- Published: July 2019
- Written by Joe Clancy
“. . . the end is not in question. It’s the means – the dreadful uncertainty of the means.”
John Steinbeck was writing about race relations in America in 1962 when he finished a paragraph in Travels with Charley, in Search of America with that. It’s a punch of a sentence, or two sentences I guess. A hard, quick punch. Bap. And then it’s gone. You want to read it again, even though you know you’ll get punched.
Steinbeck had just witnessed organized protests of a single black child attending a public school in New Orleans. He’d talked to people, picked up hitchhikers, taken the pulse of a community even without really trying to do so. While many in the country could not, he could see the end – though you could argue that nothing has truly ended, only changed.
The author’s description made me think of racing. When it comes to reform, the end is not in question. Just the means, and they are full of uncertainty.