Monday, June 04, 2018

America That Was

A few years ago, my son (14) and I watched the mini-series "11/22/63".  In the story, James Franco goes back in time in an attempt to stop the Kennedy assassination.

There are a number of scenes that depict the racism and sexism of the time.  In one instance, a black woman runs out of gas and walks 12 blocks to a service station.  The attendant refuses to service her and points her to a station a mile away that will serve "her kind".

My son was taken aback by these scenes.  He could not wrap his head around such blatant inhumanity.

It reminded me of a conversation he and I had a few years earlier.  Utah's 10th court was deciding whether gay marriage would be allowed in our state.  There was a leader from the LDS church on the radio stating why the church stood against gay marriage.  My son was concerned about how this would affect friends of ours who had been married in a state that honored gay marriages.  He asked me, "What does the church want?  For them to get a divorce?"

I envy the clarity and openness my children have on these issues.  I did not start to work on things like equality until I was in my 30s.  Even now, approaching 50, I find I am still digging out roots of bad thinking.  For my kids, seeing clearer on issues of race, gender, and equality seems so much more second nature.

My kids give me hope for a better future.  We will need it because many Americans have forgotten where we came from.  They seem eager to undo our progress and send us back to a time when it was acceptable to point to a sign and say, "We don't serve your kind here!"


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