I was driving out in the country late yesterday  afternoon. I spend so much of my time in the city that I sometimes fail to take in the natural world around me. Perhaps it was just because of the way I was feeling during that window of time, but the scenery was just majestic. Clouds were sailing along in the brilliant blue sky like dolphins in an inverted sea. The corn stalks and the leaves on the trees seemed to be an almost iridescent green. The grass was like a closely cropped carpet stretching for miles. And the temperature was perfect and pleasant.
      It is moments like this that I can appreciate God's majesty and feel and know that there is a higher power that rules over the earth and its dominion -- including humankind. And in my minds eye, I can almost see the cycles of life passing by, how the scars that are inflicted on God's green earth by pollution and plunder will be healed on God's timeline, not ours. It is in moments like this that I am both fearful and joyous by God's majesty. And it reaffirms my belief that in His/Her own time and place, God will make the hilly places flat and will ensure that justice rules the earth. When I don't believe, it is  because I expect these things on my timeline and not God's. And when  I understand these things, in that fleeting moment of wisdom, my soul soars to the heavens.
      I needed a little bit of soaring because I have to admit I've been a little down for the past two weeks. Wasn't it just a couple of years ago that we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Brown versus Board of Education that declared that separate but equal was unconstitutional? The Brown decision, more than any single event, signaled the beginning of the modern civil rights era. The Brown decision led to the integration -- with various degrees of success -- of our public lives whether that was through our schools, our public accommodations, the voting booth or our housing. It was a recognition that "We Are America, All of Us."
      It seems so cold and ironic that three years later the U.S. Supreme Court with Justice John Roberts as the chief justice has begun the dismantling of the Brown decision. In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision on June 29 struck down the Seattle and Louisville  school districts integration plans that took into account the students' racial status when making assignments to schools. While Justice Anton Kennedy, the swing vote on the court, modified the impact of the ruling through his concurring opinion, this decision is the first-step to dismantling most of the social gains that have been won over the last 70 years as this very conservative Supreme Court attempts to turn back the hands of time to 1937.
      What is frightening is that most of the conservatives on the court are relatively young Euro-American men --  some would place Justice Clarence Thomas, the only African American on the Court in those ranks -- and may be around for two decades making decisions about how we live our lives. While conservatives have often lambasted the Supreme Court for being activist and for "legislating from the bench," it is now the conservatives who are legislating from the bench.
      In his concurring opinion, Clarence Thomas said that the dissenters would "constitutionalize today's faddish social theories . . . if our history has taught us anything, it has taught us to beware of elites bearing racial theories." Well, I wonder what Thomas has to say about the "faddish social theories" of America's past that said African Americans were inferior and used this fabrication and lie to deprive African Americans of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for hundreds of years. Would Thomas admit they existed and that much of the social and economic order of contemporary American, the social order that      has African Americans earning about 70% of what Euro-Americans earn? What would Clarence Thomas do about that? Is it a faddish social theory to believe in justice, to believe that a wrong should be made right?
      I fear that this decision is only the beginning of a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that will justify and create a "separate, but equal" social, economic and housing structure in the United States, a structure with fewer individual rights. While this structure will not be totally based on race, it will have that historical racial basis that no one likes to talk about and conservatives pretend does not exist. It is the beginning of the separating of the American people into more of a caste structure where rich do not have to meet poor while enjoying the fruits of their labor.
      This new Supreme Court decision could very well become the "Plessey versus Ferguson" decision of our time that will once again justify the "separate but equal" doctrine. Now is not the time to become depressed. Now is the time to seek justice through civic engagement and participation in the voting process. What you do now will matter in the future.
      Jim Crow Jr. is coming of age. Work now to send him back to where is daddy is, in the ancient past.
July 11, 2007
STORIES AND COLUMNS


*
The Literary Divide: Bush pardon of Scooter Libby smacks of hypocricy,
by Paul Barrows

*
And Still I Rise: The story of Arthur Jones, Milwaukee's First Black Top Cop (3),
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Asset Builders of America's Youth Power Academy of Finance:
Taking stock of finance
,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Asian Wisconzine:
The Dalai Lama in Madison (Part 2 of 2)
,
by Heidi M. Pascual
(
www.asianwisconzine.com)

*
Simple Things:
If at first
,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

*
Politicas de hoy: Apaga la tele! (2),
por Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

*
Voices: Free Scooter Libby!,
by Jean Daniels

*
Project JAMAD trip to Jamaica: Touching the heart,
by Andrea Weiss

*
Mt. Zion Baptist Church Ministry Celebration,
by Jonathan Gramling

* Following their Dream,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
China Dispatch: Escape from Xuan Cheng,
by Andrew Gramling

*
Elements of Change's Hip Hop Revival: Old meets New Skool,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
A spicy gumbo of Zydeco,
by Jonathan Gramling

* Letter to the Editor


HOMEPAGE

ARCHIVES
Vol. 2 No. 14                   July 11, 2007
Bluesman Bobby Bryan
No Longer a Stranger to Madison's Blues Scene
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                   The rise of Jim Crow, Jr.