Sometimes very quiet, ordinary people can change the quality of life in our country that they didn’t expect.
Loving, written and directed by Jeff Nichols, is an important film that reaches beyond the movie screen. Told in a very simple, straightforward fashion that allowed the audience to identify with the characters, it tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose legal battle after their marriage in 1958 changed our country.
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga play Richard and Mildred, two very average Americans who simply wanted to get married, raise a family and share each other’s company. The trouble was he was white and she was black, and their home State of Virginia banned interracial marriage. Their legal battle began after a State prosecution resulted in them being banned from Virginia for 25 years.
Though the Lovings attempted to live for five years in Washington, DC, they eventually returned to Virginia because they missed their family, friends and a simple country life. But they always lived with a cloud hanging over their head, and it was with the help of a couple of ACLU lawyers that the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that States could not interfere with the basic human right of marriage.
Anyone watching Loving will immediately be reminded of life in our country today. Prejudice is like a vampire, and while sunlight in the form of reason can throw it into the shadows, it gathers ugly strength as it promotes fear and hatred in the darkness.
For example, look at our recent presidential election and try to tell me that racism has been eliminated in our country. The ban on interracial marriage occurred less than 40 years ago, and there still is a wide attempt to find a way to ban gay marriage based on religious principles.
Additionally, consider the national outcry concerning our use of bathrooms. The question is not about who you stand next to at a urinal, but discriminating against transgendered citizens.
What happened to the Lovings is being felt by millions of African-Americans who have been denied the right to vote based upon changes falsely claimed to eliminate fraud. While no voter ID is required for absentee voting done largely by white citizens, it affects only those living in the inner city and metropolitan areas who don’t have access to the appropriate forms.
As we watch Loving, we should all contemplate what it is like to be a Muslim citizen of our country today. Basic constitutional rights apply to all citizens, not just some of them. Regrettably, an Indiana legislator wants to pass a law banning abortion in our State. If you can now overturn Roe v. Wade, and prevent a Hoosier from terminating a pregnancy after she is raped, then is banning interracial marriage next on the hit list?
See Loving and contemplate the consequences.