Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have a Dream

Today is the most significant holiday for US citizens even though it is thought of as a remembrance Dr. Martin Luther King and Black America. Now more than ever equality is being challenged not just by the black community but the Hispanic immigrants and the disenfranchised lower economic community. Fear and non equality are the kindling to confrontation and misunderstanding which fuels hatred. Arizona's SB1070 law revisits the embarrassing attitude generated by our state 20 years ago under the leadership of Arizona's governor Evan Mecham when he repealed Bruce Babbit's executive order honoring a day for MLK. History does repeat itself unfortunately.

Curious but well informed NFLD fisherman
Traveling to different countries you can't help become an ambassador to your country and your state. I have many stories both defending our country and offering apologies at times depending on my views of each topic discussed. US citizens exercise free speech without thinking twice. This isn't the case with many countries in our world.  As recently as last summer I was motorcycling along the western coast of Newfoundland when I pulled into a small cove where three fisherman were unloading their nets onto the shore. I dismounted, pulled my helmet off, opened my jacket to achieve a bit more friendly look instead of one resembling a space invader before I approached them. My riding buddy Chuck and I walked up and greeted these rough but kind appearing men and answered their first question. "We're from Arizona" and without much pause the next question was "What's with Arizona and that immigration law". I was shocked, rocked, and unbalanced by such an inquiry from a person in such a remote location. It was one of those moments where all I could offer was an apology.
Newfoundland fishing village

I traveled throughout Europe, Russia and the Middle East during the Nixon administration in the 70's and apologized many times again but now I can say on this great day remembering a great human rights leader who is the only leader given a holiday of recognition that wasn't a US president, we now have a great president that isn't white and when I embark on our journey, this time no apologies required.... except when asked where in the US I'm from, I'll just reply "Cochise County".

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