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What about civil rights today? Print
Guest column
Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 -- 12:00 AM

Months ago I had a conversation with my father that will stick in my memory forever. I told him Barack Obama was a lock to be our next president.

Guest Column

My father who was born in 1940 and raised me to believe all people were created equal regardless of their skin color told me, "I don't believe the people of the United States will elect an African American in my lifetime."

Civil rights movement of the 1960s

The civil rights movement of the 1960s has been a defining part of his generation. Ending segregation and gaining people of different races equal access to the blessings of America was the civil rights movement of his generation.

While there will always be injustices done to people because they belong to particular groups, I believe the election of Mr. Obama to the highest office of our great country demonstrates the success of this movement. As an African American becomes our president for the first time by his own talents and hard work, everyone who has ever toiled for freedom should feel joy in his success.

The current civil rights movement

Will President Obama lead us forward to remove the overpowering civil rights atrocity of my generation? I was born in 1973, the same year Roe vs. Wade removed any protection for the weakest members of our society. In the 35 years since, over 48 million Americans have died as a result.

The loss of life is the greatest atrocity created by Roe vs. Wade. There has also been a cost to the freedom of every American when five of nine Supreme Court justices can take liberties to create meaning in our Constitution. That takes freedom from the voters in this country to make the laws that will govern us.

As a Congressman, Mr. Obama's record is on the wrong side of this issue. Deep down he must know abortion is an evil act, as he has admitted that no one likes abortion. President Lyndon Johnson had a bad record on segregation when he came to office, but the civil rights legacy of his presidency was the end of the great evil of legal segregation.

The legacy of civil rights under President Obama will be whether he has the courage to stand for what is right as President Johnson did. It will be sad if President Obama allows his greatest civil rights achievement to be getting elected as an African American and not protecting the unborn with the power he now has.

John Meganck attends St. Bernard Parish in Watertown.