I’m certain there aren’t too many people who haven’t heard the biblical story of the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees brought her before Jesus Christ to see what he would say or do about this crime that called for her to be stoned to death. Knowing their motives, Jesus turned the tables on them by stating that he who is without sin should cast the first stone.
We have sadly - almost overnight - transitioned to a society that has lost all wisdom and perspective. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were all great men who accomplished great things for the United States of America. So were Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, John Calhoun and many, many others.
Were they all spotless in every aspect of their lives? Of course not. Not one of us is spotless; no one is free of mistakes. So, why are so many people looking for the largest boulder they can handle to drop on anyone whom they feel has committed the unforgivable sins of owning slaves or supporting slavery? How about someone who appeared in blackface, used Black dialect in comedy routines or used the “n” word decades ago?
Because, we believe all the good that anyone does at any time in their lives can be canceled by something else in their lives. This might seem reasonable on the surface, but unless we understand the past, we cannot pass complete judgment on their actions. And even then, what gives us the right in the year 2020 to sit on our high horse and push these historical figures into the trash can because their actions offend today’s personal sensibilities and psycho-social needs?
Shifting gears for a moment, why does it seem as though we are on a national “guilt trip?” I have been trying to understand the thought processes behind the concept of “white privilege.” Dwelling on this gives rise to feeling of jealousy and envy - emotions that cloud the mind and judgment.
Speaking of emotions, the “R” word is back as the No. 1 label for anyone to bludgeon people into submission if they dare to voice or write anything that questions Black Lives Matter. Just ask the people who have recently lost their jobs for this egregious mistake.
You and I are only responsible for what happened in the past in as far as our lifetime and in as much as our actions and interactions with others. The United States was built on the use, misuse, abuse and exploitation of numerous groups of people. Slaves began arriving in the Caribbean, South, Central and North America in the 15th century. The 1700s and 1800s included wars with Native Americans. Chinese worked mostly menial jobs in many cities and helped build the transcontinental railroads. The Irish were told not to apply for jobs in many cities. The Welsh labored and suffered in the coal mines. The list could go on.
Getting back to the Civil War for a moment and all the angst it seems to be causing so many people, it appears to me that we are very close to creating a cultural split that is identical to the economic/social split present prior to that war. Although the national government tried to rebuild the South after the war during Reconstruction, their efforts fell short and died after President Grant left office and federal troops were withdrawn from the South.
The state governments in the South were simply unable or unwilling to carry out any meaningful social reform; and the national government did not intervene.
We don’t need to forget, but we do need to forgive. That is the only path to peace. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Rev. Billy Graham, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Pope John Paul II and many others who were just as wise all knew that.
I have said this before and I will keep repeating it. There are organizations and people who want the unrest in this country to continue until (November 2020?) conditions are right for them to assume power. If wisdom and forgiveness on our parts do not prevail, we are in for a national nightmare for our children and grandchildren.
A disaster of biblical proportions is not out of the question.
Well, that’s the way I see it.