Monday, December 19, 2005

A Bridge Too Far

In 1965, a group of 600 civil rights activists left a church in Selma, Alabama, for a protest march of 50 miles to the state capital, Montgomery. While crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were viciously attacked by State Troopers.

Those images were seared into the nation's collective mind.

Three days after Katrina made landfall, the police in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna stood on another bridge, the Louisiana Connector. Firing shotguns into the air, they turned away the mostly black citizens trying to leave New Orleans for their mostly white suburb.

Tonight's Sixty Minutes piece was one of those bits of good journalism that just tells the story, with no spin. The facts are bad enough. When you hear Gretna's mayor talk about the "criminal element" in New Orleans, you know that we have once again returned, like a dog to its vomit, to our original American sin. The sin of color and its consequences.

Selma, Lord, Selma.


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