Monday, November 03, 2008


“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
”To the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!

”Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

William Shakespeare, Macbeth


Not just tomorrow: November 5th.

I explained to a friend: Martin for all intents and purposes became "Moses" with his "I've been to the mountaintop" sermon. Prophetically uttered the day before his assassination.

In "April 4, 1968" by Michael Eric Dyson, Martin was said to be suffering from depression. Possibly preaching lifted his spirits a bit, but the constant death threats and juggling what was by history's reckoning a very recreational extra marital sex life, he was approaching a nervous breakdown.

40 years.

We've likened ourselves to the ancient Hebrews in so many ways: about 12 million Jews in the entire world today; we're about 12 percent of the US population. They were enslaved in Egypt 400 years; we were enslaved in a new Egypt 400 years. God sent Moses; we assume He sent Martin. Joshua and Caleb took the remnant into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

40 years ago I was five years old. Mrs. Wooten and the teachers sat our kindergarten class down and explained "Dr. King was killed."

I learned later, coincidentally it was one year to-the-date he spoke out against the Vietnam war. I knew that this significant personality would not be around to see my formative academic years: we all cried at the news, and graduated the next month in May. We all started the fall in a world without our saints: Medgar, Malcolm and Martin.

Forty years: Blacksploitation movies, Vietnam protests, all-volunteer force, recession, Reagan, "trickle-down" economics, the Republican Revolution, 45% of the prison-industrial-complex, recidivism, lack of self-help, still lacking education, not taking care of the babies we make, blamed for welfare while giving corporate welfare, the usual suspect for rape, murder, theft, frisked in King's Department store at 14 ("shut up, boy! I know niggra's steal"), a reprieve from the Bill Cosby show, booty-call-I'm-gonna-get-you-sucka-blacksploitation-movies (again), a few Oscars from liberal Hollywood, a brief solace under the Clinton years, "Oruborous [the world eater] unfettered" as every crazy Friedman/Stockton/trickle-down theory got its day under DUBYA.

400 years. 40 years. 8 years in purgatory. Moses. Martin. Joshua. Obama.

We have this reverential fear of "tomorrow." What will it mean on November 5th?

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