The wise man Solomon would write, “… he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The poet Thomas Gray would pen, “… where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”
And crooner Bob Segar would more recently pine, “ … I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”
Glenn Cunningham was only 8 years of age when a fire would burn him so severely that doctors were certain his legs would need to be amputated.
At his insistence, his parents respected his desperate pleas, and it would be two long years of therapy before he could even walk again.
It was truly a miracle when he set a world record in 1934, running the mile in 4:06.8 minutes. The entire sports world was elated. His record would stand for three years.
He would go on to earn a masters and a Ph.D., and would later open a youth ranch that helped more than 10,000 needy and abused kids.
In 1954, Roger Bannister would be the first athlete to break the four-minute mile in Oxford. And then a most remarkable thing happened — two years later, John Landy would achieve the once-impossible feat.
Now, more than 1,400 male athletes have achieved the goal of the four-minute mile. I was taught this was the result of the human spirit, which is capable of overcoming both physical and psychological hurdles.
Stories of the human spirit’s accomplishments and success in overcoming barriers are fascinating, as well as numerous:
In May of 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to safely land on the moon before the end of the decade.
Individual successes include John Mercer Langston, Thurgood Marshall, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fredrick Douglass, Maya Lin, Mary Kay Ash, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan, who was cut from the varsity team in his sophomore year.
Literally thousands more could be listed here who have obtained the unobtainable, rose from poverty and/or physical limitations and viewed that “difficulties were to rouse, not discourage the human spirit, and chose to grow strong by conflict” (William Ellery Channing).
Never the victim, Channing preached the message of Christ, who said “as a man believes or thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).
What one person can achieve, another can achieve; we cheer for the hometown team, root for the underdog and win one for the Gipper — that’s the human spirit, and it never plays the victim.
I wish I didn’t know that those of minorities who refused to be labeled as a “victim of the times,” such as U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, would be called racial slurs by the very ones claiming they are held back by the majority.
I wish I didn’t know that a contributor to The Post-Intelligencer used a most derogatory term in my presence in reference to Scott, who indeed broke the barriers and literally went from “the cotton fields to Congress.”
I wish I didn’t know that many liberals, and some of them African-Americans, had rather Scott cry “victimization” than espouse the human spirit’s effects on one’s destiny.
I wish I didn’t know that not fitting the narrative of being limited by “unbreakable forces” would cause such slurs and bitterness.
I wish I was ignorant of the fact that President Joe Biden is confusing the citizens of this great country by promising to “follow the science,” and yet continues to act contrary to what the science is saying.
I wish I didn’t know that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is more concerned that we continue to wear masks, but seems oblivious to the border crisis.
I wish I didn’t know that Biden disassembled a border plan that was effective, simply because a man named Donald Trump had enacted it.
I wish I didn’t realize the Democratic Party was intentionally designing relief programs for minorities, implanting the lie that they are incapable of ever breaking the chains that limit their status, that they are destined and hopeless to remain on the proverbial plantation.
I wish I was oblivious to the impression that even after the Trump administration recorded employing more minorities than ever before in American history (this according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an independent agency supervised by the legislative branch), that minorities would vote to replace job opportunities with the guarantee of endless handouts.
I wish I didn’t hear the message that minorities were held back by a “racist nation,” that they can never rise above the challenge and that they are too inept to even obtain a photo ID.
This happens, even after the facts show more minorities were serving in Congress during Trump’s administration than ever before in American history.
“They may have made it, but you never can,” they are informed. “Don’t dare to dream.”
I had hoped that those less fortunate would take the stimulus relief and use it to start a savings account, perhaps upgrade the family car or invest in their children’s education.
I wish I didn’t feel that 700,000 jobs are vacant today because many are sitting at home, lapping the government’s bowl of whole milk while it lasts, waiting for the next dribble from the hand that throws them the scraps of hopelessness.
I had hoped it inconceivable that some would go so far as to actually defend China, even though history has proven at least eight viruses, including SARS & H5N1, have originated from that atheistic, Communistic dictatorship that literally starved to death 50 million of their own citizens during the Great Leap Forward.
And the same folks would tell us that our eyes didn’t actually see voter fraud in the last election, we didn’t witness poll workers being barricaded from supervising the election and view hundreds of depositions that were filed in courts.
And yes, we know there were no convictions; you don’t run a fraud operation unless the local authorities are part of the scam.
The Mafia doesn’t call the FBI when they trap one of their own embezzling from their operations. No one was convicted in the JFK assassination either, but I’m pretty sure there was a crime committed.
I wish I could turn a blind eye to the devastating border crisis, as Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have seemed to do; that I didn’t know of the drugs disseminated through my home state like a cancer, that I could put my head in the sand to the human trafficking that is so apparent to all who wish to see.
I don’t want to know that the president is in total denial, that the border is most certainly not closed and death is following the caravans.
I want to deny this knowledge, to not perceive these things that are most visible, to unsee these tragedies, that “living would be easy with my eyes closed,” as Lennon perceived.
But Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would warn that “nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
TONY N. BOYD’s address is P.O. Box 97, 65 W. College St., Henry. His email is email@example.com.