The Right Side Of History
Progress. I love it. It is what has brought human kind to where we are today. It is the reason I can type this blog and reach potentially billions of other humans of all races, colors, creeds and religions. Progress is why after nearly 100 years of Jim Crow in the southern United States, I can walk relatively freely. It is way I am not owned by anyone or counted as someone's property. Nor I am, by law, obliged to use a separate washroom, water fountain or sit in the back of public transportation. It is why women are no longer seen as property under the US Constitution and why they have the right to vote. Progress is moving forward. Progress is moving into the future. Progress is forward thinking. Progress is thinking differently. Progress is a better tomorrow.
Regression. I despise it. Regression is what caused 400 years of forced labor, oppression and violence which was directed at one group of people because of the color of their skin. Regression is what continued to tell people of color they were less that 1/5 a human being. Regression is what assisted in killing nearly 700,000 Americans as some of them fought to "preserve a way of life." Regression is what told mothers, daughters and sisters that they did not have the "brains or temperament for voting." Regression is what told people of different races who loved one another that they could not marry because their unions were "against the biblical teachings." Regression is what is telling people of the same sex that their love is not worthy of legal marriage because their unions are "against biblical teachings." Regression is what interned thousands of United States citizens of Japanese descent during World War II. Regression sees the murder of innocent children at a school by the hand of a disturbed individual with access to guns and answers that we need more guns to protect ourselves. Regression is what crashed 2 planes into the Twin Towers and what murdered 12 artists and journalist at some magazine offices in France. Regression is moving backward. Regression lives in the past. Regression is scared of the future and is willing to do whatever it takes to stifle progress. Regression knows that change is hard and scary and uses that to ironically progress its cause. Regression is dangerous. Regression is ignorance.
The question on this MLK day, is which one do you choose? Progress or regress?
The Hero Question
Who are your heroes? Are they the ones holding the water cannons or the nonviolent ones being sprayed with them? Are they the ones holding the attacking dogs or the nonviolent ones being attacked by those dogs? Is it the woman who said I am too tired and will not get to the back of the bus or is it the bus driver, police and mayor who put her in jail? Are they the The Little Rock Nine or the people that were opposed to African-Americans and whites going to the same schools? Are your heroes ones that believed in civil rights for all or the ones that cheered and chanted "Segregation Now, Tomorrow and Forever"? Are they the suffragettes that marched for the right to vote or are they the ones who opposed them? Are they the 4 killed protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State or are they the Nations Guardsmen that shot? Is your hero the guy who attempted restore the dominance of Germany by creating a common "enemy," and whose blind hatred resulted in the Holocaust and threw the whole world into chaos or the people, countries and brave soldiers that opposed him?
Now ask yourself, who are the heroes of the future? The President trying to progress the lives of Americans through affordable healthcare or the ones opposed to it? Matthew 5:5 says, the meek shall inherit the earth. So are heroes of the future be the ones who support the most privileged of us all or the ones who "cape" (like a superhero) for the least privileged? Will the heroes be the billionaire on a mission to reduce the amount of gun violence in our country or the head of the NRA who wants more? Will they be the members of Westboro Baptist Church with their "God Hates Fags" signs or the people that actively stand against such bigotry? Will they be the ones opposed to against same sex marriage or those who are willing to march and protest for equal rights under the law? Will they be the Bill Gates' of the who have donated millions of their own money to stopping things like the spread of malaria around the world or will they be people like the Koch Brothers who spend billions creating political divides and fostering mistrust where none should exist? Will the heroes be those that preach hate and kill in the name of religion or the ones who confront them and fight them for freedom of all?
For me, the answers are simple. History is not kind to opposition in the face of progress and I always stand with progress. My heroes progress.
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. -Benjamin Franklin