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Got me to thinking...
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The Spectator
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 by Frank Shortt
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shafra@sbcglobal.net
       Two recent articles in the Spectator have stirred me up. One by Ron Cruger, the other by
Bill Barth.
       In my neighborhood we are a multi-ethnic conglomeration. We mostly get along because we respect each other’s race, creed, and opinions.
       Have recent decisions by the present administration in Washington, in regards to the latest upheavals in America, brought on some unrest in the African-American communities? It is being said, by opponents of Obama, that the president is turning his head away from the real issues. This could be so. Ignoring a decision is a decision!
       A couple of years ago, when African-American youth would come to the playground, adjacent to our town house, my wife and I would make them, along with other children, welcome, not because they were of any particular ethnic group, but because they were children not being supervised by an adult. This is one of the prerequisites of being on our playground if you happen to be under the age of twelve. We have stanched bloody noses, stopped fights, nursed skinned knees, and applied ice to bruised areas until such time that further first-aid could be administered. My wife and I are both public school retirees and both have experience at ‘playground etiquette’. She was a school secretary and I was a Chief of Operations at a local school district.
       A few nights ago my wife and I were walking back to our townhouse from shopping at the local drugstore. (Remember, we are in our seventies!) As we wended our way in front of some eateries, we looked up and saw one of the teenagers, who used to play on the playground as a child, barreling down on us on a huge skateboard. I had no alternative but to jump out of the way. The teenager, who is now almost six feet tall, did not even slow down or acknowledge that he knew us, or cared who he hit. He did not even look back. He seemed to have a determined look on his face in spite of the sign that read, “No Skateboarding”!
       Later, we were walking toward the shopping center again, minding our own business, when all at once, we encountered another teenager who used to visit our playground and was once a very friendly youth. He too is now almost six feet tall. It could have been my imagination, but when we came face to face with him, he gave a look of disgust and turned his face away, just as we prepared to speak to him and his companion. Have you ever felt that you had the plague or some strange deformity? These were my thoughts as we slowly walked to our destination. We wondered what we had done to the young man!? In both cases, I feel that my wife and I were disrespected. Not only because of our age, but because at one time we had befriended these teenagers.
       I cannot speak for my wife, but, I for one have never felt prejudice toward any other human being since I became of age to think for myself. I always believed that we are all God’s creations and subject to the same thoughts, dreams, and aspirations. My father taught me to always look at a person’s heart and allow their actions to speak as to the fruit they manifest.
       This brings me to the two articles I just read and digested. Ron speaks of the futility of fighting wars which have no possible outcome, and Bill reminds me of a thought that was instilled into me by my old Elementary school teacher, Murtis Wade. She would say,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me!” Essentially, words cannot harm a person physically, but boy, do they do harm to ones psyche. Wars and rumors of wars have been fought over words that have been spoken hastily, or out of context. I have had to fight, even girls in elementary school, because I spoke truth. (I was a runt in those days).
       America has ‘stuck their nose’ into a lot of areas, that they had no business there, in the past seventy-odd years. It was our leaders who decided that we needed to be there. Oftentimes, they were goaded on by big business and lobbyists, which had an interest in a particular country or even a city in America. Most of these wars have been fought over oil, tin, drugs, etc. These are material things and will soon run out anyway. Science is forever inventing material things to replace the other material things.
       I, for one, would like to know who is benefitting by pitting races against each other. Why all these special interest groups? Aren’t we all Americans pulling for the same cause, Freedom? During the Rodney King days, there was reason to accept that police brutality was a reality. Rodney was not the only person who suffered at the hands of men who ‘shot first and asked questions later’! With all the suffering that Rodney encountered his final analysis was, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Rodney, I would like to ask that same question. Is it worth all the hate, anxiety, and suffering that one goes through while nursing a grudge? Rodney also stated, "I had to learn to forgive," he said. "I couldn't sleep at night. I got ulcers. I had to let go, to let God deal with it. No one wants to be mad in their own house. I didn't want to be angry my whole life. It takes so much energy out of you to be mean."
       I have been accused of being an idealist. Maybe I am. But I would like to think that the suffering of all the men who have fought foreign wars for freedom, shot down, as were Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, crucified as were men in the past, who stood for an ideal, would finally make men realize the futility of hating each other. As I said, I am an idealist!