If you go into the state Capitol of Kansas, you'll run into a gigantic mural of John Brown. It is probably one of the most iconic of those of him. He's standing with arms outstretched, a Bible in one hand, rifle in the other and he's triumphantly got one foot on the body of a slave supporter he killed.
Before the current slate of GOP conservatives took over the state (and continue to drive the state into the ground), the state was considered a hotbed of populism. A state that worked for the common good of the people. It also considered John Brown a hero. This is sacrilege to southerners of course, who see him as a murderer. But this fiery abolitionist was considered a hero because he took the law into his own hands to pay back with vengeance those who beat, butchered and enslaved humans.
I bring up John Brown because of the recent domestic terrorist attack in Charleston. A man who longs for those days of human oppression slaughtered nine unarmed, helpless souls who made the fatal mistake of trusting him, and had taken him in to their house of worship.
Sadly, there are still a number of people—hopefully a small percentage‑who will see this brutal killer as a hero for standing up for his race. They may not say it outright, but down in their inner fiber they believe that the good old days have passed. The days when they could get away with brutalizing any minority for any affront. When they could control every aspect of another human's life, from where that person would labor under harsh conditions, to selling a child into that bondage far from his family.
It’s hard to take the moral high ground because he did use violence, but at least John Brown attacked those who could not morally backup their beliefs. Plus, the murders he’s known for committing came in response to slavers from Missouri who killed men, women and children in Lawrence, Kansas in an attempt to influence the state to become a slave state. The murderer in Charleston's defense is that blacks were changing HIS world of privilege over another race.
So no, I am not advocating the use of violence to get moral change. I am saying that we can no longer just take for granted that moral change will come about because we want it to. It will only come about by people taking a more aggressive stance and demanding justice. That includes removing a symbol of hate and intolerance that waves over many state buildings in the south as well as demanding that police be held accountable for killing people of color. It means we stop allowing a broadcast company from race-baiting and belittling minorities.
No, don’t support the violence of a person such as John Brown, but support his ideal of a moral correction of a nation’s soul.
(Jay at Civil Rights protest a loooonngggg time ago during his Army days)
The Thurber Brigade has once more strayed from its usual reporting on The War Between Men and Women and apologizes profusely. With luck, it will go back on topic soon and not get sidetracked due to the author's anger over social injustice and institutional malfeasance which seems to permeate American society on a weekly basis. Really.