Once upon a time novels influenced societies and boxers ruled the world. I remember when my mother talked about my father and unleashed a secret, and then she told me how my father won the Golden Gloves Boxing championship in the 50’s. Muv said, “That was the height of cool back then,” and once upon a time, it was.
Once upon a time a self-promoter preached love. So dfferent from today where we watch in horror as America’s loudest self-promoter spreads hate and continues to drive the Republican bus off America’s political cliff.
One could argue our institutions are incrementally failing American society. Muhammad Ali knew our government was lying to us, and still, will all his flaws, managed to uplift our souls. Little denying Trump has charisma too, but he is a spoiled child and a dangerous liar. Michele Montaigne insisted lying is, to his sensibility, the worst vice of all.
America has come a long way and it’s not looking good. However it does restore the faith meditating on Muhammad Ali’s story, and when he died, he wasn’t just beloved by America; he was beloved by world. When he lit the torch at the 96 Olympic ceremony, shaking with Parkinson’s, a man known for his words, his poetry, a man who spoke truth to power – it wasn’t until later on, when he could no longer speak we knew he’d been right all along. You can’t watch Muhammad Ali lighting that torch without crying like a baby.
Ali was at the intersection of America’s issues; war, race, politics, religion and civil rights. Early on, he was self-centered, a self-promoter, informing us he was ‘as pretty as a girl’. He was also as American as Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin. Full of contradictions and the greatest boxer of all time. When we think of him now, we think of Love.
Once upon a time America was grateful our greatest self-promotoer needed to be center stage. Like everyone else, I cannot wait to see Ken Burn’s latest documentary. Ali’s early life, compelling, his boxing life, full of bravado, his later life, nothing short of inspiring; let’s hope American learns somethiing when they watch this – I will.
He wrestled with his demons and won. He is American’s hero.
Who’s the World Heavy weight champion today?