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Does inequality anywhere matter?

In 1984, actress Sally Field won an Oscar for Best Actress with her performance in the movie “Places in the Heart”. When she accepted her award she exclaimed “You like me now, you really like me.”

She is an actress who was recognized for her portrayal of a farmer's widow with kids during the old South. She takes in an African American "hobo" who says he can help her to plant and pick cotton.

That was a movie.

What matters most today is what happens in real life today.

It seems the U.S. Supreme Court through its recent ruling on affirmative action, Nevada rancher Mr. Cliven Bundy expressed love for slavery, and NBA Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Mr. Donald Sterling not wanting African Americans to attend games in the arena where his team plays probably will never be heard saying these words about African Americans. Does it matter?

Does racial equality really matter to every American?

It is not illegal to be a racist, a bigot, a sexist, anti-Semitic or to hold homophobic social views.

The First Amendment offers protection for freedom of speech. More importantly, the Constitution provides other individual protections and rights which I volunteered as a retired military veteran to defend. The principles of democracy deserve people who will stand and protect them against all enemies.

However, it does not mean good people should not resist individuals and institutions expressing views which are racist, or not fight against all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, age, and religion.

As a business, the National Basketball Association is correct to give Mr. Sterling due process before imposing any sanctions. But Mr. Sterling knows his own voice and Mr. Sterling should know and remember what he said.

As I have said on many occasions to many people, no one knows your past better that you. Mr. Sterling knows his past, just as everyone else.

While Mr. Sterling’s “alleged comments” may and will have a direct impact on him, his team, and the Los Angeles, California community, the people in the District and across America should not blind to the broader impact of racism and discrimination.

Civil rights, equal rights, human rights, and religious freedoms are not principles to be defended only for people we like, people of good conscience must fight for them for all people at all times.

Good and noble social and political movements have a starting point which may not always root from the neighborhoods of the District. African Americans, women, gays and lesbians did not get their “civil, voting, and human rights” through one event, but rather though social and political movements by galvanized by decent people of conscience.

The question some have raised about how and why this event matters to the people and communities of the District. Let me break it down this way. The Washington Wizards team is a member of this NBA “club” with Mr. Sterling. Why hasn’t Mr. Ted Leonsis, chairman and CEO of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Group, which owns the Washington Wizards released a statement? It matters.

When members of Congress, who make laws impacting the lives of District residents and can overturn any act by the Council of the District of Columbia rally around a Mr. Bundy, who lives in Nevada; it matters.

When the U.S. Supreme Court supported an anti-affirmative action law in higher education, designed to restrict college opportunities for all, a movement strongly promoted outside the neighborhoods of the District in states like California and Michigan; it matters.

The United States of America did not become a union of 50 states (to include the District and territories) overnight, there were a series of movements. E PLURIBUS UNUM; "From Many, One".

Yes, movements for equality or to deny equality for all matter.

E-mail contact information: rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Twitter: @robert158