|CAN WE JUDGE A PERSON BY THEIR OWN DEEDS?|
By Bob Weaver
More than a quarter-million people came to the nation's capital on August 28, 1963, to protest discrimination, joblessness and economic inequality faced by millions of African Americans.
Many consider the march and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech a turning point in the civil rights movement.
Sixty years later, although progress has been made, the nation remains racially and politically divided, much of it linked to America having a black president, with outrageous prejudice toward many different races, minorities and religions, unfortunately fueled by the presidency of Donald J. Trump.
Trump's appeal as a pop culture figure escalated after riding the cultural lie that President Barrack Obama was not an American citizen, and other appealing conspiracy theories.
His presidency was largely marked to be against those
not like us, bringing new life to prejudice and bigotry, seeking to destroy the principled welcome light of Lady Liberty, demeaning the history that we are all immigrants.
Perhaps most damaging was the hijacking of the Republican party.
The roots of prejudice and bigotry run deep in Appalachian culture, not trusting those on the other side of the mountain, "not like us."
Ignored are the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In my youth in the Village of Hur, the Hicks family who lived in one of two Calhoun black communities, had "learned their place," always refusing invitations by my mother to come inside our four-room house to warm themselves or have a cup of coffee.
When passing by with a horse and sled going to the store, they would stop and talk from the road, and occasionally sit on a roadside bank, but would never come into the house to be warmed or fed.
As a child, I could not understand why, because my extended family thought highly of them.
I'm proud to say, as a young man I walked in social justice marches during the 1960s with the "Negroes" in their quest to be treated like the rest of us and late in life walked with "Patriots for Peace," against the ill-begotten Iraq War.
Much of my life after leaving my humble Calhoun abode I pursued vocations, careers and volunteer work that would often embrace my fellow man - radio, newspaper, ambulance driver, mortician, fireman, educator, environmentalist, addiction treatment, politician, and a stint during the Hur Herald.
My early years as a young man I learned to look into the painful faces of loss and death.
I have been the blessed man going into the bigger world, during my lifetime having worked, rubbed elbows and been friends with many different nationalities, cultures, and religions, and have tried to follow the admonitions of Christ and Martin Luther King:
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word," King said.
King's quest for his people, and others not like us, still has a long way to go, given powerfully in one of the greatest speeches in American history - "I Have a Dream."
See "I HAVE A DREAM" - Martin Luther King, Jr. Aug. 28, 1963