Martin Luther King swore to his followers, “The Arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But how right was he?
During the 19th century, Reconstruction Republicans guaranteed in the 14th and 15th amendments that there would be equal voting rights and protection for blacks. In contrast, by 1929, blacks were prohibited from voting, kept in substandard schools and assigned lowly jobs.
This terrible history still troubles the United States today during their celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Reconstruction. This was a far more notable accomplishment than its forerunner. President Andrew Johnson, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, did everything he could to thwart the 14th Amendment. 100 years later, an additional presidential assassination paved the way for the country to be led in a different direction by Lyndon B Johnson.
Lyndon B Johnson drove the Civil Rights Act through Congress and justified this accomplishment during his election campaign in 1964 against Barry Goldwater. He insisted that the mandate of that election was to unite the nation.
Unlike the first, the Second Reconstruction was a bipartisan cooperation. Political leaders united with the civil rights movement in great acts of statesmanship that won the agreement of the American people in a succession of large electoral victories.
Unfortunately, the arc of justice has once more taken a nose-dive during the Second Guilded Age of America, and the Supreme Court is playing a major role in this act of treachery. The United States needs the kind of presidential leadership seen 100 years ago. In 2016 the Republicans will defend the Robert’s Court, and the Democrats will attack it.
Only one thing is certain, the actions of the Americans in the near future will determine the arc of justice for generations to come.