Magic Bus

Today is the anniversary of the arrest of Rosa Parks after she refused to comply with racial segregation laws. She refused to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus. She wasn’t the first person to defy the law in that way, but the time had come, and the place was right, and Rosa had the drive and the inclination to make it an important issue.

Rosa Parks is regarded as an African-American, of course, but like all of us, she was actually a racial mixture. In fact, her great-grandfather was an Ulsterman. If defiance of authority is genetic, that would be a good place to start looking.

Rosa’s bus is preserved in a museum, although slighty incongruously, it’s the Henry Ford museum in Detroit. Not incongrous because it’s in Detroit instead of Montgomery, Alabama; but because Henry Ford’s record of antisemitism doesn’t fit well with commemorating a pioneer campaigner for racial equality.

Because it’s all the same. Picking any group of people to hate, on any critereon, for any reason, only shows a lack of rationality and a weakness of mind. Like the good citizens of Switzerland who voted to ban the building of minarets. Because the overwhelming presence of so many minarets already erected in Switzerland (four) showed how traditional Swiss culture was being swamped by something foreign. See what I mean? Weakness of mind.

But the Swiss Nazis who exploited the Swiss constitution to get a referendum and scared enough of the weak-minded to vote their way don’t really care about minarets. Their objective is power. Power obtained by fear and hatred. And there’s one good way to deal with that. Resist. Stand up for your rights. Like Rosa Parks.

(Yes, I know she sat down for her rights.)

Rosa's Bus


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