Muhammad Ali just showed me how far our nation has back-slided on racial issues. Of course, I’ve read the articles on how our schools are now more racially segregated than in the 1970s. But stark *anecdotal* evidence of this cultural backslide came in the form of ESPN’s “30 For 30″ documentary entitled “The Real Rocky.”
Although the story of beleaguered, aging, white, blue-collar boxer Chuck Wepner, and his legal battles with Sylvester Stallone over the movie “Rocky,” are interesting, the most compelling part was the footage of Ali.
I hadn’t realized how incredibly vocally political Ali was. I thought he was more of a LeBron James-style self-aggrandizer used as a symbol of the black power movement. And he was certainly was that. He had the same swagger and dominance that James has now. But imagine if LeBron was a vocal, Muslim, black power firebrand who used the public microphone available to him through his sports achievements to raise issues surrounding disparate racial treatment and outcomes. That is what Ali was.
Yet Ali was a *cultural hero* in his time. Now imagine our hypothetical LeBron, after changing his name to Muhammad LeBron, doing this today. Even though we are *every bit as segregated* as we were two generations ago, and black families still have gaping, statistically significant worse outcomes than whites in many areas of life, if Muhammad LeBron spoke of this, what would Fox News have to say? What would the public at large have to say?
I hold this truth to be self-evident: with the exception of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ stands unparalleled as nutritious food for psilocybin eyes. Also, tangentially: in 1940, cinema-goers were viewing an intellectual discourse, with audio-visual examples, on the synesthesic experience of sound. Also also tangentially: these same persons went on to win the chief example of a morally-justified war, became a college-educated society in an unprecedented fashion (in many colleges that were still fully-paid for by a progressive income tax, before Saint Reagan dashed his holy sword upon that), and proceeded, through the organization of labor and a belief in some strange thing called a ‘social contract,’ to bring about the healthiest middle class and distribution of wealth our country has ever known.
Us? We have ‘White House Down’ with Channing Tatum and President Jamie Fox shooting automatic weapons at cartoon villains. (No offense to Mr. Tatum or Mr. Fox, who seem to be nice fellows.) Now please just throw some bread at me and let me watch the lions eat the Christians in ravenous peace.
The poisoned pill in any ‘Right/Left’ debate is that the right rails against government, while the left rails against corporate power, but the two have actually merged. There is a revolving door of personnel between Wall Street, big pharma, big oil, etc., and big government. The ‘Right’ and the ‘Left’ both actually argue against the same two-headed coin – the government/corporate complex. They just argue against one side or the other, instead of both. We should all get together and rail against the whole coin, which is called ‘Fascism.’
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
– Benito Mussolini
“The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living–a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit a reasonable saving for old age. Hours are excessive if they fail to afford the worker sufficient time to recuperate and return to his work thoroughly refreshed.”
–Teddy Roosevelt, August 1912
Link to the Full Transcript: https://www.ssa.gov/history/trspeech.html