“The Greatest” Individual Opposition to Oppression

          Muhammad Ali was known for his knock out blows in the ring, but many young people do not understand the political influence he had during the same time. The Vietnam War’s Selective Service Act (the draft) attempted to enroll “The Greatest” while he was in his prime  Ali stood strong in opposition to the draft. During that time many people, “Draft Dodgers”, left the country or went into hiding. Ali declared with boldness that he would not fight in the war for The United States. He believed that he should not go to war for a country that was at war with people of his type. He once said “I got nothing against no Viet Cong. No Vietnamese ever called me a nigger.”

See the video below to see more power comments made by Ali.

Did Ali have it right?

          Your answer may vary from mine depending on your understanding of history, your culture, or your idea of patriotism. I must say that I think he had it right. During that time racism was thriving. The 13th amendment was ratified less than 5 years prior, which merely changed the process to enslave people. Before slaves were stolen and bought. After the 13th amendment only prisoners could become slaves, so laws were created to make people prisoners. Currently, in 2017, the law remains the same.  A smart man like Ali saw straight through the smoke and mirror that government and media were trying to present. Ali knew that oppression was not abolished ; it was just handled in a sly, legal, way.  He also understood that there was a war against other religions that were non-christian. His bold actions and statements were made at a point in time where the American government did much to silence African American voices of resistance. His resistance to the war impacted many people who felt the same way, but were silent. There were many people who were different than the people Ali identified with that went to jail for public display of resistance. Most of those people were arrested in the same fashion that protesters are being arrested with today’s protest such as #NODAPL.     

Does Ali words still have meaning today?

          Once again your answer may be different than mine. I believe that Ali’s words still have a powerful and current meaning, if some of the adjectives could be altered. The United States of America still uses the legal system to hold classes of people down. The law may be written equal, but it is far from being practiced equally. There are many different cultures in the United States of America that could use his words as a template to describe why they would not honor The Selective Service Act , and make the same valid points. Many focus on foreign terrorism as the biggest threat to their lives, but statistics say differently.  The American people and government are easily the most intimate threat to their freedom and livelihood. This is easy to see because it is documented within stats  the US government produces. Most people who are killed, robbed, or raped in America had an American attacker(s).  The United States of America has way more than 50,000 laws, and is home to about 25{ad240bdc933e8291c170e386d0b01f82788bc4a8ea0d319192e75b222859f323} of the world incarcerated humans. It is important to mention that the number of people in America are only 18{ad240bdc933e8291c170e386d0b01f82788bc4a8ea0d319192e75b222859f323} of the worlds population. 

          Ali, said “I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in taking this stand: either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my Constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end I am confident that justice will come my way for the truth must eventually prevail.”

          Today the same with or against mindset exist for many people. It’s in our politics, and it is powered by mainstream media which extends to social media. There is more than person or group to blame. Everyone directly or indirectly plays a part. I like to put everyone in 3 categories. There are the people that understand, but have no empathy care, the people who don’t understand, and the people who people who act because of the knowledge they have. ( Each of those groups have subsections, but that a different blog. When I make it I will put a link here.) Of all these groups I dislike the people who understand, but refuse to do anything the most. However I believe the biggest the biggest portion of the problem are the people who do not understand. These people tend to blindly support the people/ groups that cause the most harm because they have never analyzed what they have been told by who they perceive as the good guy. 

        There is a general mindset that you are lucky to be in American, and America is the only place that has people who are willing to stand up for you. (Most of the people that I know in the rights activist community take there stand for all humans, while most of the people I know in the military joined for their own personal gain.) The mindset that America is better and more righteous than other countries is taught in the media and education system. While children are in school they are taught about America in a way to make it look like it has not used the same tactics that the country has went the war for against foreign countries. The one subject that shows America’s wrongs, slavery, is taught incorrectly and is used to divide the people in the country. Only teaching about African American slavery is used as a prop to form a them vs us mindset. The fact of the matter is many different races of people were slaves. If the education system was taught about slavery as a whole it form a bond against slavery instead of giving people a place to point the finger. Even today, in 2017, people from all races are subject to oppression by law.   

        I’m not saying that I have a bad/ hard life, because that is far from true. Each country is going to have their ups and downs. There are 192 countries and more than 90 have the same kind of government system as The United States of America.  If they treat their people the way the American government has treated some class ‘Ali’s template’ applies there as well. The most important thing to consider is less than 8{ad240bdc933e8291c170e386d0b01f82788bc4a8ea0d319192e75b222859f323} of people in the United States are veterans, and less than 2{ad240bdc933e8291c170e386d0b01f82788bc4a8ea0d319192e75b222859f323} of the population is currently enlisted in the military. Wouldn’t you think with all the American pride floating around there would be more people willing to join the fighting forces. There has to be a reason why the enlistment rate is so low, but I can only speculate.   

In closing my question is: Would you honor The Selective Service Act if was reinstated; when would you say yes and what would make you say no?


Desmond Taylor

Hi my Name is Desmond Taylor. I am the founder of The People's Perspective & News. I have my views, but they can always be changed with information given by other. I created this website so people could talk about social and political issues in a intellectual matter. You can read more about the website in the about section. You can learn more about me by following me here and on twitter @Desmond_TPPN.

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