When U2 recorded this song, "Pride (In the Name of Love)" back in the 1980s, Bono sang, "Early morning, April 4, shot rang out in the Memphis sky ..." It was actually 6:01, and Bono often corrects himself when he sings the lyric now (such as in the recent "U23D" film).
I've been blogging about Dr. King all this week and last on my day job. As I wrote today, the fact that the new NYT/CBS Times poll shows that 81 percent of Americans think we are on the wrong track also means that people are ready for change ... more than ready, in fact.
Did you read Leonard Pitts' amazing story about the Memphis sanitation workers' strike? The Idaho Statesman ran every word today, starting above the fold on page 1 and taking up an entire page inside. It was riveting. You can read the original here. I have to say that as I read some of these passages about Memphis in 1968, I found myself thinking about Idaho in 2008:
'Anti-communism was just a huge layer over the white population at that time in Memphis. In the first negotiation that [union organizer] Bill Lucy had with them, Mayor Loeb brings up the communist issue and the war in Vietnam. [Lucy] was dumbfounded and he said, `What did that have to do with anything?' '' The men were talking about raises. About a place to shower the filth off before they went home. About getting paid for time worked. About having a place to urinate. The mayor was talking communism. In the minds of white conservatives, says Honey, ``If you stood up for civil rights, you were automatically a communist.''
Remind you of any modern-day Idaho legislators? What's scarier is the idea that for every Idaho lawmaker who will write such thoughts, there are several more who think them.
Here in mostly white, retro Idaho, many of us don't have much of a chance to see what it's like to be young and black or brown in the Bronx in 2008. The video below arrived in my email today from the Obama campaign. It's long ... 13 minutes or so ... but it demonstrates the fact that we have traveled far as a country since 1968. Of course, it's been said that "Idaho is what America was." For the sake of these kids and our own, let's see what we can do to change that.