Dan Rivers

Dan Rivers

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60 years of improved race relations may have stalled

Over the weekend I enjoyed a replay of Mrs. Maizel. The dialogue is so fast you have to watch in close caption mode. Mrs. Maizel is set in the "Lenny Bruce" era of comedy, where one could be arrested for using a four-letter word on stage. 

Mrs. Maizel traces the arrest of Lenny Bruce, and a woman breaking into comedy, a discipline reserved for men. The backdrop is an Upper Westside Jewish family, whose father is a celebrated math teacher at Columbia. Mom is a socialite who is blessed with a trust fund. The eccentric Jewish family lives a life of privilege and summers in the Catskills. Mrs. Maizel's mom equates comedy with prostitution. The show is steeped in Jewish stereotyping and it's a laugh a second.

Mrs. Maizel becomes so successful that she opens for a sensational black singer fictionally named Shy Baldwin, but he could have been Nat King Cole. In one scene Mrs. Maizel opens for Baldwin at the Appolo theater in Harlem. She puts the Jewish humor on hold and wows the crowd by adapting her act to talk about the singer, Shy Baldwin. The Black audience eats it up.

The show is replete with high fashion, Black and White. In fact, the series shows a genteel side of America, everyday people riding the subway dressed semi formal. Coats and ties are the order of the day. Two parallel societies, one thriving in Manhattan the other in Harlem. 

While the Jim Crow laws of the South were abhorrent, in New York City blacks and whites lived together apart. In our government's zeal to bring equality to all, the people lost. Proud black families were rarely divorced or separated. White and black families were mostly intact. Hard work was the hallmark of both black and white families. The respect for each other was apparent in both races. 

It sounds superficial but the attire of the everyday American was classy. Church, shopping, theater, working, all demanded a certain standard. Black Americans were proud of the iconic Appollo theater. Sports was important too, before Jackie Robinson, black Americans loved the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball League.

Crime on the streets of Harlem was unusual. In 60 years, the great experiment of the five most famous Burroughs in the world traveling to and fro underground has devolved into a society where one must hang on to a pillar to insure one is not thrown in front of a moving train. Eyes in the back of one head are helpful in the event someone executes a sneak attach with an aluminum baseball bat. Both incidents referenced have happened in the past month.

A cursory review of the past 60 years will show you the demise of a respectful population. Race relations have taken a step back after years of progress. Grand theft in stores is now normal, unheard of in the past, now a daily occurrence in major cities. 

Americans live and sleep in freezing conditions. People all over the world feel they can break into our country. Deadly drugs like Fentanyl are being ingested daily as Americans chase the next state of Euforia. Heroin addiction, once rare, is now routine. Its antidote Narcan is now being considered for over-the-counter sales.

It's impossible to tell how the demise of America began, but for those who are paying attention it is easy to see the trend. We are a society that is attempting to colonize Mars, yet we can't figure out a way to house those that choose to live on the street. A basic need such as shelter is not being met by a country that is rich in natural resources and possesses the technology to harvest them. 

I rarely feel a situation is hopeless, but the American demise seems to be underway. The part that is hard to understand is that we still see Americans at their best, but the bad guys seem to be winning. The little things have overshadowed the big picture.

While I was at the YSU game this weekend, I looked around as Jackie Popovich of the Vindys sang the national anthem. I was surveying Beeghly to see if anyone was taking a knee. In my lifetime, something that almost everyone could agree on was the National Anthem. Today it' can be a point of controversy.

While most of us are not divided on the playing of the National Anthem, politically we are. Ask yourself how so many thinks nothing of illegal immigration, the other half wants all immigration stopped.

Half of us think a woman should be able to abort a living human up until he or she takes their first breath outside the womb. Half the people think smashing and grabbing merchandise is a right to be taken from rich businesses. 

A good portion of Americans feel it's someone's else job to pay back loans they contracted. A certain portion of our country think we should empty our prisons, because the criminals are products of their environment. We no longer can gain a consensus on the differences between a man and a woman. Even a Supreme Court Justice Kratangi Brown would not answer the question with conviction. In San Franciso a subsidy program encourages transgender persons to apply in any of more than a hundred genders.

When Victor Bout was traded for Britney Griner, he said America is losing its belief in God. Has God lost interest in our country? We were founded by 18- and 19-year-old god centered men who believed a higher power was guiding them. In the 1960's we began kicking God out of schools. 60 years later, there may be a correlation?

Dan Rivers

Mid Days

570 WKBN

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