Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Selma: discriminating against white people since 1965

Tell me, could anyone but Fox 'News' turn Selma, Alabama, into a story about how a white man was discriminated against? It's almost funny, isn't it? Oh, we poor white men! When will the suffering end?

Of course, the New York Times didn't crop George W. Bush out of the picture. The photographer provided the photo they used, which didn't include the edges of the crowd:
The photographer, Doug Mills, provided Sullivan with more detail.

"Bush was in the bright sunlight," he explained. "I did not even send this frame because it’s very wide and super busy and Bush is super-overexposed because he was in the sun and Obama and the others are in the shade."

Still, the narrative of white victimhood will continue at Fox. As you know, we straight white men are the only people to really suffer from discrimination these days. (LOL)

Then there's CNN, where the focus of the story was, as usual, on their own technology. But then, both CNN and Fox are in the 'news' business - loosely speaking - to make money. Fox has an equal interest in pushing right-wing ideology, but if they weren't making lots of money from the gullible old geezers who watch the network, they wouldn't be doing it.

CNN is apparently relying on gizmos and gee-whiz technology to attract viewers. That doesn't work nearly as well, I suspect.

Anyway, to get back to commemorating the Selma march, here's the full text of President Obama's remarks. Now, I don't like the religious stuff. Obama serves all Americans, not just the Christians. (Admittedly, given the loony stuff continually spewed from the right-wing - Obama is a Kenyan, a Muslim, a terrorist who hates America - he might be wise to include it.)

But most of it is great:
The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities – but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before. ...

As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them. Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism was challenged.

And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place?

What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people – the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many – coming together to shape their country’s course?

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals? ...

The American instinct that led these young men and women to pick up the torch and cross this bridge is the same instinct that moved patriots to choose revolution over tyranny. It’s the same instinct that drew immigrants from across oceans and the Rio Grande; the same instinct that led women to reach for the ballot and workers to organize against an unjust status quo; the same instinct that led us to plant a flag at Iwo Jima and on the surface of the Moon.

It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.

That’s what makes us unique, and cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity. ...

Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African-Americans, but for every American. Women marched through those doors. Latinos marched through those doors. Asian-Americans, gay Americans, and Americans with disabilities came through those doors. Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past. ...

We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, or that racial division is inherent to America. If you think nothing’s changed in the past fifty years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties. Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed. Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago. To deny this progress – our progress – would be to rob us of our own agency; our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.

Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes. We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true. We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character – requires admitting as much. ...

That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American as others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing; we are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day. You are America. Unconstrained by habits and convention. Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed. And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.

Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person.

Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can. It is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

All Americans should hear that speech. Almost none will. CNN undoubtedly spent more time talking about their own network's accomplishments. And I'm sure more people will hear Fox 'News' complaining about it than will hear, or read, President Obama's speech.

They'll hear excerpts, no doubt, but a lot shorter excerpts than what I've posted here. And this is just an excerpt. But for me, it hits the right buttons - the buttons that will make the right-wing scream in outrage,... but also make them cover it up, as much as they can.

If America listens, the right-wing is toast.

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