Roman Around

combating liberalism and other childish notions

JIM BROWN – STUCK IN TIME

Posted by Andrew Roman on June 24, 2009

Chinese Theater

Democrats, liberals, social activists and other utopia-seekers need to prepare their exit strategies a little better. Whether following a successful and noble struggle (like the civil rights battles that culminated in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), or a dreadfully unsuccessful one (the so-called War on Poverty that has cost trillions of dollars and has accomplished absolutely nothing), the first and foremost question to be answered is “What happens next?”

Liberals don’t have answers, of course.

They lather, rinse and repeat, with the emphasis on repeat – even though the shampoo is lousy and smells something like Spam.

People like the Reverend Al Sharpton, for example, continue to fuel decades-old skirmishes in a war that has long since been won, simply to hold on to fleeting relevance. Despite the fact that today’s America – the most accommodating, least-racist nation on the planet – is light years from resembling the troubled nation that more than five decades ago began confronting its social demons in earnest means little to the race-obsessed of today. If we – both non-intimidated white Americans and post-racial blacks who are sick and tired of being told that their skin color is their most relevant characteristic – can be reminded by the loudest and most bombastic among us how horrible we still are, then any and all progress in race relations can continue to be labeled as “not good enough.”

It gives them meaning and purpose at the expense of genuine progress.

The soldiers of social change from days gone by are simply not as relevant as they once were – and that is, by definition, a good thing. Those principals and values for which they fought valiantly and heroically for – character over color, equality of opportunity for all – are timeless. But the victory has long since been secured. They have succeeded, thank God. Their irrelevance today is a testament to the social changes they battled for back then.

Thus, I humbly suggest that what is best for this country is for these relics acknowledge the important victories of the past and cease continuing to wage meaningless and counterproductive wars.

This bit of unsolicited advice is respectfully directed to NFL football legend Jim Brown.

Neil Best from NewsDay.com writes:

Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown blasts Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods for their lack of social activism in an interview that is to appear on HBO’s “Real Sports” Tuesday night.

Of Woods, Brown said, “This cat is a mamajama; he is a killer. He’ll run over you, he’ll kick your ass. But as an individual for social change or any of that kind of — , terrible. Terrible.”

Brown criticized Woods in January 2008 for not speaking out against the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman after she used the word “lynch” in a joking reference to him.

Of Woods and Jordan, Brown said, “I know they both know better, OK? And I know they both can do better without hurting themselves.”

Terrible?

Exactly what sort of social change should Woods and Jordan be engineering, according to Brown? What is it they are neglecting to do for their race?

mike and tigerIn his day, in the not so distant past, there was no athlete in any sport more revered or admired as Michael Jordan. Today, Tiger Woods is an icon, a living legend, at the very top of his field, probably on his way to being the greatest golfer who has ever lived (if he isn’t already). Both men conduct themselves admirably and are the idols of tens of millions. Their followings transcend every conceivable category of society. They are loved by people from every walk of life from every corner of the country. America has afforded them the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and they have succeeded as men – not just black men (precisely the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King). Neither man has ever been denied a hotel room, or the ability to sit at a lunch counter, or use a water faucet because of their skin color. This is twenty-first century America. Their skin color is positively meaningless. Their achievements are what matters – just as Dr. King had wished.

This has always perplexed me.

If the goal was to have a society that was, for all intents and purposes, color blind, how can someone criticize others who are actually following through and reaping the benefits of the hard fought battles of the past?

I would never suggest that anyone forget the injustices of history, but wouldn’t liberals do better for themselves to actually behave as genuine progressives and look ahead?

To help illustrate my point, think of a busy four-way intersection somewhere without a working stop light and only a stop sign on two of the four corners. Picture how nightmarish the traffic at such an intersection would be, particularly during rush hour. The amount of fender benders and injuries at such an intersection would be unacceptable.

Now imagine a group of people in the community actively working to put genuine stop lights in place, complete with turning lanes and crosswalks. They petition their local government, they hold rallies, they print up literature, they go from door to door building support for their cause. Eventually, the stop lights are put in, the intersection is made exponentially safer and all goals are met.

Success!

Those who lived through the pre-stop light era will always remember how it was. They may even tell stories of how dangerous things used to be at that crazy intersection and how different life was during that time. The good that was done by the people who fought the battle to put in that stop light will never be forgotten – nor should it be.

But the need to keep fighting the original battle to put in that stop light just wouldn’t exist anymore.

Naturally, the presence of a stop light will not keep individual drivers from being careless – the same way one will never be able to completely eradicate racism from the country. But the existence of careless drivers does not mean the intersection is unsafe.

To time to fight the battle of the stoplight has come and gone.

And just because there are racists in America does not mean we are a racist nation.

We are not.

There are deaf people in America. Are we a deaf nation?

There are paraplegics in America. Are we a paraplegic nation?

For my money, I happen to think Jim Brown is the greatest running back in the history of the NFL (with all due respect to Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders). He is the only man to average 100 yards a game for every game he ever played – an astonishing accomplishment (Barry Sanders is damn close, though). The era he played in during his prime years is a far different place than the one Michael Jordan did or the one Tiger Woods currently plays in – attributable to those who fought the battles for social justice “back in the day.”

Those who did should be admired.

Sadly, those who still do are an often an embarrassment to that legacy.

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