June 27, 2016

Random Acts… Brexit and the “Free State of Jones”

Posted in Business, Diversity, Employment, Entertainment, Movies, Politics at 8:06 pm by dinaheng

Life can sometimes seem like a never-ending cycle of unresolved conflicts.

Great Britain surprised the world last week by voting to leave the European Union. The campaigns of the presumptive GOP and Democratic nominees in the U.S. Presidential election mirror the conflicting sides of the Brexit debate. A new movie about the Civil War – STX Entertainment’s “Free State of Jones” — reflects the intractable partisan politics of today’s Democrats and Republicans.

It all comes back to the power of fear versus the power of love.Dinah Eng

Fear of losing cheap labor (in the form of slaves) tore this country apart in the early 1860s. Fear of losing jobs to immigrants is a cornerstone of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign and Brexit’s “leave” campaign today.

What we need is more Newton Knights in the world. Knight (played by Matthew McConaughey) in “Free State of Jones,” was a little-known figure in Civil War history whose contribution to this country proves that every action we take ripples through time.

Knight, a Mississippi farmer, led an unlikely band of poor white farmers and runaway slaves in breaking away from the Confederacy to form the region’s first mixed-race community. Refusing to fight a “rich man’s war,” Knight became a Confederate deserter, hiding in the swamps of rural Mississippi and inspiring a ragtag army to fight injustice and prejudice.

After the Civil War ended, Knight advocated for the right of freed slaves to vote in Jones County, Miss. and fought the Klu Klux Klan. He fathered five children in a common-law marriage to Rachel, a former slave, and while they could not legally marry, he deeded his 160-acre farm to her, making her one of the few African-American women to own land in the South.

Knight also fathered children by his first wife, Serena, who left him during the Civil War. After the war, Serena returned to the Knight farm, where both wives and their families lived.

Eighty five years later, Knight’s great-grandson Davis Knight, who looks Caucasian, was indicted for violating Mississippi law by marrying Junie Lee Spradley, a white woman. While Davis Knight was convicted of miscegenation in 1948, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the verdict.

Prejudice and economic inequality seem to go hand in hand in humanity’s history. No one knows what will happen when Britain formally leaves the EU. Since last week’s referendum, Scotland is considering the possibility of leaving Great Britain to stay in the EU.

Republicans who can’t stand Trump’s rhetoric will no doubt look for ways to oust him at the GOP convention, or break away to form a new party of their own.

Politically, we can always move from one party to another, or leave a block of countries to stand independently. What people seem to forget is that no matter where we go, if fear is the driving force, we will just end up under another label, afraid of something else.

Brexit’s “leave” faction won the referendum because the positive reasons for remaining in the EU got lost amid the shouts of fear against other cultures, a view held mostly by an older generation that feels left out and left behind in a global society. The same dynamic has driven Trump’s rise in the United States.

Today’s Republicans and Democrats have an opportunity to defeat the prejudice that divides us. We must realize, though, that the only way to end any partisan divide is to face our fears, build bridges, and let the power of love heal our wounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment »

  1. frances blanton said,

    found the mag left behind and did a read. your story on moon shots, june 1 2016 brought to mind something I read long ago in Herodotus…I find correlation there to the spacepods ostensibly a very-modern=milly swhich seems to have nothing at all to do with Egypt of long past, yet Herodotus recorded their style of honoring the dead…with white pods. The seeming corollary also seems to extend even to ISS, a variation in spelling not to mention region, for in deep history, the city of IS once adorned a river along the ancient mespotamian valley we are schooled to believe was home to the domestication of grains, yana yana. It was also the area where the swastika adorned money, was inscribed upon coins.

    When ancients walked out of Africa, they were not necessarily negroid, and there is another corollary to clothing patterns and styles found in Asia to those of earlier Egypty our time is considered to be exclusively “East Asian.” . My interests are not exclusively history, but I find nauseating repetition even with the ostensible updates. I mention Egypt and the Mideast, then Asia for there is connection not
    generally referenced. who for example, would find reason to question the ancient myth of the Phoenix which rises from the ashes? The cover of the june 1 edition carries text saying ‘so long, wall street.’ Hum.

    In short, this place is being taken for a ride that historical updates try to
    present as strictly a function of both capitalism and democracy while in fact they seem more related to the KING OF KING mentality, Pharoh, which favors Private to Public business. Hum.


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