we know their decision. we read the words. now we wonder how the words change the climate of our living.
the 1954 brown decision held a hand up out of the abyss of humiliation that was segregation and altered america.
but where to now?
justice breyer: "this cannot be justified. [the court] distorts precedent, misapplies the relevant constitutional principles...and it undermines brown's promise. this is a decision the nation will come to regret."
"i must dissent."
jack greenberg, who worked for the plaintiffs in 1954: "preposterous."
william t. coleman, another lawyer 53 years back: "the majority opinion is 100% wrong."
five men have cracked open a half century of law. what will come out of this wreckage? is this a soft entry into the new white supremacy? have these five forgotten the police batons, the snarling dogs, the fire hoses, the noose and the fire? will this decision choke our air like a malign smog?
martin luther king, jr. preached: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." our everywhere includes a million desks in 50,000 schools. our everywhere encompasses karl rove's blackberry, alberto gonzales' hidden papers, dick cheney's locked safe, the moldy wards of walter reed, the secret spying, and yes, the blooded streets of baghdad.
injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
will the vile past presage a dire future? we visited the deep south and asked 88 year old elmore peckerwood of stonewall junction. "good decision? hell, yeah. i'm bringin out the ole seperate water fountains from out back. we'll have three bubblers this time around - one white, one black, and one fer them mexies."
across the county in lee's landing,elderly clarence neckchafe remarked "glad ta see them librals gettin hosed again. i say the judge thomas is my kinda nigra. i think that ole chicken coop over thar what use ta be the colored school could be spruced up and put ta use again."
our final trek to the past occured in a dim parlor at the home of famous tia fonia, renowned psychic and seance mistress. after long dark silence a wavering ectoplasmic figure appeared. we gasped. it was the 1963 specter of george c. wallace appearing in a doorway. the ghost stiffened and shrieked "re-segregation now! re-segregation forever!"