Monday, October 25, 2010

Generational Voices

Chris Matthews makes much of the racism in today’s politics, especially in the Tea Party, and is worried about that reflects upon the direction that this nation is going. He’s concerned that the election of Barack Obama was not the step forward that we hoped it would be.

I think it was. While I am not going to assert that we are where we need to be, I believe that we have made more progress than is visible at this moment, and that what we are seeing is the last gasp of the older generation. Look at the Tea Party rallies, with their signs of bigotry and anger; there are damned few young people in them. This is a geriatric crowd, with a few self-serving demagogues stoking their fear.

Young people do not feel the same way that the older generation does, and it was in large part the younger generation that elected Barack Obama.

It is the nature of things that when the young bull challenges the old bull, the old bull fights back, and I think that is what we are seeing now. In nature the old bull often wins the first battle, but it never wins the last one.

There is a movie, one of my favorites, Remember the Titans. It is a story of young men of different races placed together in common cause of playing football and overcoming the division of bigotry. That movie is fiction, but I have seen it happen in real life. When people are placed together, working together to achieve a common goal, they learn that they are not different.

That is what civil rights legislation and affirmative action are all about. They are not the solution themselves, but are a necessary step toward the solution. They place people together. In schools they place children together with the common goal of learning, and they allow them to learn that they are not different. In the workplace they place people together with the common goal of the working environment.

Viewed as the solution, such legislation can be seen as failure; we have it in place and the social environment is not where we want it to be. Seen as a tool for creating the solution, these things are working, because our social environment is changing for the better.

Tomorrow’s social voice is already starting to be heard; it made itself heard in the election of 2008. While the old bull is fighting back now, we have heard the voice of the future and we know what it says.

1 comment:

Bartender Cabbie said...

very interesting. I had not thought of it that way before.

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