Saturday, September 7, 2013


I suppose there are a hundred reasoned analyses that could call the whole thing a stunt or a ruse or lie or a means of burnishing a tarnished image or phony as a three-dollar bill ...

But at the same time the U.S. is squirming in its efforts to find 'sound' reasons for its upcoming attack on Syria, there was something touching about the week-ago face-to-face sit-down between the representatives of the KKK and the NAACP in Wyoming. The meeting was thought to be the first of its kind between the two race-based organizations.

The Ku Klux Klan has a storied history of self-absorbed exclusiveness and cruelty. Its vile ignorance is not as unaffecting as its opponents might suggest, but lynchings and white supremacy are not generally part of the subtler repertoires.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was formed in 1909 "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination."

The tip of the journalistic iceberg a week ago was that  Jimmy Simmons, the head of the Casper NAACP, and John Abarr, a KKK organizer, sat down and talked to each other. On the surface, it was dogs-and-cats, lions-and-lambs ... the unusual stuff that news organizations seek out and detail. At the end of the meeting, Abarr filled out an application to join the NAACP ($30) and made a $20 donation.

Was anyone's mind changed during the meeting? Was each faction jockeying to be seen in a better light? Was it all a ruse? Was the objective to make one kind of bullshit or another smell sweeter? Post facto, judgments and suspicions rained down upon the meeting.

But what crossed my mind was how important I think it is to revisit in concrete ways the conclusions anyone might accumulate over time. No matter how abounding the proof, no matter how elevating the glory, no matter how searing the sorrow, no matter how mountainous the 'facts' ... still, the willingness to set aside the "everyone knows that" (or, perhaps more important, "I know that") is one of the few capacities that helps to bolster an honest and potentially happier lifestyle. And just because a revisitation results in the same conclusion is no reason to sidestep a careful, face-to-face, from-the-get-go reassessment. It may be exhausting and it may feel like an exercise in futility and a waste of time ... but still....

Sit down with your black man. Sit down with your white man. It may be phony as a three-dollar bill. Do it anyway.

Living on conclusions and answers may be the best anyone's got, but it is such a fragile and incomplete lifestyle....

But that's just my conclusion.

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