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  1. I've been really into this multi-part, mini-series documentary thing on the Sixties and all of the influential changes in the USA during that historic decade. It's, like, ten, or however many, one hour specials, ranging from the space race to the dawn of modern television to the Beatles changing the face of music. But one of the more influential stories is, of course, civil rights. Watching that episode...dude, just blows my mind. I mean, this is nothing I haven't learned before. We've all learned about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr, etc. We've all had US history classes in high school. Well, those of us who live in the US, at least. But every time I think about those events, and just what a short time ago it was, it really blows my mind. It's not so mind blowing or unbelievable to think about slavery in the time of the founding fathers, or oppression of various ethnicities/sexes in ancient or medieval times or something. It's like, well, yeah, duh. That was thousands/hundreds of years ago. But the civil rights movement in the sixties was just 50 years ago! To think that my parents were alive during that. Wow. Some of the stuff that went on--you can scarcely believe it was so recent. The public segregation, blacks not allowed to vote, blacks being firehosed in the streets by police, being gunned down during freedom marches, etc. I mean, I see that, and my reaction is something like this: But seriously, to think that that kind of sh*t went down within my parents' lifetime is pretty mind boggling. But what's even more mind boggling is just how much we've changed and how far we've come in just 50 years. Now, there's certainly a lot of progress that still needs to be made, ground that needs to be broken, but things are so much better. Think about this--just a mere 50 years ago, blacks were not allowed to vote in many states. Not allowed to vote, to have a say in who the president will be. And now we have a black president. Wow. And I'm not here to debate whether or not he's doing a good job. Basically, in this day and age, it doesn't matter who the president is, everyone seems to hate him. It's such a hard job; I don't know how anyone can do it. I'm thankful for anyone who tries. But the point is, a black man was actually able to become president. Sometimes I forget how big of a deal that is. I mean, it shouldn't be, because there should never be any hate or discrimination. But when you look at what it was like just 50 years ago, it's huge. And just imagine: there's black people alive today that lived through the civil right movements. People who actually marched in those freedom marches, saw others gunned down before them, and now got to live to see Obama elected. Think about what that must mean to them. That's pretty special. And look at the issues we have today: LGBT stuff. Gays are generally pretty accepted today. There's still a lot more ground to cover, but it's not half bad, considering. I mean, you never saw the kind of discrimination against gays like against blacks. You never saw signs up in public businesses: "No gays allowed." Yeah, like I said, lots of ground stll to cover, like legalizing gay marraige everywhere, which is continuing to make big strides forward, so that's nice. But you never saw gays denied voting rights or firehosed in the streets by police. It's a heck of a lot better than the stuff that went on in the sixties. We've come a long way in just fifty years. Normally, I think that amount of change takes a lot longer. I think a big reason for the speed of the change is technology--the connectedness of the world. During the sixties, many parts of the country, like California, where my parents lived, were largely unaware of how bad things were in the south. With the dawn of the internet and the world being instantly interconnected, everyone was made instantly aware of everything. When the whole country sees what's going on in certain places, I think people decided, "we're not gonna put up with this anymore." It really was a big change in a relatively small amount of time. At the very end of the documentary, then showed this one black guy giving a speech toward the end of the decade. I don't know who. Not MLK. Just some dude. Not important. Anyway, he said something that blew me away. Keep in mind, I'm paraphrasing here, but this is really, really close to what he said. So, he says, "All of the people that have died during this movement, all of the work that has been done and the progress that has been made, all of it will be in vain if, when the time comes and the opportunity arises, when the door opens, if young black people are not ready. We must be prepared. We must be ready to step up and take the opportunity. I believe that there might well be a young black child, about 5 years old today, watching this speech right now, and that child might one day run for president." Wow. That made me tear up a bit. I don't usually get choked up at that kind of thing, but I definitely got choked up. I never knew anyone said something like that at the time. That makes me proud. Sure, things aren't perfect, and most days I just feel depression, despair, and countless I-don't-want-to-live-on-this-planet-anymore moments. But sometimes it's nice to look at the good and see how far we've come. Now there's two things we need next: a female president (that's long overdue), and then an openly gay president. Or how about two birds--a openly gay female president. There ya go. I know, that's asking too much. A gay president is probably a long ways off. But watching that documentary and seeing how far we've come in 50 years--you can't tell me it's not possible. Think where we might be in another 50 years. Watching that guy's speech gave me a very rare, and much needed, feeling of hope for humanity.