“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Time slips quietly into the past and the lessons of yesterday are often forgotten or misunderstood today. It is unfortunate that the greatest lessons that have been taught to us are frequently whitewashed, sanitized, and distorted. When Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech on the Mall in Washington in 1963, he was a pariah to much of white America, a troublemaker and a threat to the establishment. The FBI had a file on him, Southern Democrats hated him and the Klan had him in their cross-hairs.
Today, a statue of Dr. King will be unveiled on the same Mall where he gave his speech. Politicians and pundits will laud his memory and sing the praises of a world without discrimination. That world only exists in the minds of those naive enough to believe that the cause that Dr. King died for has been realized. We live in a country where discrimination is still rampant in our daily lives. While the Dream lives on, there is still a great struggle to be fought before freedom can truly ring for all people – regardless of race, color, creed, gender or sexual orientation.
It is a simple photograph: the stump of a tree that was felled due to a summer storm, its roots surrounded by tiny saplings trying to grow, trying to be like the tree that once was.
William Stephenson Clark
(Photograph by the author.)
Although it was several days until any of us knew, our friend and the founder of Pop Blog died a year ago today. The world has changed a great deal since then, changes that surely Steven would have had choice words to describe. Undoubtedly, our friend would have much to say about Donald Trump, the continuing Health Care debate and our new Representative in Congress, Mike Pompeo, among other topics.
One of the things I like best about Steven was his dry sense of humor, and his ability to display that sense of humor related to most any nonsense in the news of the world.
It doesn’t get any easier to accept Steven’s passing. He was gone far too soon. Each of us have a story or two to tell, a comment from Steven that we remember vividly or just a bit of his sense of humor that still makes us laugh.
I think of Steven often when I hear the music of Bob Dylan. Like me, Steven was a fan of Dylan and appreciated his lyrics and musicianship.
“May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.”
Bob Dylan – 1974
For so many of the people who’s lives were touched by him, Steven will remain for us, forever young.
On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police.
In the hit 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, weatherman Bill Murray’s worst nightmare is to keep waking up in the snowy Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney — home of an overweight, prognosticating rodent named Phil. Murray’s disdain notwithstanding, Phil’s Feb. 2 forecasts have been drawing revelers to Punxsutawney for 125 years.
Today will be no exception, despite a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service.
But not to worry: “Groundhog Day is a lot like a rock concert, but the people are better behaved and there’s a groundhog involved,” Tom Chapin, the paper’s editor told National Geographic News last Groundhog Day eve. “There’s music and entertainment, spoofs of game shows, and people shooting t-shirts and Beanie Babies” into the crowd.
If Phil emerges from his temporary burrow — a simulated tree stump at the rural site of Gobbler’s Knob — and sees his shadow, tradition has it that winter weather will continue for six more weeks. But if Phil doesn’t see his shadow — highly likely, given the grim forecast — then spring temperatures are supposedly just around the corner.
Those who listened to the State of the Union speeches (and those who didn’t) probably know that both sides promised that going forward would be different. That’s correct! The GOP remembers President Obama’s first two years in office, but he’s not going to do that anymore. Everyone remembers bushco and the six full years the GOP controlled the presidency and both chambers of Congress, but they’re not going to do that anymore. We all know discretionary spending freezes and / or cuts won’t be enough. From there we are in the same boat — different ideas for what will fix the problems and how we tackle the challenges.
The biggest difference I see are those who say they’re Republican leaders. The GOP I’m familiar with doesn’t put Palin, Bachmann, Beck, et al, in the role of spokespersons. What are the differences you see?
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~ Plato