Last night, I took the family to the movies to watch Selma. Having lived
through that era with our own redneck microcosm of racist violence in
Cobb County, including living in the same city as the bastard that killed
those little girls in the Birmingham church, much of the movie struck
a chord, struck home.
I suspect that it is hard for younger people who didn't live through
such overt hatred to appreciate just how overt it was. Of course, younger
people are living through
Michael Brown with their hands in the air and Eric Garner's "I can't breathe"
and all points in between where young black men are murdered just as coldly
as Jimmy Lee Jackson, that young black man in the Selma diner.
I don't know that today's attrocities attract any more attention,
either. Obviously, the press and president eventually took note of the
terrorism that was a daily experience in the South. Today, the coverage
and attention seems to take the mock "fair and balanced" if
not an outright hostile tone to the naked disparity between an unarmed
man and a well armed policeman. Let me just guess whose going to win that one.
Back when I was a kid in the 60's, growing up in Cobb County, a black
boy would get beaten to a pulp if he so much as talked to a white girl.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me that it took family law until 1967
in Loving v Virginia to end anti- miscegenation laws in the United States,
two years after the Selma march and passage of the Voting Rights Act.
It still blows me away that our government had the hubris to legislate
who consenting adults could marry.
Now we look back upon that time in disbelief, like we had been living in
medieval times. Many, many interracial couples have fallen in love, married
and provided us with very important people, our present President of the
United States being one of them.
Jumping forward to 2015, government still has the hubris to legislate family
law on who consenting adults can marry. Only now, it isn't black marrying
white, it's man marrying man and woman marrying woman. I suppose the
anti-homosexual animus isn't as prevelant. (Try to convince Matthew
Sheppard) but the absolute denial of equal rights to homosexuals, the
prohibition of them enjoying the same legal benefits of marriage that
heterosexual couples enjoy, is Jim Crow, just with a different set of glasses.
When I wrote last, I briefly mentioned our trial last week. In Dekalb County
we tried the case that could very well make Georgia the 37th State to
declare unconstitutional the denial of same sex marriages. In other words,
our case could very well be the case which makes same sex marriages legal
We tried it without fanfare. We tried it without any undue attention. If
the goal is the change the law, you want to take the most effective means
to get there.
Our Judge has the case now. As he said to me, grinning, during my closing
argument, this is like a Bar Exam question. He gets it. I expect his ruling any day.
Dr. King halted his march across the Edmund Pettus bridge until he had
federal court support. So it is also in Georgia that the sea change shall
begin with the stroke of a pen.
Pray for us. Pray for yourself. Keep your fingers crossed. Whatever you
do to help the vibes that be cause the waters to move.
As Dr. King noted from the steps of the Montgomery Capital:
"If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the
world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction
era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white
man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried
out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim
Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he
was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. And he ate
Jim Crow. And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities
that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs
on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings.
And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, their last outpost
of psychological oblivion."
Discrimination in any form weakens us all. Divide and conquer is an age
old strategy that still works well. "How long? Not long. Because
the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
For us, today, division won't work. We shall stand united. Jim Crow's
glasses in any perverted prescription shall not bend our eyes away from
the truth. We shall overcome.