George Wallace said, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.” We would all love to believe that we have come a long way as a nation since George Wallace stood in the doorway of Foster Auditorium to block desegregation almost forty-nine years ago today.
In a lot of ways we have become better, stronger and more unified. The days of segregation are over and now all children have the right to attend school together. But what if I told you that there is a new Bull Connor and George Wallace running the show?
Connor was most famously the Commissioner of Public Safety for the City of Birmingham. While in this position he made waves in several separate events. The first of which was the arrest of Senator Glen H. Taylor who was attempting to speak to the Southern Negro Youth Congress. Connor arrested the senator for violating segregation laws. Connor made a habit of intimidating and using his office to squash the civil rights movement and anyone else he was opposed to. Bull Connor was famous for the saying; “there is not enough room in town for Bull and the commies.”
Bull would not become a national symbol of bigotry and intolerance however until 1963. During the Birmingham Campaign carried out by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Connor authorized the brutal tactics that were later broadcast on national news stations and were made infamous.
Connor and Wallace stood for a school of repressive thought. You were okay as long as you agreed with them and what they had to say. However, the minute anyone strayed from their beliefs, the town wasn’t big enough for the two of them. Whether it is George Wallace physically blocking the door to children of another color or Bull Connor carrying out savage attacks on protestors and abusing his authority, the fact remains the same. These men believed in an institution where thought police rule the day and you are only free if you share their ideology.
Now fast forward to 2012. Not long ago, Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A said that he personally advocates traditional marriage. At this point, does anyone out there not know what then followed? The mayor of Boston and the mayor of Chicago attempted to stand at the door and block their entrance. To make things worse they also effectively said that the town isn’t big enough for them and Chick-fil-A.
Thomas Menino and Rahm Emanuel are Wallace and Connor 2.0. Are we going to allow them or their types to take a stand against freedom of thought and personal liberty? Chick-fil-A has not discriminated against anyone. They still serve and hire homosexuals and have no problem with them personally. However, when it comes to their personal beliefs, the feel God only approves of traditional marriage.
It is in this action we see the ghost of Bull Connor rising from the grave and taking the shape of Menino and Emanuel. They are channeling Connor by using his tactics of abusing their position and wielding the long arm of government like a weapon used to force capitulation.
While several groups praised the mayors for their words, I am left to wonder what is next. Are we going to sit by when a business is run out of town because of their belief in God or the disapproval of abortion?
While the segregation of races has long been dead, these Democrats, who seem to believe they are working for a greater cause, are protecting a new segregation. It is the segregation of thoughts and ideas. Instead of Bull Connor and George Wallace saying we don’t want blacks in our town, it is Rahm and Thomas saying we don’t want Christian family values in our town.
While no two men or situations are exactly the same, the similarities between the bigots of 1960’s Alabama and the bigots of 2012 are striking. I believe we have come to a place where, much like in the time of segregation, free thought and tolerance are on the way out and coercion and bullying are on the way in.
Under Bull Connor, people used to risk physical harm and imprisonment for standing up for what they believe. Under liberals we just risk our businesses, success and financial wellbeing.
What it comes down to is that although we all feel differently about things, the government has no right to chase out private people because of their beliefs. It doesn’t matter if it is a senator speaking to a group of African Americans in 1960’s Alabama or the president of a private company who expresses his religious belief, intolerance is never okay.