Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

How Do We Develop Unity in America?

            Like many other Americans, I am stunned by the current happenings in the United States. We are stressed from the fears of COVID-19 and the isolation in our homes. We were adjusting to the new now of facing a whole new disease when we were warned that giant hornets were in the United States. It seemed that it was something new every single day. 

            Now we are dealing with riots across the nation. I do not believe that I am personally in danger, but I have numerous family members who could be caught up in riots, such as a grandson just outside Philadelphia. So, I still feel stress and concern over them.

            I saw the video of a white cop kneeling on the neck of a black man, but I did not immediately think police brutality or white cop/black victim. My first thought was, How stupid! Why would anyone kneel on someone’s neck? There are other ways subdue a person without putting undue pressure on the neck! 

            The more I hear about the white cop, the more I believe that he had a lot of issues that should have been dealt with years ago. From the autopsy reports and the video, it appears that he murdered the black man. Whether it was intentional or unintentional, I will leave that to the criminal justice departments.

            I am sorry that the black man lost his life because every life is valuable. I am not personally grieving for the man because I did not know him personally. I do pray that his family and friends will find comfort and peace with his death, and I am willing to mourn with them. However, I could not see the connection between the death of a black man and the willingness for the black community to go crazy and burn their own neighborhoods. That would be crazy behavior! It just does not make sense for people who are grieving to destroy public and private property and steal things out of stores.

            Then I began to read things about Antifa and other people who were paid to loot and riot, and I began to see things a little more clearly. I could see that black people began to protest what they consider to be unfair treatment. Most Americans consider the treatment of George Floyd to be wrong. This is okay because Americans have the right to peacefully assemble and to protest. This is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

            However, someone or several people saw a crisis that they could not allow to go to waste. They saw an opportunity to damage and weaken our nation even more than it has been weakened by COVID-19. They are evil, and I hope that they are caught and brought to full justice. They deserve to rot in jail for the damages that they inflict on other Americans. They are one of the reasons why our nation is divided, and they deserve to face the consequences of their choices.

            Meanwhile, I see many of my friends posting “Black Lives Matter” and blacking out their Facebook page. I do not yet know how I feel or what to think about the Black Lives Matter movement. I have mulled the matter over in my mind time after time because I know that black lives matter just as much as any other life. Every life matters. However, I think that the movement is a statement that black lives have value. This does not mean that black lives have more value than other lives; it just means that black lives are valuable and not something to destroy mindlessly.

            Another term that I have been pondering is white privilege because I do not know what it means. I grew up in the 1950s-1960s in a poor family, so poor that I did not have a bicycle or own a television set. I knew about slavery and the Civil War, but I did not know a single black person. In fact, the only black people that I had ever seen were in movies. I was totally confused at the whole Civil Rights movement because I could not understand why white people and black people could not get along with each other.

            My maternal grandfather was an Indian Agent, and my mother grew up in a home on an Indian reservation. Some of her closest friends were Indians. I remember going to town with her numerous times when she would see some of her Indian friends and stop to visit with them. I went to school with many Indian students and considered them to be my friends. However, I was a little intimidated by them because they would talk with each other in their native language. Being a teenager, I naturally thought that they were talking about me and making fun of me. I never considered myself better than them or less than them. They were my equals.

            This is the way that I feel about all races and people. As far as I am concerned, we are equals. About 20 years ago, one of my liberal daughters graduated from University of Kansas. I remember numerous times when I tried to engage her in what she considered to be a political discussion. I tried hard to understand her way of thinking because I wanted to know why she thought the way that she did. I do not remember much about what either of us said in most of conversations because we never really got anywhere. Neither of us wanted to rock the boat so to speak because we both were trying to maintain a good relationship. However, one day I made the comment, “We are all created equal.” She came back with something like this statement: “That is where we differ. I do not think that we are all created equal.” 

            I have often pondered that statement over the past 20 years. At first, I was confused because I could not understand her thinking, but I pondered it often. I am just beginning to see some understanding of what she meant. I think that she was talking about white privilege. She was trying to tell me that white people are not created equal with people of color. Even though I grew up poor and had few privileges, I was white and could work to better myself without dealing with other problems that people of color face.

            Even though I do not understand what my brothers and sisters of colors face in their lives, I understand that you face difficulties that I do not. I am sorry that you have those problems, and I will try to show more empathy in the future. I truly desire us to be one nation under God.

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