When it rains it pours (III?)

Amidst the horrors ravaging Florida (and previously Mexico and the Caribbean region) from Hurricane Wilma, for a time the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, we learn the sad news that civil rights pioneer and icon Rosa Parks has passed away at the age of 92.
It’s been over fifty years since Ms. Parks set off a lengthy bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama and a national protest over her refusal to yield her seat in the front of a city bus to a white passenger, helping to set in motion a chain of events that eventually broke up overt American apartheid. Ms. Parks herself later had to leave the South, moving to Michigan, where, among other things, she served as a staffer to Congressman John Conyers.
As I’ve noted here, while White Americans overwhelmingly believe there are no problems in terms of race relations in this country, Black Americans overwhelmingly disagree. Given the persistent disparities in income levels and poverty rates and other measures (including infant mortality rates among African Americans that, in some areas, rival those of Third World countries, or disparate rates of prosecution and incarceration as measured on a racial basis), one can see that, even with overt Jim Crow pretty much dead… we’ve a ways to go still.
Of direct interest, Joe Gandelman linked to this David Adesnik essay at OxBlog, which purports to ask 10 Democratic “activists” what their party stands for, and there was a surprising consensus: “to help the poor and disadvantaged“. Adesnik proceeds to observe that this sort of message will never sell to the (selfish) middle class White people to whom it (supposedly) needs to be sold.
Well… no. The purpose of the Democratic Party IS… well, it HAD BETTER BE… to help the poor and disadvantaged… through promoting fairness and justice. Simple as that: you see, in this area, it happens to be the other party that, for a change, tells us what they don’t want: they don’t want a progressive taxation system, they don’t want a decent living minimum wage, they don’t want working men and women (White, Black, Asian, Latino, whomever…) to be guaranteed health coverage, vacation and other basic benefits, they don’t want our government to ensure that business operates with safe working conditions or without despoiling the environment… they don’t want to ensure that our government promotes economic opportunity for all instead of for those who already have it… And they’re pretty emphatic about what they don’t want. WE want fairness and justice; the other party… has other concerns. If that’s a message that can’t be sold to “the middle class”, then the hell with everyone.; I’ll bet it’s a message that can be sold, though. Anyway…
Rosa Parks, R.I.P. You’ve helped take us further than it looked like we were going to get before you. As we continue the journey, we will remember your spirit, and hope that some day we may reach the point when it will be hard to believe that there was ever a period in this country’s history when one’s skin color determined where they got to sit and ride on a bus.