plus ça change...
I'm reading Carl Risen's excellent book on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Bill of the Century. Revisiting the worst parts of the country of my childhood, I can't help feeling that there are a lot of people out there - politicians and non alike - my age or a little older who are really feeling nostalgic for what the rest of us see as the shame of the 1950s and early 1960s - like being able to beat the shit out of people while the police looked out smiling. Perhaps the identity of those you could beat up has changed, though I'm not sure of that, but the desire is still there, simmering under the surface.
I hit this quote today - it's from a speech by JFK on July 9, 1963. The "public accommodations section" was that section that required business owners to serve blacks - bake cakes for their weddings, so to speak, though "cut their hair" and "let them sit at lunch counters" were the poster children of the day. Kennedy said:
"Even though the public accommodations section is causing controversy, it is clear to most Americans that when the basic constitutional rights of an individual to be treated as a free and equal human being come into conflict with the preferences of those who operate public accommodations, then the elementary rights to equal citizenship and equal treatment must prevail."Looking at the multitude of those arguing for their right to discriminate, I'm not sure this is any truer now than it was then. I just hope it's as true - true enough to change the laws.