Folks, I am just going to ask that you bear with me while you read the following:
50 years ago, the Civil Rights Act became law. As LBJ said at the time, doing so lost the South for a generation.
(Actually, he underestimated a bit there).
Also, the Civil Rights Act led to the GOP Southern Strategy which brought us Ronald Reagan, the President most responsible for much that is wrong in America today.
Also the Civil Rights Act led, eventually, to the rise of the power of the Christian Right Wing.
The Civil Rights Act led, eventually, to the current Supreme Court and the major attempts by the GOP to undermine voting rights.
And I can point out many things wrong in our society which sprung from the reaction to the Civil Rights Act.
So, was it worth it with all these negatives?
For one thing, without it, PBO would not be President today.
But there is so much more that would not exist without this having happened 50 years ago. The Civil Rights Act is the antecedent from which flowed many other things, laws to protect workers, women, children, the disabled, the LGTB community and many more.
But here is another thing. If LBJ had not muscled through the CRA, who knows when anything like it may have been passed. Like the ACA, there is a time to grab for something and if the opportunity isn’t taken, another opportunity might not come around for a long time.
We still have a long way to go, and as I have said several times, as a white male, I can only guess at what all the various minorities face.
But I will say this. A lot of people who really weren’t all that aware of how much racism there was in the country, or who only thought it existed in the South, had their eyes opened simply by the reaction to the CRA. And I think a lot more are getting their eyes opened by the reaction to PBO.
Forward movement is never painless. And if we aren’t willing to endure the pain and the struggles, like jumping through hoops to vote, then we won’t move forward.
It is one thing to complain about how the obstacles shouldn’t be there, it is another to do things despite the obstacles. And it was the willingness to do things despite the obstacles that ultimately resulted in this day 50 years ago.
As has become a theme the last couple days, we owe it to those who endured then, and acted then, to endure now and act now, or, as Pierce put, we will deserve the country and the government that we get.