Thursday, August 17, 2017

Trying To Understand

Those of you who read my writing know I have some pretty strong beliefs. These beliefs are based upon my core values and spring from how I was raised as well as from individuals who have been in my life over time. Some of these individuals have had an immediate impact on my life and on my heart and soul, while others impacted me in many small ways over time.

I think of these latter folks as I do a crock pot.

In the morning, we load the meat and other ingredients into the pot, turn it on and several hours later, we have a delicious meal.

I think each of us can point to one or two individuals who have impacted us in the same way. Not right away, but over time. Not necessarily in one big, grand way, but in several and perhaps many small ways until we look at ourselves in the mirror and come to the conclusion that we’ve changed. Hopefully, for the better.

I don’t understand, I can’t comprehend, and therefore I can’t explain what took place this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA, much less explain why it took place. Just can’t.

I’ve always believed in the innate goodness of mankind. I’ve always believed that each of us has a capacity for good. Treating others respectfully, kindly, gently and with love, I believe, is our first inclination as a human race.

In my writing, I’ve urged you- the reader- to see beyond your own situation and circumstance and make a positive difference in the lives of others. Each of us has that capacity and each of us has hundreds of opportunities in the course of a week in which to do so.

I’ve always believed that love and kindness can and will overcome hate and meanness. I honestly believe that with my whole heart, mind and soul. I believe our first inclination is to love, to bring peace, to be gentle, to be friendly, to be kind. Our first inclination and hopefully, our only inclination. I HAVE to believe that . . . we HAVE to believe that because if we don’t, the alternative is too horrible to consider.

So when I turned on the news, saw Facebook posts, and videos and Tweets, and hear speeches, I am left Trying To Understand.

At first, I was in shock and watched in disbelief. And then, I had questions . . .

How is it that such a large group can chant ugly slogans intended to intimidate and display hatred and inflict pain? How is it that men and women of all ages would join in and think that’s okay? How is it possible for a human being essentially made up of the same molecules, tissue and fluid as another feels and believes they are somehow superior to another based upon the color of one’s skin, one’s religion, one’s ethnicity?

Trying To Understand, but I just don’t get it. I just don’t.

And how is it that so many silently agree with them? Why isn’t there more outrage? Why is it condoned at the highest levels?

I mean, wars were fought against this belief. Brave men and women died fighting against the very action, the very words, the very beliefs espoused this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA and now, fifty, sixty, seventy years later, it’s suddenly okay? How is this possible? How?

Did we somehow forget D-Day, Pearl Harbor, Dunkirk, Normandy, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, the Warsaw Ghetto, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai, Mother Teresa and more currently, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan? Did we somehow forget all the blood that was shed? All the lives that were lost? All the bodies that have been maimed and minds damaged? Did we somehow forget the Selma March, the I-Have-A-Dream speech, the little lady who refused to sit in the back of the bus, and the three civil rights workers murdered and buried in a dump?

Trying To Understand, but I just don’t get it. I just don’t.

I worry for my daughters, Hannah and Emily, and the students that will walk through our doors in two weeks. I worry about what kind of world we are leaving for them, knowing that I can’t be present 24-7 to protect them. I worry for their children and for children to come.

And what I find truly scary is that some of those same men and women who marched in Charlottesville, VA will go back to work in society: as bankers, as doctors and nurses, as loan officers, as teachers, as cops and soldiers, as bakers, and store owners. I find that truly scary because these same folks harbor the ugliness of last weekend and that their hearts, their minds and their souls have not changed to fit in with society. But like a smoldering fire ready to spark and burn and rage, they are there. Waiting. Plotting. Planning. And worst of all, hating and thinking of themselves as somehow superior. These same folks who attend church and pray to the same God I pray to. Kind of scary. Really scary. Something to think about . . .

Please, please, Live Your Life, and Make A Positive Difference!


  1. Joe, your thoughts are provocative and spot-on! To continue with your "crock pot" analogy, you provide a "delicious" entree seasoned with the seasoning of your words! Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Dan. I appreciate it. Thanks for reading my posts.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe