“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of the way and let them have it.”
I ran across this quote by President Eisenhower in my readings and it stuck in my head. He said this in a conversation with British Prime Minister Macmillan during a radio-TV broadcast in London on Aug. 31, 1959. In searching for information on the quote, I ran across some more – too many to use in this little op-ed soapbox opportunity.
But I so wish that people would look them up and read them. If only we had followed the precepts that he laid out in his Chance for Peace speech on April 16, 1953, after he had been in office only a few months.
Or heeded his warning against the military-industrial complex in his farewell speech days before the end of his 2nd term.
There is so much going on these days that I didn’t (yet again) know what to write about this month.
Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic is in our minds — so much sorrow and unknown ahead of us. Over 730,000 have officially died worldwide this year from the coronavirus with over 20 million cases reported. Apparently, 400,000 die every year from the flu. In the various pandemics that have happened since 1889, over 1 million died each time. The Spanish flu, according to 3 different reports, killed 20 million or 50 million or 100 million. Reading local newspapers from the time (1918-19), it looks like a dozen or more people died each week from flu-related pneumonia.
Schools, churches, theaters, pool halls and soda shops closed. No public meetings were allowed. Of course, then we had little cure for pneumonia.
I fear that we still have a long way to go. This isn’t going to just go away. And as long as people continue to not wear masks in stores ...
Another big issue lately is that of racism. Having been raised as a Christian and believing in the “love your neighbor” message of Jesus, the idea of hating someone for being different just floors me.
And then there’s the issue of the statues being removed. Maybe it is time to stop having statues of people who may turn out to have done something we can no longer condone (and never should have). Or even who just turn out to be human.
Removing the statues cannot abrogate our need to learn the history behind those people and the current issues that we face. We must always face the past and learn.
Another quote from Eisenhower: “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed.” Perhaps it is time to have statues that celebrate peace, statues of doves and joy, children laughing.
If we threw out every book that condoned slavery, we could no longer read the Old Testament. It is time to read and discuss openly where our traditions and history have led us and what path we need and want to follow now.
I don’t even know what to say about the horror of the explosion in Beirut apparently due to negligence.
Or what to say about Daisy Coleman, only the latest victim of rape who died of suicide. What can we ever say to the girls and women who have to carry the memory of that violation through the rest of their lives? It doesn’t go away like a broken leg or the flu.
This is the 100th year of the passing of the amendment that allowed women to vote. Men finally, graciously or not, gave us permission to use our voices. So speak up. Only silence keeps us in our place.
A message for those who may feel alone or that they are not strong enough: “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Guess who? Yup, Ike.
My country right or wrong, my right to right the wrong.
Or in my case, write the wrong.