Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The only thing necessasry

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I am a child of the 1950s. My most formative years were between the time I started school in 1951 and graduating high school in 1963. Those were the years when we learned about the horrors of the holocaust, that Communism as practiced in Russia had turned into a totalitarian dictatorship and was not living up to their own ideals.

It’s also where I learned that, while I might not agree with someone else they had an absolute right to their opinion. I learned that yelling FIRE in a crowd was not only illegal; it was an abuse of my freedoms. I learned that my right to swing my arm ended at someone else’s nose. I learned that in addition to rights I had obligations.

One of those was to register for the draft and if called, to serve in the military (I served 4 years in the US Army and am a Vietnam veteran) as part of my citizenship. I learned a larger concept of my country.

Not the “Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!” of Stephen Decatur but rather the concept of “My country right or wrong; if right, to keep her right; and if wrong, to be set right.” attributed to Carl Schurz

The current public brawl over professional athletes not standing in the “proper” pose during the pre-game playing of the national anthem is a diversion from the issue. The true issue is what those individuals are protesting.

The truth is race is still dividing America and Americans long after we put laws in place that should have cured us of this disease. Yes, I call it a disease because it’s the indefensible belief that one person is innately better than another by virtue of their birth.

It is exactly like the ridiculous idea that men are somehow innately better drivers than women. Right, I’m an excellent driver with over 56 years without an accident. Does anyone really think that being a man somehow makes me a better driver than Danica Patrick? It’s so demonstrably wrong that it should be obvious to any thinking person.

The website nationalpardon.org reports that the most common percentage of Canadians with a criminal record is reported as 10%. While there are a number of reasons to question that number, I’ll use it just to have some basis for discussion. If ten percent of any group of people are criminals, then 90% percent of that group ARE NOT!

Ninety percent – the vast majority of the people you meet in any group are just folks and should be treated as just folks. So the idea that police need to be wary of every black person is just a thinly disguised racism.

Going back to my childhood, my father taught me an important lesson. “If you are a doctor nearly everyone is sick, if you are a policeman nearly everyone is a criminal.” Why? Because that’s the part of the population they deal with on a daily basis. He told me “Be careful that you don’t judge anyone by the few negative examples, find out who this individual is before you make a decision about them.”

I suspect that most of us learned a similar lesson somewhere, somehow. Most of us tried to live that ideal and thought that’s all we could do to try and make the world a better place. Today’s events are showing us that is not enough.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke

It is long past time for me –if I chose to be a good man – to do something. I don’t know what I, as one small man, can do but; I must do something. Maybe all I can do is write things like this in the hope that you, reading this, will also “do something” to help. Maybe all I can do is pay more attention how I treat the people I meet on a daily basis. I just don’t know.

But this I do know I am being called to start today and I am asking you to help.

1 comment:

John S Wren said...

Thanks Alan. Long time no see.

Do you remember John Nesbit's best selling book Megatrends? He predicted that the vast time and money that's wasted on pro-sports would eventually be shifted to more productive persuits, education, participatory amature sports, the arts, etc.

I believe that is what is about to happen. These players are entertainers, and they aren't entertaining any more. Fans will shift interest to something else.

All for the better in my mind. The give young kids virtually unlimited money, from Little League on many kids focus on sports in place of education, nearly none of them make the big money, or any money, prosports is ruining the United States. To me that's the message they are conveying.

So pro football is over for me. I think in another season or two it will be over for all these spiritually poor young men and their fanatical admirers.