Ali (June 6, 2016)
. . .
3 “Some individuals are known by their first names. Attila, Twiggy, Cher, Oprah. ‘Ali’ was his brand after he rejected the name he was branded with at birth.”
5 “Yet the name he repudiated – Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. – reeks of royalty and speaks respect. Sounds like the name of someone who would sport a repp tie, but he had to elude those who wanted to place a noose around his neck.”
3 “And then he made them place a few medals around his neck. Have you noted that one hundred percent of those who insist on calling him ‘Cassius Clay’ despise him and despise Blacks.”
5 “Life provides so many revealing tells.”
. . .
5 “Rare is the young American who musters the poise, focus and conviction to change name and religion when the change will be universally and publicly excoriated.”
3 “And then when they tried to muster him into the military and threatened him with conviction, he confronted them with his convictions.”
. . .
5 “The Associated Press photograph of him sporting a tasteful, conservative suit and tie while being escorted through a gauntlet of uniformed soldiers from an armed forces examining station in Houston, Texas after refusing to join the Army is a powerful tableau of conscience confronting power.”
. . .
3 “When his legal case went to the Supreme Court, the Court went to unprecedented lengths and widths and heights and bent over backwards and forwards and sidewards to exonerate him without creating a precedent that would apply to anyone else. Rare if not unique justice for a rare if not unique man. If everyone else in America could receive just one one hundredth the judicial attention he received, we would live in a just Republic.”
5 “Courts usually bend over backwards and forwards and sidewards to uphold whatever the government inflicts on an individual.”
3 “In a just Republic, other young men, black and white, etc., would and should be able to cite Clay [(, also known as Muhammad Ali)] v. United States, 403 U.S. 698 (1971), to object to participation in an unconscionable war.”
. . .
5 “In a secret operation code-named “Minaret”, the National Security Agency monitored the communications of Ali and others and provided information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
3 “The time-honored way that America celebrates its heroes.”
. . .
5 “At the time, I was told that we were born to be outwardly reserved and yet inwardly confident. Ali, I was told, was born into circumstances that forced him to exude bravado because he spoke for millions of oppressed and suppressed people.”
3 “So he may have been too humble and reserved under the circumstances?”
. . .
5 “Unlike most, he had swift hands; like all, he had clay feet. We can properly eulogize him properly yet not canonize him unequivocally.”
. . .
[See the e-commentary at “The FBI File: The American Imprimatur Of Success (January 18, 2016)”.]
Bumper stickers of the week:
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky. My name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
“War is against the teachings of the Qur’an. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.”
“Keep asking me, no matter how long,
On the war in Vietnam,
I sing this song:
I ain’t got no quarrel with no Viet Cong.”
“Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”
“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father… Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”
“At home I am a nice guy, but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”