George Wallace Rally
When I was a young woman, much of what people did was difficult for me to understand, for example, why would people continue to support pro-segregation Governor of Alabama George Corley Wallace, Jr. after seeing him in the sixties on (black and white) television espousing segregation in what appeared to my young eyes to be a smug, hateful attitude (even though his own appearance was racially ambiguous). When I read that Governor Wallace was going to be speaking in a nearby city in what was anticipated to be a large political rally, I went to see for myself. I did worry a little that someone might mistake me for a supporter of Governor Wallace, but my need to understand the human community overrode that.
The auditorium held about ten thousand white people, it was the first time I was ever in so large an audience. The excitement of the huge crowd was contagious and unsettling, and I realized that these people were the governor’s solid supporters. When Governor Wallace came onto the stage, they rose as one to their feet giving a massive roar. Even if I had agreed with their adoration, and I did not, so much powerful emotion from so many people would have been frightening to me. And, he did not disappoint them. He was full of charisma, he was mesmerizing. It was not what he said, but how. He was very seductive, and sly. He knew it, they knew it, but they were in agreement on the matter. Yes, as I said it was very frightening.
The story turns in my mind to a solitary young white protester about my age who stood up in the balcony, held up a homemade sign of protest over his head, and was immediately struck from behind by a large, powerful older white man, who grabbed the protester’s thin young body and hit him full in his solar plexus with both fists, whereupon the young man collapsed from my view, and a group of several white men dragged him out. People just stepped back and leaned aside for the attacker(s?) No one objected to the violence. It was in keeping with the emotion that filled that auditorium. The enormity of the inhumanity that I was seeing stunned me, and I said nothing, did nothing.
Now from my winter perspective half a century later, I still do not understand the psychology of it, but I do know that I deeply resent those who hijack The Red White And Blue for evil.
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The flag of the United States of America: white signifies purity and innocence, red signifies hardiness and valor, and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
Caption: Winter Perspective On The Red White And Blue
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018.