same sort of abilities.  The nice thing about art is that, at least for the moment, everyone is entitled to her or his opinion.  But I couldn’t help think of the then newly elected Senator from California and the newly elected community organizer from Illinois when he took his seat in the august chamber of the Upper House of Congress.

Keeping that in mind, allow me to share with you what I think might be the most appropriate song which could have been played at the Inauguration festivities.

Let me close by reminding you that tomorrow, January 21, 2013 we celebrate the life of a man who was a true American, a visionary, a patriot and a man of conscience, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Keeping his life and legacy in my thoughts may help me make it through the next four years.

SOUL FOOD

As I was thinking about the meaning of Easter and preparing for it in a practical way, in other words planning the menu, I was pleased that one of the local supermarkets had collard, mustard and turnip greens on sale for only fifty cents a pound.  These simple vegetables were my introduction to “soul food”.

Although you can find almost anything here on the buffets in Las Vegas, greens have a tendency to be overcooked in the first place.  And when they sit for any length of time on a steam table they almost inevitably meet that fate.  So I prefer the ones that I make which are gently steamed and then finished with a topping of sautéed caramelized onions cooked in chopped bacon.

Although it was late January in 1972 it was a bitterly cold day when I arrived home somewhat later than usual.  I scurried to get in from the cold and the wind which was fierce – to be greeted by Tristan my Irish Setter and his companion, Josh who was a Newfoundland/Belgian Shepherd mix.  I had only a few minutes to warm up before taking them out to attend to their duties.

I sincerely hoped that Josh wouldn’t dawdle as, with the protection off his extremely dense coat, he seemed to enjoy this near zero weather.  Perhaps it was the fact that I had come home a little later than usual or that the dogs took pity on me but they both did their thing quickly and I gratefully cleaned up after them and returned home.  My fingers were still cold even though protected by heavy gloves.

After I took off my outer clothes and heated up my hands under some warm water, I began preparing their dinner and turned on the little portable television that sat on the kitchen counter, primarily for the purpose of providing some background noise.  I went about getting the kids their food and had just placed their bowls on the floor when a news flash came across the screen.

Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel Music had suddenly passed away in a suburb about fifteen miles south at the young age of sixty years.  I remember the chill that ran through me when I heard this – as though the kitchen windows had been flung wide open and the bitter cold had found its way into my apartment.

Although I had been raised in Christianity’s more liturgical traditions where services were very specifically laid out and where the rituals were well defined, from time to time I would visit other churches run by members who had come from a different tradition of the faith.  There were no small number of Southern Missionary Baptist churches on Chicago’s South Side from which I could choose.

These were the churches which were the birthplace of Gospel Music – the music over which Mahalia reigned.  So different from the Gregorian chant and the works of Mozart and Bach which I knew, these were hymns written by people who had the genetic memory of slavery firmly etched into their experience and into their minds.  They were the religious version of the more secular music known as “the blues”.

There was an honest spontaneity on the parts of the congregants to the minister as he would preach his sermon on the selection of Scripture which he had chosen – with enough “Amen-ing” to fill Carnegie Hall to the rafters.  There was a great deal of swaying in the seats as they received the Word of God and a great deal of fanning of the face – as though to disperse the Holy Spirit among all the members of the church who had come that Sunday.  And, of course, there was the music.

Mahalia sang the hymn, “Precious Lord” at the funeral service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was written by the Father of Gospel Music, Thomas A. Dorsey after his wife died in childbirth and their newborn daughter died the day later.  I present it to you for your enrichment while wishing you a wonderful Easter.

This is the real soul food.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as1rsZenwNc

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