Friday, September 18, 2009

The Silent Years

Jimmy Carter swept up a furor of anger a few days ago, when he talked about the furor of anger at anti-everything protests recently. (Check out his words - he didn't say that everyone who protests is racist. He said, "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man." Some people are mad at the word "overwhelming." But it modifies "intensely demonstrated animosity," making it still only a slice of the people protesting.)

What's interesting about Jimmy Carter's comments to me is that it dovetails with my thought flashes recently. I keep thinking about Jackie Robinson. Started about a week ago. Remember that slice of history? When Branch Rickey met with Jackie Robinson back in 1945, he made a pact with him: for three years, Jackie Robinson would not respond to the jeers and slurs made against him. After three years, he could choose what he wanted to do. And after three years, he was beloved by many, wasn't he? It is how baseball began to integrate. It is also how the country got ready to integrate. It wasn't until 1953 that the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education. Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson played an important role in this country's ability and willingness to desegregate.

I bet if Jackie Robinson were alive today, he'd agree with Jimmy Carter. After all, spewed hatred and one-liners look like they're coming from some place other than reasoned debate.

Here is a potent article by Henry Aaron, remembering Jackie Robinson. It gave me tears.

No comments: