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Showing posts with label Fallen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fallen. Show all posts

Saturday, December 5, 2020

America Undone - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

12.05.2020

 

America Undone

 

 

When I was on my walk yesterday I encountered an old-lady who had fallen on the side walk. She was sitting on the ground halfway between Lake Street and 31st Street on Bryant Avenue, just a few houses away from her home, maybe fifty yards at most, but she was unable to get up on her own.

 

I noticed her just as soon as I crossed the street. When I got closer, she was looking at me, and though she didn’t say anything I could tell that she needed help. I stopped to ask her if she did.

 

She told me she had fallen, and I could see that she was scraped up, her knuckles were skinned and there was a little blood. There was a hematoma forming above her right eye at the temple, quite a good sized knot, quarter-sized in diameter and raised up just as much.

 

I asked her if she wanted me to call 911 for her, but she told me she lived just a few houses away. She could see her dog, a little brown haired malamute looking mutt, who was watching her from the yard.

 

I could see him too.

 

Her name is Susan and she told me that she had been sitting on the sidewalk unable to get up for about ten minutes while people passed by her, walked around her, and nobody offered to help. I saw that with my own eyes as I was approaching her. I watched a younger couple cross the street rather than come near her.

 

She told me that she is eighty years old, and that she had been living on the block for fifty years with her eighty-two year old husband. She was slightly in shock and she was crying as I helped her to her feet and walked her to her house.

 

I carried her bag and held her hand as we went, and I stayed with her until her husband came to the door.

 

I have to admit that I could understand and even empathize with anyone who had some trepidation about approaching her. While I was closing the distance between the corner of Lake and Bryant to where she was sitting on the sidewalk, I asked myself some questions, and considered some possibilities:

 

1.      I had to ask myself if I wanted to come in contact with her because of COVID, I was masked but she was not.

 

2.      I had to wonder if she was just a crazy person, because there are many of them around, and if that was the case, how would I be able to help.

 

3.      I had to wonder if it was some kind of grift going on, if she wasn’t going to try to scam me.

 

4.      I had to wonder if it wasn’t some kind of prelude to a mugging, because, well there has been a lot of that going on (though it didn’t seem likely).

 

I get it, there are lots of reasons to be wary, but what a sad commentary it is on the world we live in, on my city and my neighborhood that people would pass on old-lady by and not even ask her whether she needs help.

 

She cried all the way back to her house.

 

I am ashamed of America, if that kind of indifference is what passes for normal…what the hell.

 

Set your fears aside and do the right thing, if you see someone in trouble, young or old, if you see that they need help...help them.




Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day set aside for reflection. It is meant for us to honor our fallen dead.
The meaning of this day has changed much since its founding. At its inception, it was meant to honor our African American soldiers, both the soldiers born-free and the former slaves who gave their lives, men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who gave everything they had, to keep the union whole.
They died for an America which they only dreamed could exist. They died for these United States, for this reality, an America that is still in a state of becoming.
They died for us, for good or ill, they died for us.
We have yet to repay them, to fulfill their hopes for the America they dreamt of; America, daughter of liberty, of truth, and justice.
We honor our dead on this day; our soldiers and sailors and airmen, our police and firefighters; we honor them. We honor all of our citizens who spent their lives, who give their days to public service; we honor our doctors and nurses and teachers, the good works of our ordinary citizens, of our friends and neighbors, we honor everyone’s sacrifices; known and unknown, and those yet to come.
This year we must honor two men who gave their lives, just days ago, on a train in Portland, Oregon. The stood up to man who was berating two Muslim women. The man turned and attacked them with a knife, killing them before he fled.
We must honor them, and their sacrifice, they died upholding our most cherished values, that recognition that we are one people come from many nations, and that we each come into the world with the absolute right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  
On this day of all days, do not make the mistake of thinking that it is our service women and men who keep us free. It has been at least sixty years since America faced an “existential” threat from a foreign power.
We do not face such a threat right now; not from ISIS, not from North Korea, not from Russia, not from anywhere.
The real threat we face is from ourselves, from our ignorance, and from our fear, the mind killer, the little death that brings total obliteration, we must face that fear and confront it.
It is we, and we alone, who can protect us from ourselves.
Our own apathy, our prejudice, and our hatred, these are more dangerous forces aligned against us, against our freedom. They are more deadly than any power in the world.
To honor our fallen dead, you must do your part to keep us free. You must participate in our democracy.
Vote, stay informed, organize, build alliances, and collaborate.
Our collective failure has placed a criminal, autocratic, demagogue in the White House, allowed the Supreme Court to state that corporations are to be treated as people, and money regarded as free speech, while those same justices have told ordinary American’s that the right to free speech does not include the right to be heard, and that the right to vote does not include the guarantee that your vote will be counted.
This rank cynicism is more dangerous to our freedom than any rag tag group of militants half way around the world, more dangerous than immigrants looking across our borders, looking to us for a better way of life, as my own forebears did when they came here.
Honor our fallen dead. Not with cards and flowers and barbeques (but do those things because they are good), honor them by standing up to racism and bigotry, to religious zealotry and corporate greed, to scientific ignorance and xenophobia, and corruption in our public officials, in our highest offices.
Honor them by participating in our public discourse. Do not lose heart, and do not give up.
We must rebuild America, reform our institutions, for the sake of Americans and our future generations. We must take responsibility for your own freedom.
Honor the fallen, in this way.
Jay P. Botten, Veteran, U.S.N., Hospital Corps, 1990 – 1994
Given 1st 2015.05.25, Revised 2016.05.31

Revised 2017.05.29

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day set aside; and meant for us to honor our fallen dead.
The meaning of this day has changed much since its inception. Originally, it was meant to honor our African American soldiers; both free and former slaves who gave their lives, both men and women, both mothers and fathers, sons and daughters both, to keep the union whole.
They died for an America they only dreamed existed. They died for these United States; for this reality, which is still in a state of becoming. They died for us; for good or ill, they died for us.
We honor our dead; our soldiers and sailors and airmen, our police and firefighters; we honor them. We honor all of our citizens who spent their lives, who spend their lives in public service; we honor our doctors and nurses and teachers, the good works of our ordinary citizens, of our friends and neighbors, we honor everyone’s sacrifices; known and unknown, and yet to come.
On this day of all days, do not make the mistake of thinking that it is our service women and men who keep us free. It has been at least sixty years since America faced an “existential” threat from a foreign power.
The real threat we face is from ourselves. It is only we; who can protect us from ourselves.
Our own apathy, our prejudice, and our ignorance; these are more dangerous to us, to our freedom, than any power in the world. To honor our fallen dead; you must do your part to keep us free. You must participate in our democracy.
Vote, stay informed, organize.
Our collective failure has allowed the Supreme Court to name corporations as people, and money as free speech, while those same justices have told ordinary American’s that the right to free speech does not include the right to be heard, and that the right to vote does not include the guarantee that your vote will be counted.
That rank cynicism is more dangerous to our freedom than any rag tag group of militants half way around the world, more dangerous than immigrants looking to us for a better way of life, as my forebears did when they came here.
Honor our fallen dead. Not with cards and flowers and barbeques (but do those things because they are good), honor them by standing up to racism, bigotry, religious zealotry, corporate greed, scientific ignorance, xenophobia, and corruption in public officials; honor them by participating.
Rebuild America, reform our institutions, for the sake of Americans and our future generations. Take responsibility for your own freedom. Honor the fallen.
Jay P. Botten, Veteran, U.S.N., Hospital Corps, 1990 – 1994
Given 1st 2015.05.25

Revised 2016.05.31