It seems like we have had a very busy week in the news with a building collapse in Florida, Fourth of July celebrations, the border crisis, athletes turning their back to the national anthem, China’s thinly veiled threats and Critical Race Theory being pushed by the teachers union and the government.
The building collapse in Florida is truly a disaster and the loss of life a tragedy. What I don’t get is: Why must politicians and special-interest groups have to use this and any other tragedy to promote their causes? I was mortified to see a number of politicians claim the building collapsed because of “climate change.” I don’t think “climate change” had anything to do with this disaster, but I think bad design and exposure to a salt-latent environment will be found to be the cause of the collapse. As I advance in years, I have less and less tolerance for people who jump to conclusions based on their prejudices instead of taking the time to find out what really occurred, whether that be politicians or the media.
FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS
I know I harp about the way things were in the country when I was a youth and how much they have changed in my lifetime, but it’s only fair and right that someone of my advanced years speaks about what this country means to them. Never in my youth would I have considered that this country was a terrible suppressor, because I was raised with the understanding that every person could raise themselves up and become whatever they wanted to be through education, hard work and a little luck. I was aware that some minorities were held down across the country by people, led by politicians who felt threatened by any advancement of minorities, whether they were Negro or the displaced persons entering the country at the conclusion of World War II. Discrimination was not limited to blacks only. The country has had a long history of discriminating against newcomers to the country, whether they were German, Irish, Italian or any other immigrant group. The one important distinguishing difference was that Negros were held back and denied the right to advance that was offered to every other group by racial fears. Of all the groups that make up this country, only blacks were denied their civil rights, not only in the South, but also across the country, by either law or intimidation. Those flaws were addressed in the ’60s with passage of the civil rights laws and the continuing evolution of society. Here’s my thoughts on this year’s Fourth of July activities: Why would anyone not be proud of their country? Why would a major news outlet (MSNBC and NBC) choose not to cover the nation’s celebration? If you despise this country so much, why would you take your family to a fireworks display that celebrates our country? Why must our politicians turn every event into a major political hoopla? Why are we, of late, always looking for ways to diminish our country? The Fourth of July is a celebration of us, not a finger-pointing exercise.
I think it is a complete waste of time discussing this or that about its merits. As I have made known in other columns, if you want unlimited immigration into this country, change the law. But, if you are unwilling to change the law, then you must enforce existing laws. We claim to be a nation of laws; if we are a nation of laws, why are we so willing to ignore the law when it doesn’t fit our political agenda? One other thing about our border issues that I firmly believe is harming our nation’s unity, that is this move to make our country bilingual. My mother’s parents were both immigrants and they both had very strict positions on our language: “In America, you speak English. Among friends and people from the Old Country it’s all right to speak in native tongues, but English is America’s language.” They understood the importance of language and how English unified everyone coming into the country; English was the bond that made them Americans. With that, I sometime feel that the bilingual movement is designed to break that fundamental bond that makes us Americans, “Out of many one.”
There’s not much that I can say about athletes who openly disrespect our national anthem and flag. My only comment is: If you dislike this country so much and so deeply, then why are you representing it as an athlete? You know you don’t have to participate in games as a representative of the United States, but if you do participate as a representative of the United States, at least have enough self respect to acknowledge who you are representing.
China presents our leadership with a set of problems that they are refusing to address and, as a consequence, they are allowing a second-rate country with a totalitarian government no less threatening then the USSR or the Fascists of the ’30s were to us, to overtake our position in the world. China is determined to outstrip the United States and become the dominant power in the world. If history has taught us anything, than we must recognize China for what it is, a country h---bent on being No. 1 and we, much like the British attitude towards us in the early 20th century, are not only allowing it to happen, but also we are actively promoting it. For the life of me, I don’t understand what we are doing regarding China; I only know we are making a huge mistake in our dealings with them. China’s latest open threat to any nation, including the United States, that challenges their actions anywhere in the world should make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. They are openly threatening the rest of the world with their form of the “Monroe Doctrine;” they are claiming the right to have a free hand in the world, and they fully intend to use that hand to destroy this or any other country that stands in their way.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY
I, like many Americans, still don’t grasp a definition of critical race theory. I am always suspicious of arguments that are not clearly defined, but are left to wide-open definitions that can and normally swing from here to there without foundation. If we are to believe that the United States was solely founded and created on slavery, then we are missing the mark by a mile. First, we have to understand that slavery was a common practice from man’s earliest times, and the colonies that became the United States were not unique in the practice of slavery. Slavery as an institution was common, either by indentured servitude or outright slavery, in the early colonial era. That aside, our colonial experience and how we colonized what became our country eventually made us aware of the detrimental effects slavery was having on our country. That led to one of the driving forces of the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s issuing of the “Emancipation Proclamation,” freeing slaves in Union-occupied areas. But it took until 1901 for the last state to approve the 13th Amendment and for slavery to be completely abolished throughout the country, and that state was Delaware. The very idea that the only item that led to our greatness as a country was slavery is not only idiotic, but also insulting to all the people who came to this country looking for the freedom that it offered. Nobody came here from other parts of the world hoping to have slaves, they came here knowing that, unlike every other place in the world, they had an opportunity to make something of themselves. I don’t understand this obsession we are currently having about CRT and how horrible a country we are, unless we are wanting to destroy ourselves. Why would we only look at our negatives and not our glories? Why do we want to indulge in every negative we can think of and not at the same time recognize our good qualities and our strengths? I really wish someone who is an expert on CRT can defend the argument that everything wrong with our past and present can be solely attribute to slavery. I don’t think we can teach something so divisive without putting it into a proper context and at the same time hope to give our children a better understanding of our history. It just doesn’t make sense to only look down on our history and to continually berate ourselves into believing we are a terrible country without hope of redemption. The lie in the CRT argument is: If we are such a terrible country and people, then why is our southern border overrun by people wanting to enter this country, even illegally? With my limited brain capacity, I cannot see the argument being made by the proponents of the CRT theory as viable or truthful. I cannot see why anyone, especially our political class, even entertains this theory as a viable argument. Common sense clearly disproves the idea that we are a systemic racist country controlled by white supremacists bent on enslaving all minorities. Look around and tell me where these white supremacists are who deny any citizen their fundamental rights. What I do see is the erosion of my liberty and freedom to speak my mind without fear of being labeled as something I am not; therein lays the real threat to our country and civilization.
BERNARD LESLIE is a beekeeping expert who lives beside Kentucky Lake in the northeast corner of Henry County. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.