194 years ago a seminal event concerning our national duplicity over human rights took the name Missouri Compromise.
That it was the geographic equivalent of the apocryphal halving of the disputed baby between two claimant mothers affords it no such Solomonic wisdom or anything approaching a resolution of half slave half free 'existence' of neither the babe nor its divided unstable would-be home.
Similarly, it would appear that, long after Lincoln's fears concerning American political architecture, the aftershocks of our bloody national eruption are yet being felt at the very foundation of its as yet hoped for most rational joining place--the university campus.
Betraying that conflict's history's progressive promise shortly after Lincoln's representative slaughter Missouri's misery has exemplified the corruptibility of higher learning's very seat in the name of financial efficacies. And while the irony has barely cooled it has been served up by the direct victims of that corruption's threatened athletic strike, poignant pudding so unpalatable that its very distastefulness far predated the predation of The historical Missouri Compromise of 1820.
Enter that same potent tasteless irony's cruelest hoax: an African American presidential candidate who seeks the mantle wisely held by Lincoln, prattling foolish blandisments, here somewhat paraphrased for absent clarity: "We have reached a place where infantile thinking defends the minority victims' status by way of the equal violation of the alleged oppressors' own constitutional rights."
So, then, the ripple effects of this latest compromise (compromising?) of victims' rights seem to have been presaged by such sages as J.Q. Adams, apropos that compromise of 1820: "Take it for granted that the present is a mere preamble--a title page to a great, tragic volume."
[Noted in his diary, on passage of the Missouri Enabling Act in 1820]
The presently shaken foundations are none other than those gleaming white ivory towers [pause in the presence of the yet deeper irony of the Anglo-African timbre of the last phrase] once thought firmly planted upon the rich inventive soil of America, the supposed arbiter of global human rights (note that the more apt humane has not supplanted the 'only human' implications of that now hackneyed phraseology of the status quo's pandering) is forced to at least temporarily abandon such lofty perches. And the structural weakness revealed is none other than the perennial problem--the relative enslavement of 'others' be it in the academy or commerce's deep wide provinces.
Lincoln's Cooper Union prophetic reminder, thus, still rings loud and true today: "...that right makes might."
Those ripples, then, now rightly put asunder once towering names howsoever lapidary their housing--names like Hoover, Wilson, Amherst, et.al. in such signal spots (stains?) as Washington, D.C., and Princeton, N.J.
As it has ever been true that stone is nature's lasting medium so, too, is the weathering force of justice at the very heart of a sentient humane natural cosmic power. Let Reagan's enjoinder to a willing Gorbachev seeking the downfall of monumental slavery be equally honored, then, as the extant credo of thsoe who repudiate Plato's noble lies in the name of the truly democratic 'Republic'. While obversely and fictionally put in the mouth of Aaron Sorkin's Col. Nathan R. Jessup, the plain truth is that we the people are able to handle the truth.
Ye of America's college age, refuse, resist, fearing not the mendacious status quo whose very name is that of a dead language. The (M.L.) King may be dead as well, but, long outlive (that S.Q.) the King.