Henry Aaron’s life story offers a huge example to the GOP to embrace racial equity

By Donald A. Collins | 22 January 2021
Church and State

Baseball legend Henry “Hank” Aaron. (Photo: MLB YouTube screenshot)

The page one stories with photos in the January 23rd Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and the lengthy stories inside told poignant stories about baseball legend Henry Aaron’s life, a baseball career of triumph against his suffering severe racial bias. You can read the WSJ story with its moving photos and comments here.

In 1974 after he beat Babe Ruth’s record with 714 home runs while playing in Atlanta, he found it brought threats of death which required him to have a bodyguard for years in Atlanta. As he continued to set his peerless home run record and other stats the racism against him should make us all cringe with regret, but his quiet civil rights record gained him accolades from many key leaders later.

The Biden cabinet appointment of black General Austin to head DOD and other black luminaries should further notify the GOP that its racial bias as symbolized by the Trump instigated attack on our Capitol will lead it into a one way decline to permanent minority or extinction.

Trump’s threat to form a new party if convicted seems even more outlandish as the prosecution of those involved in the Capitol invasion escalates.

But by no means should we dismiss the chance for dangerous further violence from these anti-constitutional government felons. We can hope that Biden’s performance in his first 100 days (curbing COVID-19 primary goal!) will be highly influential in restoring majority citizen confidence that we can right our listing ship of state!

But let’s really be sure the symbolism offered by the peerless examples of black men and women such as Henry Aaron, Martin Luther King, John Lewis and Rosa Parks carry both parties to a new level of racial justice.

My January 22 op ed suggested that the upcoming trial of ex-President Trump gives the GOP a perfect chance to begin to put Trump in its rearview mirror.

Whether the GOP takes that opportunity remains to be seen as hardcore pro Trump representatives such as Jim Jordan will continue to try to intimidate.

However, the agreement yesterday to postpone the Senate trial’s beginning until February 9 seems to be a good compromise for both parties as it gives Biden time to get his key administration’s nominations confirmed and perhaps even some agreement on his economic aid package now under questioning from members of both parties.

McConnell now has more time to seek more anti-Trump votes for conviction, but realistically veteran NY Times columnist such as David Brooks and many pundits see little chance for Mitch rounding up 16 Republican senators to join him in convicting Trump, even if he decided to vote for conviction which he has not said he would.

Evidence continues to mount about Trump’s scandalous behavior which will continue to diminish his political future. Still to not gain a conviction leaves undetermined who controls the GOP. I don’t think the stench of racism, once clear to more and more voters, will help the GOP.

Evolution from such deep seeded racism going back to the Civil War has taken time but the election of two Democratic senators from Georgia was proof of Trump’s diminishment.

And the Washington Post article on Mr. Henry Aaron gives us hope that residual institutional racism is waning. I think you will enjoy reading here the piece entitled “Henry Aaron did as much as anyone to redeem the South”.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Kindle Store

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