Library of Congress photo
The gathering on the mall was called "The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." And while it wasn't spontaneous, it wasn't carefully planned either. But what it was a watershed moment in the history of the civil rights movement. Never before -- and never since -- has a gathering of that magnitude taken place in that place. Is it really 58 years in the past?
It was there that the rest of the world met Martin Luther King, Jr. King was a Southern preacher who knew how to put words together. The gathering was fairly evenly divided between blacks and whites and the stage show that accompanied it was more white than black. It galvanized thinking on civil rights and inspired legislation galore. Good legislation.
What we're seeing today is a stunning reversal of the thinking that went into that march. We're seeing good legislation weakened or shot down or saddled with conditions that might as well be reversals. We're seeing the south rise again.
This march wasn't about Martin Luther King, it was about us. It was about the voting rights act. It was about dozens of court decisions dragging us from the 19th and early to mid-20th century forward.
But what has happened is what always happens when a major movement loses its figurehead. That's the first step toward death of a movement because now there's no real leadership. What happens in every case I can think of, is that when the figurehead is disfigured, the underlings take over and either fight or diffuse. The thing loses steam and dies. Countermovements develop, especially in the case of minority rights where there already was a stone wall in place.
King’s assassination in 1968 was the beginning of the end. Not because he was murdered, but because eventually, competing minor interests take over and everyone scatters.
Sometimes there are aftershocks. We’re having one of those now. At the moment, the culture is experiencing a revitalization. But so is the countermovement. Diversity has become the latest Hula Hoop or video game.
The countermovement figurehead now is trump. And as evidenced lately, he’s no longer necessary. The leadership has been taken over by people like Florida’s governor. Or the Senator from Texas. Or the minority leader of the Senate. Or some attention whore on Fox News or one of Fox’s minor offspring.
--Ed Asner was one of the good guys. Livened up the union meetings he attended and was on the correct side of most political issues. Asner died this weekend at age 91.
--One day left for the US to get out of Afghanistan. To be followed by the bodies of the American servicemen who died trying to help our Afghan allies out. They arrived at Dover Airbase Sunday and from there will be taken home.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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