Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Stateside: Rosa Lee Parks - The Power of Many

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Rosa Lee Parks: The Power of Many

As I was trawling the Net looking for non-gaga information about the 92-year-old woman who will lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda today, I came across--then lost--a quote attributed to the lady herself regarding the state of affairs in Alabama at the time she refused to give up her seat on the bus.

In it, she talks about how black folks were required to pay their fare to the driver at the front door, then get back off the bus and go to the back door to board it. Sometimes the driver, having taken their fare, would drive off leaving passengers to wait for the next bus--or walk, if that fare was the last money they had.

If you think of the bus as a symbol of the nation's economy, is anything different in the U.S. today? The numbers of people--of all races--who are left standing at the kerb despite having paid their 40-hour, 50-hour, 60-hour way to the prosperity promised at every flick of the dial and on every roadside billboard grows by the minute.

Can there ever be another Rosa Parks, asked Betty Cuniberti, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on October 27. She speculated about whether someone like Cindy Sheehan might be that person, but decided:

"Those around her are not a humble, unknown 26-year-old minister but familiar divisive faces. In an information society gone wild, Sheehan has ceased to be an ordinary person and grieving mother, and become one more personality that dozens of highly compensated pundits can slam back and forth at each other like a tennis ball, partly for our amusement."

To which I say, "Exactly!" And so long as the focus is on one person, then the task of changing what is burdensome to many will fail.

The emphasis on what a single individual can do surely misses the point of what happened in Montgomery, Alabama, fifty years ago. Thousands of people boycotted the bus company, risking arrest for loitering as they stood on street corners waiting for someone to give them a ride to the jobs they desperately needed not to lose. And thousands of drivers risked arrest for picking up those folks.

The Rosa Lee Parks story is *not* about the power of one; it is about the power of many. But the President's homily will no doubt focus carefully and intentionally on the individual as he leads tomorrow's self-congratulatory back-patting by politicians--those very same politicians who repeatedly close the back door of the bus and drive off. If they even send the buses to begin with.

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE--


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Ian Powell: Rescuing Simpson From Simpson

(Originally published at The Democracy Project ) Will the health reforms proposed for the Labour Government make the system better or worse? Health commentator Ian Powell (formerly the Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical ... More>>

Missions To Mars: Mapping, Probing And Plundering The Red Planet

In the first month of 2020, Forbes was all excitement about fresh opportunities for plunder and conquest. Titled “2020: The Year We Will Conquer Mars”, the contribution by astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter was less interested in the physics than the conquest. ... More>>

Richard S. Ehrlich: Coup Leader Grabs Absolute Power At Dawn

BANGKOK, Thailand -- By seizing power, Myanmar's new coup leader Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has protected his murky financial investments and the military's domination, but some of his incoming international ... More>>

Jennifer S. Hunt: Trump Evades Conviction Again As Republicans Opt For Self-Preservation

By Jennifer S. Hunt Lecturer in Security Studies, Australian National University Twice-impeached former US President Donald Trump has evaded conviction once more. On the fourth day of the impeachment trial, the Senate verdict is in . Voting guilty: ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Let The Investigation Begin: The International Criminal Court, Israel And The Palestinian Territories

International tribunals tend to be praised, in principle, by those they avoid investigating. Once interest shifts to those parties, such bodies become the subject of accusations: bias, politicisation, crude arbitrariness. The United States, whose legal and political ... More>>

The Conversation: How To Cut Emissions From Transport: Ban Fossil Fuel Cars, Electrify Transport And Get People Walking And Cycling

By Robert McLachlan Professor in Applied Mathematics, Massey University The Climate Change Commission’s draft advice on how to decarbonise New Zealand’s economy is refreshing, particularly as it calls on the government to start phasing out fossil ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog