Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thoughts on MLK Day

Racism is never leaving us. But that doesn't mean our attempts to rid it from the public consciousness has no meaning. There will be incremental changes, at best. Like a black President. We celebrate the idea that America elected a minority to the highest office in the land, as well we should, but it is a mark against us that it only took 200+ years to see it happen. I remember well following the President's election that pundits and journalists alike were throwing around the idea that our nation had entered a "post racial" era. Being an idealist has its moments, it can enrich your principles and give you a basis from which you can fight for issues important to you, but there are moments when idealism makes a group of people sound like dreamy fools living in willful denial of reality.

We talk about ending racism. We talk about ending poverty. Winning the war on drugs. The harsh and unbreakable truth is that there is no end to class warfare and poverty, there is no final victory against mind-altering substances, and we cannot erase racism from the human consciousness. Let us jettison the idea of sweeping victories. The nobility in our struggles for self-improvement as a species isn't found in grand visions of ultimate victory, but in the rewarding, bloody, tear-stained struggle to leave this world better than we found it.

I'm not offering anyone any Kool-Aid. I believe that so long as three people are left living on American soil, two of the three will find a reason to exclude the third. My children will not be raised in that manner; they will be inclusive and, as a result, my grandchildren and so on. They will touch others lives with their tolerance and this will be what I give to my nation and my world. However, they will navigate through a nation populated by the intolerant, the arrogant, the murderous and larcenous, qualities not exclusive to one political party. If there is a sliver of hope in this darkness, it is the hope that we can teach our children to rise above the meat-market of American life and mold them into something finer than the shrieking mess we have allowed ourselves to become.

Peace to you all. It's in short supply.