plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

In my blog post (September 30: where I stand on sitting & kneeling), I wrote, in part: Colin Kaepernick and others continue to protest against racial disparity and police brutality by kneeling at the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. I find it curious that some who disagree with the protesters seem…far more outraged about what they consider disrespect and denigration of our national anthem and flag than they are concerned about the long-playing and unresolved issues of racial animus in our country…

This morning, I was led by some motivation – at dawn’s light, not quite conscious to me, but perhaps, as I’ve thought through the day about that initial visceral stirring, it was, is the inspiration of deepest remembrance and resonance – to reread Martin Luther King, Jr’s., Letter from Birmingham City Jail.

Written on April 16, 1963, King, jailed for participating in civil rights protests, addressed his epistle as a lengthy rebuttal to liberal Alabama clergy who had published an open letter urging that the fight for racial integration be allowed to run its due course in the local and federal court systems and warning that the nonviolent resistance movement would incite civil unrest. In part, King wrote: You deplore the demonstrations that are presently taking place in Birmingham. But I am sorry that your statement did not express a similar concern for the conditions that brought the demonstrations into being. I am sure that each of you would want to go beyond the superficial social analyst who looks merely at effects and does not grapple with underlying causes…

Protests against the status quo stir counter-protests. Always. So, today, 53½ years after King’s observation, anyone, even, I daresay, the casual, though not indifferent, the diffident, though honest spectator might sense some sorrow that we, as a nation, haven’t moved far enough to peer beneath the protest to pinpoint and proceed to act on the cause.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

2 thoughts on “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

  1. Hadn’t read this letter in years!! It’s as applicable today as it was all those years ago. I pray we will eventually get to the cause, but who knows…. We need another MLK!!

    Maybe it’s me, but since both parties nominated their candidates we seem to have taken not one or two, but dozens of steps backwards!! Can we move forward again and take action as MLK suggests? Ask me after November.

    Thanks Paul!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loretta, I am not sanguine about our current and continually eroding, I think, climate of common cause in our country about the amelioration of our racial difficulties.

      And our primary political parties have not nominated as candidates folk who, I believe, can instill a desire in the hearts of the American populace for union, verily, for reunion from our distant stances and disparate perspectives. Come 11/8, we will elect one or the other, but I am not hopeful of less division, but rather dismayed that we will have more.

      Thus, again I say, my hope IS God, which is to say, come what may (AND even if I don’t – never – see it for myself!), I believe that divine benevolence is working through all we behold to bring about a gracious will. As Martin said, “The moral arm of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I rest/trust in the truth of this hope.

      Liked by 1 person

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