To the few readers that I have left at what if? - my apologies for so few postings in recent times. As much as I do enjoy sharing columns, cartoons and photos here, time for blogging has been extremely limited. With a full time job, caring for my aging parents and frequent trips to visit them, my passion for bridge and photography - plus friendships and the every day necessities of life... Too often, I am out of time for anything else. It is not that I no longer care about my online friends, my personal blog nor the issues. It is merely that I need a 32 hour day; 24 doesn't cut it!
For the next 3 weeks, I will be at a bridge tournament every day but 2! Add that in to all of the above commitments - and - don't plan to see me 'till at least mid-August. In the meantime, however, some thoughts about two of many important issues that face us today.
The first is the Trayvon Martin case. I did not follow almost any of the court proceedings; partially due to all of the above and partially because I have more concern about broader issues than any specific incident. Nevertheless, the greater principles involved here concern me greatly.
Without a doubt, our nation has had a history with black people that is filled with shame, horror, deep inequities and pain. Nothing can ever wash that away. Nothing can nor should ever make us forget this history. Nevertheless, whatever has happened - we must move forward, and we must do it in as positive a fashion as is possible. Unfortunately, the Martin/Zimmerman case highlights too much of the worst of us, rather than the better.
Zimmerman was tried in a court of law and found to be not guilty. A jury listened to testimony and evidence for many days, and came to this decision. While we surely can debate the facts and interpretation and differ with one another, what we should not doubt is that overall, our system functioned and worked as it ought.
Moreover, this case was not about race. And for those who make it such, as President Obama and many other leaders have done, both diminishes and harms us all.
When I was a child, Jim Crow was still the law of the land in many parts of our nation. In places where it was not, blacks faced prejudice, unequal justice under the law, and raw hate. Yet, somehow, our nation moved forward. We passed civil rights legislation. We had affirmative action to make an attempt to do something positive about past wrongs. And - ultimately, we saw great movement forward.
Today, blacks can be found at the highest levels in literally every aspect of our society: CEO's, entertainers and sports heros, physicians, scientists, entrepreneurs ... and politicians (like a president! :) ). While racism has by no means died, the color of your skin is no longer a barrier.
Thus, our leaders - such as our president - should be exhorting all of us toward positive steps and thinking - rather than fanning the flames of hate, separation and racism. Instead of inflammatory comments like "I could have been Trayvon," our president should be talking about opportunities and hope for all of us.
A fine and wonderful columnist, Jeffrey Goldberg, wrote this column thirteen years ago about his father. While the experience of Goldberg's father surely was most different from that of blacks in America, of this we can be sure: his father suffered and experienced horrors that were deep and profound. Yet, Goldberg's father ultimately came to America, had a decent life - and raised children that prospered.
The moral of the story is that no matter our history, we can strive to do better and survive. Those who lead and wish for us to do well should, over and over, stress this story. Filling us with negativity and focusing on what is wrong rather than what can be right and done well is not a prescription for success.
And with that, I move on to a related story: the story of a bankrupt Detroit. Detroit once was one of America's success story cities: a vibrant industry, jobs, wealth.
This compilation of essays at HotAir describes what happened. Greed. Power. A forgetting of principles that you cannot spend what you do not have, that you must continue to change with the times to continue success, that you cannot ignore human nature and that you cannot overturn logic and math and other basics.
For true idiots who somehow think that fiscally conservative principles are responsible for the demise of Detroit, when in reality Detroit has been governed by Democrats and "progressive" policies for ages, all I can say is: wrong, wrong, wrong. Excessive taxation does not mean more money in your coffers. It means intelligent people escaping to a place where they are rewarded for hard work and planning - not punished for it. For those who think that you can ignore economic principles and give workers benefits and salaries that go ever higher when the underlying income and business isn't there to support it - well, look at how well those notions worked in Detroit.
And for those who think that it helps black people to have incentives that break up families, encourage unmarried girls to have babies in their mid-teens, and for people to stay on assistance literally for generations rather than get decent educations and find jobs - all I can say again is, look at Detroit.
My heart weeps for all the people who have been harmed by these policies, who are unable to see how to escape and how to have productive lives. I am saddened that all the sacrifices made by previous generations to earn civil rights for those who were denied are now viewing cities like Detroit on the skids, and my home town, Chicago, filled with weekly murders of dozens of young black people.
I cannot solve any of this on my blog... I am only one small voice. Still, I can raise my voice and do all that I can to try to change this sad trajectory on which we have been going.
Please excuse me while I indulge my passions for bridge and photography in the next few weeks. When I do have the time, I will return to my blog and my online friends.