Friday, December 17, 2010
"Born in the US.A."
I was born a Negro in 1950's America. In that era my family, my community had no real rights that anyone need respect. We awaited the Second Emancipation. We were invisible as Richard Wright said. So were women, homosexuals, and other inconvenient peoples.
Invisible, absolutely, and completely.
Jump ahead half a century, and a bit, and things are slightly different. Granted the ideologically zealous on the left say not enough has changed, on the right they say far too much. Like most I live in the middle of this American conversation.
A "conversation" with a body count.
Sometimes when I stand in the middle of Times Square , and see dark faces on the many video billboards I am moved. Remember I am from the invisible generation. I like to think how white time travelers from 1952 would react to all this.
Everywhere they looked they'd see us. That is they wouldn't see themselves as 99% of the crowd. I imagine they'd be confused, and outraged.
Never mind. Me I'm happy to see it. Happy to see all the hues of humanity on the streets, and media of these times. Negros all over the digital graphics as far as the eye can see. Imagine
Mind you this means nothing to the kids. They were born into it. All colors, and types are part of their everyday world,..always have been. However to us. To the last of the Jim Crow generations both Black, and White it means alot.
It means the country is evolving. Accepting more, and more of the world as it really is. The Republic, and the Constitution evolves.
It grows, and changes, and includes more of the people it represents despite all of the contradictions, and the quiet body counts. As unjust, uniformed, and violent as this country can be I still believe in it. ...when I calm down.
Yes I was raging, frothing, and generally going nuts here for most of the year. Still like I say I believe in this madhouse.
Why? Because it can, and has changed.
The ability for slow yet positive change is built into the system. Despite what it looks like from the outside. Yeah corporate bandits, illiterate social movements, and crooked politicos rule now, but they will fall. I don't know how or when, but they will.
Don't think so? Ask the Politburo in the Kremlin,..oops that's right. It's a Pizza Hut now.
I still call myself an American, and I still identify as a Progressive, because progress is still possible, and yes again inevitable regardless of how dark, and vicious these times are. Yeah they're trying to take food stamps away from immigrant children. Vicious times indeed.
Change happened in this nation within my lifetime. Indeed it took more than half my life for me to be acknowledged as a whole person. That is both sad, and hopeful at the same time.
PS, I was in America once. It was only for a month or so, but I was there.
Just after 9/11 this nation was united. All of the bickering irreconcilable parts of it came together as one nation. The, Great American Tribe awoke for a short time. That underneath all the mayhem is who we really are.
I miss America. I really liked being there. In my unscientific polling so does everybody I've asked over the years. "We want our country back." Maybe the Tea Party folks speak more truth than they realize.
We all want that warmth of being one people. E pluribus unum Latin for "Out of many, one",the motto of this Republic. I want to go back to America. I think we all do.