Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History in the making

My lovely bride and I have been watching the news as we lead up to today's Inauguration of the 44th President of these United States of America. She has teared up several times at what is being shown and expressed the overwhelming emotion of this historic time. She commented that I don't seem to be feeling it - Oh, but I am. I sit watching people filling the National Mall, consider the upcoming events, and my throat closes with emotion. I take deep breaths and hold on until the next wave hits.

You might ask why I would feel this way, and I will tell you that I remember sitting in a junior high classroom when the public address system suddenly came on to announce, "We repeat President Kennedy has been shot!" I recall standing around the campus in groups, unable to believe what we were hearing. I remember hearing the news and sitting riveted to the television following the news of Bobby Kennedy's assassination. I recall listening to and being so uplifted, so challenged, so powerfully stirred by the "I have a dream" speech. And, I am so sorry to say, I remember how devastating it was to hear that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated.

I've listened to racists and those who understand that we all bleed red, and know those who live and breath Republican values as well as those who live and breath Democratic values. I simply find myself thinking over and over, we've reached a major milestone! I helped get here, not only voting for my new President, but serving as a precinct captain for Senator Obama during out time in Iowa. I feel a new sense of hope, I sense a real desire to change the business and usual attitudes, and join my new President in calling people to start rediscovering volunteerism, to help lift all of us to a better place and time.

So anyone who tells you men don't cry, don't get choked up, hasn't really been around people who are strongly committed to a cause, and I'm proof of that. I've had doctors comment about my high pain threshold, and many comment on my apparent lack of emotion - well, there is also something to say for staying calm and focused on achieving the goals.

The emotion is there, and I promise you I'll be praying everyday that no crazy deprives Michele and the girls. and our nation of this profound man who drew young people back to a civic right they felt just didn't matter. I hope you will join me in volunteering, praying for our country and our new President and learning to allow your emotions to be real for those around you. We all need to learn that!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Racial Profiling Is Alive and Well

I know the government continues to deny they are involved - at virtually every level - but a story this morning shows just how blatantly active it is!

It seems "some other passengers" became concerned about the conversation of a Muslim family on a flight. The airline, who doesn't deserve the courtesy of not mentioning their name but will get it for now, removed them from the flight AND REFUSED TO REBOOK THEM EVEN THOUGH THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS CLEARED THEM OF ANY WRONG DOING!!!!

Adjoining this story was a headline about several Muslims being removed from flights - what about Christian Right extremists willing to blow up medical clinics; kill doctors, nurses AND PATIENTS of said clinics and boast of it? What about power hungry politicians willing to put the whole nation in danger to fuel their maniacal dreams of grandeur?

And before to castigate me for my blatant prejudice, allow to to tell you that not all that long ago, waiting to board a flight from a small city in New York state, my wife and I witnessed a group of young men singled out for a "thorough search" based on the stated basis of their apparent national origin. Yes, I said we witnessed this, and what's more I heard the TSA agents say it!

The land of the free and the home of the brave is also the home of the phobics and the prejudiced, and we have a long, long way to go to be the nation we should be. My hope is that others will be as outraged as I over this family's plight, and that the collective outrage will get some airlines fined, some TSA agents booted and create an atmosphere in which people can begin to learn about and understand one another.

I've said before, and will again, that all the major world religions have the same basic values, stated according to their own cultural setting, and that the sooner we recognize we ALL have RADICALS and TERRORISTS within our ranks, the SOONER we can begin to build the kind of understanding and concern that will indeed make us the beacon of goodness in world, because we WILL NOT ASSUME GUILT BEFORE IT IS PROVEN.

Enough of the soap box, but please, I beg you, give this serious thought, and be willing to voice yourself when you see it happen. This isn't right, honorable, or American - it's racist, bigoted and wrong!