Saturday, February 17, 2007

Killers of the Dream by Lillian Smith

I've started doing research for my Hogzilla Science Fiction Play. Although, I might be able to with what I already got stored in my noodle make something funny or clever or even apt, I want to make something relevant and important so I decided to read up as much as I could so as to speak toward something real, something true.

I have a new hero. Her name is Lillian Smith, and she authored the book "Killers of the Dream" a memoir and essay of her observations and dissatisfactions with the south and segregation. When I read the following I was truly awakened...

There are so many people who are determined not to do wrong but equally determined not to do right. Thus they walk straight into nothingness. Are we the nation that first embarked on the high adventure of making a world fit for human beings to live in, about to destroy ourselves because we have killed the dream? Can we live with a dead dream inside us? How many dead dreams will it take to destroy us all?

She was speaking of segregation, she was writing this words at the same time MLK was praying peacefully his his flock in Montgomery fearing the four figure mob of white racists collecting outside the church.

She could have addressing our world today. A world where from a certain perspective things are worse than ever. I know that someone who is looking back at the history of the 20th century and comparing their existence now to hypothetical existence then might find that statement extreme, I stand by it.

Rather than congratulate ourselves that the south or the country has been desegregated, I think we should acknowledge that what has been is only the very least that could be done. I find no contentment that most Americans have since the mid 20th century awakened to the reality that white and black Americans are essentially the same. The reason this gives me no contentment is because it is obvious. We also acknowledge gravity and it's effects on the oceans' tide. Recognizing the essential equality of every human being is no grounds for self congratulations, none necessary...none deserved.

I have sat down next to an older southern gentleman who would never use the 'n' word in open company, but has no problem referring to the latin american invasion of our boarders in a room full of perfect strangers. No second thought. Why? Is it because his feelings are so fiercely felt? No, it is his own personal assurance that they are enough people in the room who would nod in agreement or would subtly entertain such thoughts themselves.

Our current president and vice president openingly declare that the geneva conventions only apply when they deem necessary. The hubris their acts will ignite will be shouldered by our American society long after those executives will have exhausted the touring circuits. Our politicians once elected don't even pretend to wear the white cowboy hats anymore.

The world we witness is worse now then ever before. As a specie, we took one leap forward with hesitation in the sixties, and now we have fallen two steps back on the global landscape.

Fact - All men are created equal. 46 chromosomes. Now, how do we maintain that equality? Do we even bother pretending anymore?

America now is infamous, the way China once was for ignoring, negating the rights of human beings.

But on the other hand, the more I read about the civil rights movement, the more encouraged I feel. There are people alive today who lived in an America where people were denied humanity based on skin color, and those same people made a change. They lived to see a world metamorphosed. They say this country try to become a better place.

Maybe we can do the same. But the fight is not with some uneducated stereotype straw man, some other. The struggle is in each of us. We must improve upon ourselves. The compassion of Jesus Christ (whether you believe of not...many southerns and northerns do) is a compassion that can not be matched by humanity. Some of us have stopped trying. Those that stop...don't get it. Or maybe, hopefully have only forgotten something they once knew and can hopefully recall with a little encouragement.

If you dont feel the concern, the struggle, the question "Am I doing enough?" Then it is you who is not the human being. It is you who has enjoyed a benefit that is undeserved.

So I am hoping that the play even if it has humor or spectacle or genre trappings, etc...I am hoping the play Hogzilla will address some of this. I hope it speaks to the idea that some of us in this world are determined to not to right...and they are just as dangerous as those who do wrong.

No comments: