It was a CNN special. A Ku Klux Klan rally in Alabama. A small group of some fifteen klansmen shouting obscenities about Blacks and asserting that Alabama should be an all-white state. A menacing crowd surrounded the white-clad klansmen. But protecting them was a cordon of police officers. I was struck by the fact that at least half of them were African-American. Their faces were impassive as they protected the klansmen from the angry crowd.
What a great country this is! John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison….they were all there on the TV screen. And our Constitution was there too. Tolerance, civility, respect for other views, protection of minority opinions….herein lies our true greatness.
And the irony of it all. Did those klansmen appreciate the fact that they were being protected by the very people they were excoriating? Prejudice of that sort lives so far below the level of rational thought that I sincerely doubt that the irony of the situation crossed their collective consciousness. But for those with eyes to see, here was America at its best.
By Ron Miller – May 16, 2006