August 21, 2016

Some things never change

Ramblings on the value of a life and the perceived differences in humans...
It wasn't unique to Dallas, although the city's recent past reputation as a Klan haven brought much attention to the white-bread communities north of the Trinity. In those days the financing behind the fear mongering and hatred came from a pair of born-into-privilege brothers from an oil rich family (sound familiar?). Dallas was their home, but the virulence was all around. Dallas north of downtown was friendly territory for the John Birch Society. What was going on in Big D didn't come to my home. It was revealed to me later as I learned to dig deeper than the pabulum fed to us in carefully edited textbooks.
I grew up out in West Texas; in the middle of it all, or so it seemed at the time. Everywhere you looked across the dusty Texas ranch land and oil fields there were hand-scrawled placards hanging from barbed wire fences and professionally painted road signs shouting "Impeach Earl Warren!" I didn't know who Warren was or what impeach meant at the time, but I did know the seething hatred that could be found whenever a group of old, white men got together over cups of coffee down at Star's Cafe. It was a little later as I haired over and learned to drive that I learned how widespread was the evil. Just to the east of Dallas was a town with a banner hanging over the main street... bragging that it had "The Blackest Dirt, The Whitest People." Just to the west a diminutive but well cared for sign under an oak tree on the courthouse square made the bold claim that "The Last Nig*** Hung in Texas Was Hung From This Tree..." These are gone now, but the fear and hatred from which the emotion was born is still evident. In their place we see anti-Obama and increasingly anti-Hillary signs; we hear a constant barrage from the pulpits and from hate radio about the Muslim usurper in the White House and the greedy wench wanting to force "four more years" into our bleached white existence. It isn't a whole lot different now than it was in 1963. Only the targets have changed... the hate remains the same. Considering the seemingly never ending hatred of the "others" endemic in this state, in retrospect the Kennedy assassination seems almost inevitable. Much analysis has been done on that dreadful event... the murder of a president and the days immediately following that fateful November morning in 1963, but there hasn't been enough attention paid to what lead up to it. The linked article entitled A Month Before JFK's Assassination, Dallas Right Wingers Attack Adlai Stevenson - Remembering the ferment in the "City of Hate" was penned for the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination by Bill Minutaglio, It offers a glimpse of how it was then. I don't see it being much different five decades later. Who will die, when and where seem to be the only things left unanswered. Dallas has mellowed much since those hate-filled decades, but the hate-filled people are still with us... they've just moved to the suburbs and surrounding counties. Witness the witless politicians they send to the Statehouse and to Congress; interesting folks like Louie Gohmert, Joe Barton, Dan Patrick, and Tony Tinderholt. Children aren't born hating. Hatred is learned, and in Texas it is learned at the knee of the father, from all the hate radio jocks, and in the pews on Sunday. ~~~