I have paid close attention to my two grandchildren as they are growing up.
Carson is six and Eva is five and at their young ages they are still very innocent and approach each day as an adventure that is full of happiness and excitement. To them, the only reference to color may be that of their favorite toy, basketball jersey, hat or dress.
Of course they see a difference in the skin color of some of their friends but to them it’s just not a big deal. For them it’s all about making friends and enjoying each other’s company. I believe its God’s way of “jump starting” healthy and unbiased human relations that is, until man begins to interfere.
I grew up during one of the most historical times in our history. During my school years President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. In 1965 the voting rights act was passed for our black citizens and Vietnam was escalating at a very fast pace. Young people were experimenting with sex and drugs and the country was split along many lines and in particular politics, race and Vietnam.
Race riots took place in cities across our country including in our own backyard of Cincinnati. Riots and demonstrations also took place at political rallies and conventions. Our elected officials in Washington, on both sides of the isle, continued to play pure politics to all that would listen. Anti-war movements were prominent across our country while one of the bloodiest wars in history would take the lives of over 58,000 young Americans. Those of you older than age 60 may remember the great Motown Temptation song called “Ball of Confusion” that does a pretty good job of putting the situation into musical lyrics that was very popular back in the day. Take a listen; do the lyrics still apply today? The answer is sadly yes and as the Temptations would say “rap on brother rap on.”
In 1968 I was in ‘Nam and the only thing on my mind was my loved ones and friends, staying alive and getting back to the world. “Getting back to the world” was a common slang meaning getting back home to the United States of America. I fought alongside all races, black, white and brown and let me tell you the last thing on my mind was the skin color of the guy covering my backside during a firefight. I also saw fellow warriors killed in action that were not my skin color and my heart is just as heavy for them as all others. All Gods people bleed the same color red and feel the same pain. If only as citizens we could hold on to that same feeling on a day to day basis. Remember how you felt on September 11, 2001? Hold on to that feeling for the good of us all.
Now it’s 2011 and most of the same problems are still with us. Our young men and women are dying in wars, race relations are poor and the family unit has declined to an all time low. National news reporting has lost its credibility and has become more of a lobbyist that chooses sides instead of reporting the facts. As we drift further off course many of us blindly follow others of influence and leadership that are far too prideful, hardened and self serving. By the way I’m not referring strictly to politicians. Our form of government offers the world’s greatest opportunities yet it is also vulnerable to abuse and failure for one simple reason and that is man himself. Our problems are not attributed to one particular group, color of people or political party.
We as individuals are complacent and full of ourselves. We’re being manipulated by enablers of all walks of life while forsaking our individual principals and accountability.
You see as with Carson and Eva, God always does an outstanding job of jump starting human relations but when man and his learned behavior try to go it alone he is doomed for disappointment and failure. While you are contacting your Congressman, Senator or even the President of the United States keep in mind the only real leader with all the right answers is our creator so include him first and foremost on your contact list.
God Bless our country and all the men and the women in uniform.
Danny D. Bare is the Executive Director of the Clermont County Veterans Commission and a Vietnam combat veteran.