I know I have been quiet lately. Too many things to think about with a less than enthusiastic attitude to write about the same things over and over again. But I need to begin with something that I have always thought about when I was a kid. Only the people in my generation and older would know what the Cold War was like in the 80’s before the Berlin Wall came down and the old Soviet Union was dissolved. Nuclear War was a reality in our minds.
While I never had to go through the bomb drills that my parents went through, I still had a very healthy fear of a full nuclear strike. I was convinced that hatred between the United States and the U.S.S.R would one day boil over and the cockroches will end up ruling the earth. There was always something going on that the US needed to be involved with and yet there were either scandals like Iran/Contra or the fact that we allowed Iraq to use chemical weapons (and Ronald Regan is the greatest president to some people). I never understood the need to be in such conflicts when poverty is so rampant around our own country.
Yesterday many people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Many people spoke including President Obama. I respect the legacy and the significance of Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. and this date, but I was not exactly excited to hear anyone speak. The fact of the matter is that the progress of equal rights for all has been slow. We are often under the illusion that things are better when statistically things are no better or maybe even worse than the civil rights era. So we can go ahead and live in a world where things seem OK when things really aren’t.
Now we stand on a brink of another war. A war that really has nothing to do with us. We voted for a change and what we are getting are speeches about change. I feel foolish now because so many times in the past I have talked to my students and colleagues about global citizenship and how social media has made the world smaller and yet we are still operating in the age old notion of colonialism where we teach the natives to behave for the benefit of the world. Meanwhile, the word around us is being distracted by the appropriation of a twerking Miley Cyrus in a gentrified Brooklyn.
I am also quite sure that there the though of the United Stated being the heroes who came in to save the day. Leaders of the free world that come swooping in like Superman to save Lois from Zod with no real recognition that the battle will destroy more than it saves and in the end we all wonder why we even paid for any of it (Yes, I am still bitter about the movie).
Where is the dream? Where are the little black children holding hands with the little white children? Dr. King was a well known pacifist that knew wars lead to the poor heading out to battle. These days, the Armed Forces will pay for college if you give them a certain amount of years of service and of course there is a nice check to live on assuming you can get rid of your PSD. I don’t recall that part of the dream where we invade other countries in pursuit of justice especially when justice doesn’t seem to exist much at home.