On Aug. 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans marched on Washington to demand "jobs and freedom." As the nation engages the 2012 election, the echoes of cries for jobs and freedom from 1963 ought to pierce the conscience of every American.
Martin Luther King Jr. titled an early draft of his "I have a dream" speech "Normalcy never again." King addressed a normalcy wherein the contentment of a white majority lacked the "fierce urgency of now." White Americans did not feel the whips, cattle prods and fire hoses that stung and broke human bodies yet could not dampen the burning desires of a people for justice.
Normalcy then was contentment with a rate of African-American joblessness twice that of whites. Normalcy was the reality of relatively privileged white Americans, not only the overt supremacist, but good people of faith, who failed to see how the conditions under which their African-American brothers and sisters lived represented the dark side of white America.
The new normalcy is certainly not the same as 1963.