This morning we're listening to a radio interview as I drove my wife to work. A woman is sharing her upbringing, career and political work. Her mother emigrated from a Caribbean island, her father from western Africa. She shared her ethnocentric point of view (as most of us would do). People easily identify with culture, society, religion, ethnicity, nationality; exterior things.
I was amazed to hear the rest of a famous political phrase when she quoted a man named Barry Goldwater. I cannot find the entire quote. Barry is quoted having said “you cannot legislate morality...” However, the rest of the quote I heard this morning continued loosely stating “...it is a condition of the heart.” Barry referred to the issue of hatred, racism, indifference and ignorance (heart conditions) which prevail regardless of segregation legislation at the time. He voted opposite his bright statement.
Barry Goldwater lost the presidential election. A man named Martin Luther King then said this:
“Another indication that progress is being made was found in the recent presidential election in the United States. The American people revealed great maturity by overwhelmingly rejecting a presidential candidate who had become identified with extremism, racism, and retrogression. The voters of our nation rendered a telling blow to the radical right. They defeated those elements in our society which seek to pit white against Negro and lead the nation down a dangerous Fascist path.”[source]Despite this being spoken a generation ago, we still experience this Today. Despite 'progress' in the form of legislation checking hiring preferences, hate-laws to respond to ethnically motivated hate-crimes, and a 'black' (as if people are colors) man occupying the highest public office, we still hear hateful rhetoric called 'truth,' and radical solutions labeled “making Amerika great again.”
Is THIS the “great Amerika” some people want?