|A long road to freedom|
Of course, a place like Bend, Ore., really has no clue about the racial dynamics of a city in Missouri, which, historically, is one of the most racist states in America.
Check out the Missouri Compromise of 1820 for a little prespective.
Oregon was admitted as a free state in 1859 and for decades it refused to even allow any blacks to move to the state. Yes, Oregon was a totally racist state, like much of America.
As an OPB documentary pointed out, what changed here were a lot of funerals. The old racist guard needed to die out before any racial progress could be made.
This is the picture of America. And, it's not pretty.
Check out the border war between Kansas and Missouri for a little perspective.
For a more modern view, check out this link that shows how the problems in Ferguson were long in the making.
As this country marks the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., it's worth noting that we've come a long way since then, but have so far to go.
President Obama will be in Selma this weekend, unlike the GOP leadership of the House.
It's disconcerting since President Lincoln was the first Republican president and Republicans, historically, were the vanguards of racial progress, particularly in Oregon.
Times have changed. The onetime "Southern Democrats" are now the base of the Republican Party.
In other words, Republicans have embraced their racist constituents.
As a Democrat, I'm grateful that the racist southerners are no longer a key part of the party's base.
On the other hand, it's depressing to realize that the racial problems, that partially define this nation, still flourish.
The way President Obama has navigated this racial minefield is worth another Nobel Peace prize.
It's vital, for the world, that the U.S. confronts its racial problems with openness, honesty and forthrightness.
Judging by what's happening in the Middle East and Africa, it is essential that we project to the rest of the world that we know what our problems are and how we're dealing with them in a constructive manner.
Thank god we have a president who understands our racial problems and, unencumbered by another election cycle in which he would have to compromise his personal feelings, can forcefully come out and express them in a way that can heal this nation.
Not that racists or Republicans or Fox News viewers would give a damn.
But, it's not about them.
It's about the soul of this country and how we can still be a beacon to the rest of the world.