Happy Veterans Day! Now About #ConcernedStudent1950

CONCERNED-STUDENT-1950

Is anyone else feeling particularly melancholy on this Veterans Day? I know that Memorial Day — which is in May, not November — is the holiday reserved for honoring fallen servicemen and women with expressions of gratitude for the sacrifices they’ve made for the safety of American citizens around the world. But this November 11 coincides with the arrest of a white man who issued a terroristic threat promising to shoot and kill black students on the campus of the University of Missouri. The threat is a blatant response to the activism against the racially aggressive environment that has plagued that college campus since its inception. In this millennium, students have had to deal with swastikas drawn on the walls with feces and racial epithets hurled every which way.

While the two events are totally unrelated, I can’t help but to feel sadness at our nation’s preoccupation with protecting its citizens from outside forces (see: yesterday’s GOP debate), yet many of us who live here are constantly threatened, attacked or killed by our supposed brothers and sisters who pledge allegiance to the same unionized flag.

It is not 1950 when black and white children were barred from attending the same schools; it is 2015. It is not 1963 where people marched for equal rights; it is 2015. We are regressing and something must be done.

The presence of #ConcernedStudent1950, the group responsible for the successful ouster of the university’s incompetent President Tim Wolfe and his chancellor, is an uncomfortably nostalgic one. They modeled themselves after a campus group who fought for the same respect and protection over half a century ago.

Back in 1962 on a campus not too far away, James H. Meredith, who was a black Air Force Veteran, tried to register for classes at “Ole Miss” several times without success. Tensions were so bad coming from white students who wanted him out, President John F. Kennedy sent federal troops to the campus. In the midst of all the violent riots two people died. With the help of the National Guard, Meredith was able to attend classes and segregation ended on the campus.

While I respect and honor our veterans who bring a sense of safety and peace, I just wish the leaders of our government exacted the same passion with the citizens of this country. What if that level of manpower was used to bring committers of hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law?

I wonder.