Sunday, July 5, 2015
I get tired of people that miss the point.
The other day someone asked me why I think the Klan should be able to hold a rally. I told them for the same reason that the New Black Panther Party should be able to.
And the Communists and the Gays and the Slobovian Liberation Front, and, yes, the dreaded Illinois Nazis.
The right to assemble is for everyone, and not just one side. It is for everyone irregardless of your view.
When one group tries to take someone else's rights away they give government a leg up to taking THEIR rights away.
I learned this as a youngster from my father.
This is an old memory and the details are not there but the principle is. I believe it was in 1968 but I am not sure. I do remember that there was a to-do over the ballot for the '68 election.
George C. Wallace was at the time one of those mad men on the courthouse steps. He was Mister Segregation then, segregation now, segregation forever.
He wasn't too popular in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the powers that be were trying to keep his name off of the ballot.
There was a petition to put Wallace's name on the ballot and somewhere along the line dad and I ran into someone circulating it.
He asked Dad who picked up a pen and signed it. I was aghast.
The guy with the petition asked Dad if he could expect his vote in the upcoming election.
"Certainly not," said Dad. "I'm not voting for that dirty bastard. I signed it simply because I believe people have the right to vote for him."
The petitioner looked confused and a little weirded out but said nothing. To him what Dad had just done made no sense.
A few days later at a gathering a guy up the street named Ed mentioned that Wallace trying to get on the ballot and how they were trying to fight it in Boston. He said there was a petition going around.
"I know. I signed it," said Dad." The place went silent and everyone turned and looked at Dad.
"I never knew you were a segregationist," said Ed,
"That's a cheap shot," Dad retorted. "I didn't say I was voting for him. I'm not. I simply think the people in Boston are wrong in trying to keep him off the ballot. He has every right to run. Boston is trying to deny him his right to be a candidate."
"Yeah, but he's..." said Ed.
"A segregationist? So what? I don't care what he is. Those clowns in Boston are trying to deny him his rights," said Dad. "They're behaving just like the people in the south were when they didn't let the colored people vote. You remember I supported the Freedom Riders?"
The place was quiet for a minute as people sat there thinking. The silence was broken.
"You know, you're right," someone said to Dad. "They are trying to cheat Wallace. Personally I can't stand the guy but they are trying to cheat him."
"So if we let them get away with this, what's next?" asked Dad. "Most of you are Democrats. How would you like it if they decided to keep Humphrey off the ballot?"
"Yeah, but the man's an out and out segregationist." said Ed.
Thad spoke up. He was a bear of a man with a deep voice and spoke slow. It sounded slow but belied a sharp mind.
"Justice denied anyone is justice denied all of us. Is that the way you see it?" Asked Thad.
"Damned right," said Dad.
"Good point," said Thad. His wife looked at him thoughtfully.
"How about the anti-war protesters on the Common?" asked Ed.
"How about them? I don't like 'em. They got a right to be there, though." answered Dad. "Even though I don't like them very much I'll support their right to be there."
"How do you explain this to Ray and Elsie?" asked Thad's wife. Ray and Elsie were a black couple that lived nearby.
"Simple," said Dad. "You tell them you signed the petition for the same reason you supported the Freedom Riders a few years back. You signed it to insure all Americans are given their rights. Not just a few. Ray's as sharp as a tack. He'll understand and so will Elsie."
And that is the story of how my father saw things.
Somewhere along the line his son picked up on it.
I don't even remember if Wallace got on the ballot but I do remember this part well.
Incidentally, Nixon won the general election in '68.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY