As Bobby, Moh Moh, and the Jazz Singer See It
If you have ever been a member in any of my classes, you would have heard me rail about overseas travel. There is a radical difference between book learning and real learning. George Santayana made that statement a bit more forcefully, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”
I’m rushing around getting ready to go to Burma again. In fact, I’ll spend time with Moh Moh, my tour guide four years ago, and her family on this trip. I have written many essays about Moh Moh, Ko Ko, and their children. Go to the tool bar and write Moh Moh or Ti Ti, who is her oldest daughter who is 13 now. You will find countless essays.
Moh Moh and I exchange emails on a regular basis. We write about my efforts to interview Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady, Ti Ti who is my granddaughter, my returning to Burma, and our families. Moh Moh and her family are my family.
More to the point, just over a year ago, I was teaching online and finishing up some essays while listening to the results slowly come in for the presidential election. I couldn’t believe what was happening to America. As I worked finishing up several items, it must have been around 11pm when I got an email from Moh Moh. She wanted to know what was happening. I have always viewed Moh Moh as a female Burmese version of Bobby Kennedy. She is politically in tune with Burmese and American politics.
Since the election, I’ll mention my angsts to Moh Moh with having Donald the Dumb, the fool on the hill, acting like our president. Just recently, I went off again about the mess that Donald the Dumb has created. Two minutes later, Moh Moh replied to my ranting about our fake president. In a single sentence, she capsulated what I should have felt but didn’t. Moh Moh said that America is stronger than Trump, and it will survive. She reminded me of Bobby Kennedy talking to a group of blacks in Indianapolis about the killing of Martin Luther King.
In the weeks since her email about America, I have thought about the times in our nation’s past when things were difficult. It wasn’t long before I was connecting the dots. In 1980, a movie came out with Neil Diamond as The Jazz Singer, which was essentially a rewrite of Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer. That movie came out in 1927 over a half century earlier.
While the later version of The Jazz Singer wasn’t a great motion picture as far as acting, the music was...especially America.
America has been for four centuries a place people could come to find freedom and a new life as refugees. America is the home of refugees. In those centuries, America has had a vision, a noble vision. Because of that vision, those outside our country are attuned to that vision.
Now, America has stumbled many times. The list of stumbles is lengthy. We discriminated against those other refugees from the beginning. Now, the issue encompasses Muslims and others who want freedom. We have stumbled on issues of race since the beginning, and we are still trying to be better. Sexism is another example of stumbling. Roy Moore, Donald the Dumb, and Harvey Weinstein are recent examples. Interestingly, Moore and Trump shared a place with racism.
Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Bobby Kennedy page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Connecting the Dots page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Music I Love and Why page to read more about this topic.