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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 half century. 
     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 for office? 
     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 apply myself. 
     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

 

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