Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Rants and Raves Return with a lesson I learned more than 45 years ago

And a plan for the next three months
of concluding ranting and raving

       It was in Washington, DC in 1969, and I was thrilled to see that the minister who had so impressed me in 1945 at Hollywood's prestigious Presbyterian Church was the guest minister at National Presbyterian in Washington. What a thrill for me to have the opportunity to take my children to hear this marvelous, challenging minister who so mesmerized me as a Marine Lieutenant during those war years. But what a disappointment! I learned the lesson that one can hang on too long. The lesson was underscored just a few weeks ago at National Archives when the author of what appeared to be a fascinating book was speaking. Again I should've learned that as I approached 90, I may have reached that same fate.
       Thus I'm committed to have my final say before December when I turn 90 by sharing a few more of my deeply felt beliefs and insights with family and any who might be interested.
       First of all though, I must admit that I feel I sincerely believe I OVERPLAYED MY HAND IN SPEAKING OF THE “GREATEST GENERATION”. While we won a war again the forces of evil, suffered and overcame the "great depression", added many to a more comfortable middle-class and voted for a government a bit more responsive to the needs of all people, there were two dramatic areas where we failed miserable. How obvious were our failures in race! Certainly it has taken another generation to make progress in the field of race relations.
With my lifelong profession and interest in education and race relations, I was completely mesmerized by the challenge of the book, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs. I hope you will have a chance to read it before I have my final say on education, youth and race in a month or so. I'd surely be interested in feedbacck from your thoughts on the book.
       And having just completed the book, Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese Americans Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves, I am appalled by my generation's failure to provide basic rights to 120,000 Japanese Americans and forced them into concentration camps. (Yes that was the name given to them at the time.) I marvel at how blithely ignorant I, and our society generally was, of the shocking treatment of citizens of Japanese ancestry who lived on the West Coast. Even the president of the ACLU supported the action. To think that Japanese parents, some of whose children were killed defending us, lost their their property and were incarcerated in these prisons. And yet I must admit I, and most people I knew, maintained we were not aware of it. How similar were we to the “innocent” people of Germany who maintained they knew nothing of the horrors of the Third Reich? I would be remiss if I did not encourage everyone to see the Japanese internment display in the park at the corner of D St. & New Jersey Avenues NW to see our belated recognition of this failure of justice. Surely our reparations were also an effort to make amends and recognize the loss of life and property by our extreme action. I hope more of you will read this book to see how distorted our thinking can be     when we face adversity.
       As is obvious from this rant, I still have a number of views to get off my chest. However there is one rant I am most eager to get to begin sharing before taking a month off to be with my family in Michigan and Germany. It's been a consuming interest of mine – one that I have increasingly felt is largely responsible for the wars and hostilities that have existed through the years – one that – like politics is something “good manners” dictates not be discussed in “polite” society. Yet I believe it has the answer to finding world peace! My working title is Why an agnostic atheist attends two churches.
       I'll follow that with a final say about all those topics I introduced almost a year ago ranging from race to the environment to mental depression to issues of American youth to American exceptionalism to wage disparity to education and to youth participation in sports.
       And not wanting to conclude as a ranting old man, I'll end with some thoughts on how it is possible in my 90th year to have one of the seven best times of my life!


  1. So thoughtful and balanced I couldn't tell if it was a rant or a rave. In addition to the race relations oversight of the "great generation," there's the gender oversight as well. And I'm not sure if it was such a good thing that the middle class became more comfortable. It seems that what happened was that expectations in material gains were raised (bigger house, two cars, tv, then color tv, then mulitple tvs, then cable...) and that has morphed into a blight of the all-too-wide disparity between lower class and upper-middle-class, with those in between going too easily and deeply into debt.
    Finally, a tip on formatting--resist the urge to use underlining. Italic is fine. Bold is good for occasional extra emphasis. But on the Internet, underlining usually means that a hyperlink to another site/article/web page is indicated. So using underscore for emphasis can be confusing to younger readers (aka, less than octogenarian).

  2. I would be interested in what you think about Germany´s role in the refugee-“crisis”.
    Many say we let everybody in due to our war-guilt, we have to make up for it. What do you think?
    We should never ever forget what has happened, yet do we still have to pay? My German Grandfather did not take part, he was needed as the only watchmaker in town. My other Grandfather wasn´t German, my parents were kids, yet I was forced to say “I am sorry for what I did to the Jewish people” – isn´t that a bit too much?

    Since many Germans buy guns now I also wonder – is it wise or rather dumb? My husband bought two for me, one that only is very loud and one with very small “balls”. Yet the thought of directing a gun against another human being scares me, although I certainly don´t want to be a victim like many a woman in Cologne/Hamburg on New Year`s.

  3. Thanks so much for your candid comment. With my own German heritage, (I have been a to my grandfathers home near Hof/Saale River twice in the past three years) surely I respect what the German people are doing present time for refugees. I see it as a very altruistic action to help others and not guilt. I would think ones feeling should be of a lesson learned and growth in character - as a peoples. And while it is not exactly the same, I feel the need to work for black/white relationships here - evewn though my "kin" were still in Germany during slavery. I know tht my white reace caused untold suffering to blacks and tht to some degree I have inherited advantage given me. Thus I am challenged to do more and more for those from whom my heritage took advantage of and profitted.
    That's rather hurried, but I hope you get my point. Happy to talk more.

    Rpon - Really Roland

    1. Thank you for your answer. I´m not sure what chancellor Merkel is doing is right. I do not think we can manage the mass - most men come alone and will certainly get their families, so for each man you can count at least 3-4 more refugees. And they do not behave, this is what I fail to understand. And I wonder what her motive is - if we are a part of Europe we all should take care, not mainly Germany...
      But you are right, most black people in your place don´t have the same opportunities as the white ones, either.
      The world is not changing fast (enough) when it comes to fairness and equality, acceptance.
      All we can do is wait and see what happens. I hope Germany doesn´t drift to the right too much again...
      Are weapons the right answer, I wonder...