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"Dumb": article draft by Roosevelt Fitzgerald






From the Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers (MS-01082) -- Drafts for the Las Vegas Sentinel Voice file. On the lack of justice for Black individuals.

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man000995. Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers, 1890-1996. MS-01082. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Seems that everyone's talking about the recent retirement of Supreme
Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Since 1967 he has btzen looked to as the conscience of the Court. All of those who have traditionally been counted
among the downtrodden, the underbelly of America have looked to him to
protect them from the rich and the powerful. While it is true that all of
the cases which have gone before the Court in the past quarter century in
which the powerless have sought redress have not been ruled in their favor, they have at least believed, going in, that they stood some chance of winning.
The presence of Marshall provided them that small concession.

While that may appear to be a most generous portrait, let us not make Marshall that small. Marshall was not a Justice who viewed the.quality of justice with the interpretation: "My people right or wrong." It is the absence of
such a disposition which has contributed to his greatness. Marshall opposed injustice and that is what made him a Justice for justice, He was not on
the bench for racial minorities or liberals or Democrats. He was not there
to oppose the majoritysgroup, or conservatives or Republicans. He was there
for only one thing: justice and he did his job well.

No sooner than he made his announcement, the prognosticators began to
put up a line as to who the President would nominate. There were those who
bet on the sure winner; a conservative.‘ Many were convinced that due to Bush's opposition to what he calls "quotas" that it would not be another black person. The long shots predicted that a woman would be his choice. I imagine that there were some who figured that the president would find a conservative
black woman and cover all bets. This latter group ended up being two-thirds right. By so doing the president missed a golden opportunity to do something

which could have pulled the country a bit closer together rather than en­ larging the wedge which has widened'the chasm between us.

Wouldn't it be great if we could find a president who believes all of

those things that they like to tell the rest of us to believe? Oh, I'm
not talking about a president who believes in ethical behavior. I'm not
even talking about a president who believes in fair play. I'm definitely
not talking about a president who tells the truth or one who's word means something. A president of the United States should understand the difference between oligarchy and democracy. A person occupying the executive position should certainly understand the duties of the office in relationship to the other two branches of government but I don't even expect that to be the case. There are many other things which I do not expect an ordinary person, the
type which seems to have a monopoly on the office, to be capable of. The overwhelming number of those who have occupied that office have been men with­ out much of anything of their own especially in the way of standards which

fit the position. They have been men who are easily molded by the power brokers who are always behind the scenes—unseen and unknown but who shape the behavior of the president as though they were potters at the wheel. Yes, our presidents have generally been twenty four carats--malleable and masochistic—amenable to being beaten into the shape of the times. But wouldn't it be great if in their profound absence of knowledge of anything which would explain some of the deep doo doo that this country has trod through over the years that they would at least be reasonably familiar with the great documents upon which this nation is founded? Sure it would.

You know what, I would be happy if they would just remember that one line; "WE THE PEOPLE." We're suppose to be a nation but we are not that.

Many of us have long wanted to be just that but we have met with resistence
for many reasons. We have tried to assimilate, to acculturate and to
integrate but we have been rebuffed at every turn. Our leaders have practiced on not pulling the nation together for so long just to keep out those of us who

are of color and have met with such success that they are now turning on

themselves. They are able to do that because for so many years many of those unaffected by what transpired with people of color stood idly by and watched as the constitutional abuses took place. When will they learn that tolerance of intolerance is intolerable and when tolerated long enough, it will eventually reach out and touch them all.

The campaign starts. Candidates throw their hats into the ring. The different political parties think that they each have the answers to what ails America. The frontrunners are identified. These who are left face off in a primary. The best liars win for their respective party. The showdown is scheduled. The tall tale telling tandems of each party crisscross the country telling the people any lies they want to hear. The team with the best producers and directors win and in January they are sworn inW In the oath which they take, they swear to uphold the laws of the nation. There's a big party with drinks and music. There's at least one of all sorts of people at that party and the next day the punishments start.

A president is suppose to pull the country together, not rend it asunder. Once all,of the campaigning, voting, electing, and swearing in is done, the person selected is to be the CEO for the entire country and not just a portion of it.

When the nation began, over two hundred years ago, there were thirteen individual states and each of them concerned about their own problems and
very distrustful of the others. The country started to grow even before it had grown together and earlier presidents were called upon to convince each
of the states that the confederation was more important than any of its parts. It took over a hundrediyears for that to happen but by then the people had grown apart.

"To bind its wounds." That's what Lincoln had said in the Gettysburg

Address and the wounds had to do with the feelings of the people--north and south. He was assassinated before that could happen. Then there was a twelve year period called Reconstruction in which some northern leaders sought to teach the south a lesson and they used us to do it and then it ended with a deal, allegedly made in a back room of the Hotel Wormley which brought Hayes to the presidency. Then the south got back at the north and they used us to

do it. Neither section was truly concerned about us. They were concerned about themselves and their own positions. We trusted and hoped that they would eventually do the right thing.

That was dumb.