|A Quilt of humanity……………..
A tremendous amount
of hoopla has been given a slip of the tongue. Has the entire nation become
so insecure to believe that they must be liked by everyone? It makes
no difference what Senator Lott meant. He was paying tribute to a man who
had served his nation well, and had attained an age most of us will never
see. If this were indeed a matter of such proportions shouldn’t anyone
who attended his party, or sent him a card or ever voted for Thurmond,
be run out of town on a rail as well?
Perhaps he meant if Senator
Thurmond had won the election in 1948 he would have been out of public
service by 1952, instead of blocking progressive legislation for the next
The very idea that there cannot
be racists or bigots in this country is absurd. The difference here is
at the present time we are not declaring war on each other for some difference
of opinion that occurred 1000 years ago. When we do declare war on
an issue, such as civil rights, we don’t go into cities and villages and
wipe out those we wish to hold back. We don’t rape those we are bigoted
against to destroy their racial or political purity.
Of course there are bigots and
racists among us, each person you come face to face with has an opinion
that or a look that separates him or her from you. Those who claim
they love all mankind are deluding themselves, and lying to you.
We have fought two wars with
England; we have fought France and Spain; twice in the last century we
went to war with Germany; once with Japan; once with Italy; once with N.
Korea and China; and once with N. Vietnam. For almost 50 years we
lived under the shadow of war with the Soviet Union. We imprisoned
our own citizens because they were of Japanese descent, but we did not
annihilate them. There are people in this country that to this day
will not buy goods made in Japan or Germany. Should they be forced to?
Should families who son’s names are on the “Wall,” or other memorials embrace
those who killed them?
We followed an economic system
for two centuries we did not design. This same system existed before our
nation and still exists in the world today. We have admitted it was wrong
and no amount of wishful thinking is going to remove what occurred in the
past. By continually drawing the line in the sand it only serves to separate
the two races into opposing groups. We do not need to withdraw into
our own societies we need to merge into one society. That will never occur
with separatist movements that exist in this country today. I hear
black athletes earning millions of dollars a year claiming they are misunderstood
because they relate to the “hood.” Show me someone in the “hood” earning
millions of dollars. I have heard an educated black legislator speaking
“dialect”, and seeking reparations for families of ex-slaves, why?
I see ignorant “rednecks,” claiming to be for white supremacy, what is
the difference? Ignorance is ignorance regardless of how it is clothed.
If Senator Lott truly was a
racist and a separatist with the intent to destroy what it has taken generations
to accomplish, it would have surfaced years ago and his constituents would
have voted him from office. Over one third of Mississippi’s residents are
black, of course Strom Thurmond’s black population was a bit under 30%,
by his record we know his political leaning and yet he served almost fifty
years. Where in the world were these feel good activists when he was running
If we have these “good old boys”
in the senate who is to blame. Is a poor black different than a poor white;
is a child without healthcare any better off being white? Is there
a great deal of difference between an uneducated, unemployed black youth
and one who is white? It should be required reading for anyone concerned
about racism to read “Up from Slavery,” by George Washington Carver. His
principles of education first, of doing the absolute best job you were
capable of, of working together to strengthen the community, should be
the guideline we use to end bigotry.
We all have to start somewhere,
some are born with more than others, such is the way of the world, those
who succeed are not concerned over the advantages they don’t have but only
in utilizing what they do have to the best advantage. I didn’t fail in
college because I was deprived of some magical advantage; I flunked because
I failed to work to the best of my ability. I never thought to blame my
mother for smoking a cigarette while I was in her womb, or my father for
his family losing their money in the depression. I failed because I didn’t
It is a sad day when the voices
of a few influence the good judgment of so many. Senator Lott removed himself
from the controversy because the leaders of this nation on all levels forsook
his cause to protect their own skins. In face to face challenges how many
of these self-righteous hypocrites could truly claim to be without bias.
Perhaps they have no good judgment only the self-serving attribute of saving
their own skin by jumping off the sinking ship like rats, each clamoring
to be first. It is not in humanity to all see issues the same way, it is
not a democracy to have elected representatives all agree on every issue,
this can occur only in dictatorships, in fascist states such as those we
have struggled against in the past. Let our democratic process develop
a nation, not a collection of separate interests coveting their neighbor’s
goods. A nation, a society that works together for the benefit of all,
citizens who apply themselves in their positions to do the best they are
capable of. There are successes and there are failures, there are gains
and there are losses, but not because of ignorance or bigotry, but because
of individuals without the courage to disagree and find a compromise.
We truly need to stop being
so thin-skinned; a sense of humor goes along way toward making the days
tolerable at times. There are no perfect people, in humanity there is no
black and white, but a quilt of many different patches, from many different
times, still being sewn together…………a quilt of humanity.
Richard M. Leland III
6 Krest St.
Plymouth, PA 18651