Looking for the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

Time moves so slowly we can only see its effects after the fact. In the 1950s and 60s, Selma, Alabama, placed itself on national display for bigotry and racial hatred. The politicians were full throated in their support for hate. Sixty years later and the town looks like an American Chernobyl. Likewise, Birmingham, Alabama, with Bull Conner using dogs and fire hoses on children so injured the reputation of the city that it has not yet recovered to this day. To the east, Mayor Hartsfield said, “Atlanta was a city too busy to hate.” If you were a business looking for a location for your regional headquarters which spot would you pick?

At one time these sister cities of the south were nearly identical with a half million in population. Only now, Atlanta has more than ten times that population. Vast fortunes have been made and millions of jobs created. Lives improved by better employment opportunities. Would Jimmy Carter have ever been elected President if he had been from Birmingham? Martin Luther King and Jimmy Carter, Atlanta has two Nobel Peace Prize winners and hosted the Olympics. Birmingham has a haunted empty steel mill. Atlanta built an airport and Birmingham built a wall.

The horrific images of the segregated south we shall wear forever like Germans of the Nazi era. Unescapable, so what are you going to do about it? “We have changed our ways! At one time we said, “You must be this White to join the Country Club. Now we say, Were not taking any new members at this time and your nomination must be supported by three current members. That’s in our by-laws!” The white sheets and flaming crosses replaced by three-piece suits and double speak innuendo.

I read about a major bank sued for racial discrimination after running off a former NFL football player trying to open an account with his ten-million-dollar nest egg. I wouldn’t fire them for being bigots; I’d fire them for being damn fools. He didn’t want to move in next door or wanna date your daughter. He just wanted to invest his money with a bank, and you were hired to find depositors. I bet he might even have other NFL friends looking for a place to invest their money. You would be known as the person who brought in all those Black depositors before you were promoted to Vice-President. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

Georgia’s voter suppression laws are destined to be tossed by the court like a three-day old tuna sandwich. But the damage done will be far worse than losing the Master’s Tournament or the All-Star Baseball Game. Atlanta and Georgia will lose its reputation as a forward-looking shining example of the new south and become just another southern redneck town looking for the Edmund Pettis Bridge. No amount of PR and spin can undo the damage of overt and contemptable racism. Did you know, Atlanta is biggest convention hosting city east of the Mississippi? There is also a burgeoning film industry with concert venues, but that will all begin to evaporate away. The conventions will go to Jacksonville or New Orleans and the airport, hotels and business climate in Atlanta will spiral into the ground. Take a day and drive over to Selma and get a good look at your future. Take a good long look and see what your racism and bigotry will buy for your children’s future.

We see these types of behavior from Republican strongholds and pigeonhole it as simply voter suppression. And January 6th was just an unescorted Capitol tour trying to stymie the will of the people. They don’t need bear spray to kill democracy they have attorneys and Faux News. But first, a moment of silence in remembrance of the acres of forests cut down to supply Faux News with enough tissues to cover their issues. Faux complained, “Joe Biden won’t call on us. He calls on everyone else! Whaa! That’s not fair! I’m a reporter with a notebook and a ball point pen and my boss is getting mad at me. “We have on the phone with us today here at Faux and Fuck ups, President Trump. He is going to tell us all about the pet names he’s given to his hemorrhoids. Then he will ramble on with unhinged chatter until we are forced to claim that we lost the connection. But we hope he will call us back here at Faux and Fuck ups again real soon. Sow the wind reap the whirlwind. Get your checkbook out and another box of Kleenex, how many zeros in a billion?

You have the freedom to not like people and to not associate with them. What we don’t have is the right to get in their way. I’ve always said, “If you don’t like polar bears, move to Miami, they won’t trouble you there.” The Georgia law isn’t an attempt to turn back the clock it, is an attempt to destroy the clock in the new old-fashioned way. Can’t bring water to voters in line in the name of protecting water supplies perhaps? Saving paper and the taxpayers the cost of printing those expensive ballots? Governor Brian Kemp earns himself a place in the pantheon of southern politicians like Strom Thurmond. A man with a robe and no hood, destined for the ash heap of history in the scorn pile.

Unchristian, undemocratic, unamerican and unethical. “Mister speaker I rise today to propose that all Georgia voters must be wearing a Rolex watch when they cast their votes. And to protect the voters from terrorism, no parking shall be allowed at any Georgia polling station. I call my proposal the “Let’s destroy the business economy and tax revenue elimination act for the discouragement of growth. What do you think?”

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the mount with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the genuine discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, pray together; to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom forever, knowing that we will be free one day.

And I say to you today my friends, let freedom ring. From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

Martin Luther King

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