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September 29, 2023

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Civil rights issues still exist, problematic

This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr Day and the fifth anniversary of President Obama’s first inauguration.

While I was born almost three years after King’s assassination, his dream has always ringed true with me.

As for Obama, I never dreamed that an African-American would be elected president in our lifetime. I still marvel at this.

While the election of a minority president should have been a truly momentous occasion, many conservatives have now used this historic event to spread harmful propaganda on race.

Make no mistake, this is not organic. These right wingers have now decided that we live in a “post-racial society.”

I am a white, heterosexual, middle-aged man. I am educated. What does this make me in our society? I can tell you what it makes me.

It makes me number one.

The question then becomes “why am I on top in this supposed melting pot?”

The answer is racism. The answer is sexism. The other answers are homophobia and classism. This makes me ashamed to be an American. I did nothing to achieve this top position. This phenomenon needs to stop now.

King died for this cause.

Yes, he was fighting for African-American civil rights, but he believed in equality for everyone, regardless of group.

He knew the powers he was up against: ingrained bigotry is awfully hard vermin to eradicate. Despite knowing this, he fought the fight that needed to be fought.

After his death, other brave people took up the fight and have toiled and bled for what is rightfully theirs.

Just as King battled, so have countless feminists, LGBT activists, union representatives and others for the unspoken for and powerless.

These people define American Exceptionalism, not how many billionaires or missile silos we have. America was conceived as an underdog and underdogs are the best of America. As for conservatives, they despise the underdog.

They envision an America where people like me not only are in power, but hoard even more power. Their policies tell this. Their speeches tell this. Their actions tell this. They are the party of and for the white man. I cannot think of anything more un-American than that.

A “post-racial” society is impossible. Racism is a fact of life; as is sexism, homophobia and classism.

Obama being elected aspresident does not change that, just as King and Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize does not change that. While this is indeed sad, this is fact.

Please beware of any talk coming from conservatives about the “death of racism” or the need to get rid of legislation. Remember what this really is: veiled racism.

The Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act and Senator Rand Paul stating the Civil Rights Act is a violation of our Constitution are proof that the discriminatory power of the white American male is still the rule.

We as Americans must be wary of this and must fight it every day. While progress has been made, this dragon of oppression must be slain.

Respond to Paul at

[email protected]

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