theaters; Elvis dies. Too many headlines.
I do remember Kent State, and that photo of the girl kneeling over the student who was shot and killed during an anti-war protest. I can see in my mind’s eye the photo of the young man placing a flower in the barrel of a rifle (1967, during a march on the Pentagon) – eloquently reminding us to work toward peace, not war. And the footage I’ve seen of blacks being hosed down during (what started out as peaceful) civil rights protests – simply in effort to be treated fairly and equally, made an impact. I remember Woodstock (1969, but still, one of the coolest things to ever happen) – because of those fabulous photos of people united by good feelings and terrific music.
I remember those things because of powerful photographs and film footage that have captured forever what that volatile, bombastic, ground-breaking decade was all about.
And it makes me wonder – when today’s children become adults, what stories will the archival photographs and footage tell them?
That hatred, distrust and a complete failure to respect each other fueled a bitterly divided country – that’s my guess.
Because if there’s one thing I’m sure of, the presidency of Donald Trump has brought out the worst in everyone. Now, before Republicans start cursing me, please reread the above sentence. It is a bi-partisan observation. Trump by some accounts (mostly his) has done some pretty good things for the country.
Uniting its citizens, however, is not one of his achievements.
He has systematically and unashamedly created a chasm as big as the Grand Canyon – turning friends against each other, family members into enemies and Christians into haters.
And for the life of my I don’t know why.
What is the end game? Why would turning citizens of the United States against each other be good for anyone?
His rallying cry is “Us vs Them,” and the right is buying into it and the left is railing against it.
Where’s that girl holding a bottle of Coca-Cola while standing on top of a mountain surrounded by other free-thinking young adults wanting to teach the world to sing when you need her?
Anyway, back to present day…
I’m pretty sure the readers who are Trump supporters are assuming I’m a bleeding-heart liberal who thinks Trump should be impeached.
Wrong. I’m by far a bleeding heart (that would be my daughter) and “Celebrity Apprentice” was once one of my favorite shows.
Plus, I want this president to succeed, because if he is good at his job, we all win. But he only seems to be interested in claiming a solo victory. He doesn’t seem to understand that sometimes, if you take one for the team, the victory is all that greater.
And fueling the angry bus, in my opinion, is social media.
Here’s the thing – we can’t control other people’s actions or reactions, but we can control our own. And just because a person doesn’t agree with my line of thinking, and even if I think that person’s beliefs are ridiculous or misinformed – I have to, no I must, respect his or her right to their opinion.
Dear Lord, it’s like we as a country have traveled back to the early 1800s when only older white men had the right to do and say and own anything they wanted.
While the politics of this nation has me a bit concerned, what really frightens me is the anger and name calling and rush to judgment and “fake news” and the total disregard for those words in the constitution that assure us the freedom to think, the freedom to speak, the freedom to protest (peacefully).
We’re forgetting that civility, respect, intelligence, intuitiveness and a desire to move this country forward were just a few of the bricks in the foundation of this country.
And “both sides of the aisle” are at fault. Gosh, I’ve never heard that phrase as much as I did during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. This “us vs. them” mentality is going to be the downfall of this country, if you ask me. And for what? Why?
Maybe I’m naïve, or stupid – but it seems to me people’s individual beliefs are based on merit, whether or not other people see that merit. If you thought Obama was the greatest president in the history of the country, great. I’m sure you have your reasons. If you think Trump is by far the greatest thing to hit the White House since Ronald Reagan, terrific.
Let me hear why; educate me in your beliefs. But don’t shout them at me. Don’t scream at me and tell me I’m an idiot if I don’t entirely agree.
I believe Elvis is by far the greatest singer who ever lived (and there will never, ever be anyone better), but hey, you may think Sinatra was better. He wasn’t, but I’m not going to argue with you until I’m blue in the face trying to convince you. Actually, that really
isn’t a good example – Elvis was definitely a better singer and entertainer – he wasn’t called the King for nothing. Anyway… I’m smart enough to know that I’m not going to change a lifelong Sinatra fan into an Elvis diehard. The same way a Sinatra loyalist isn’t going to woo me over to the Ole Blue Eyes camp. But, I will admit this. Sinatra could sing and he could act (he was no dancer, though). And while I’m not a huge fan, I respect his talent and understand why he could build an army of fans. But still - he’s no Elvis. And that’s how I approach politics. I don’t agree with a lot of things, but I’m fine with civil disagreements and debates. That’s how we learn – through intelligent discussion and the sharing of ideas. You might not convince someone of your beliefs, but you may get them to look at things just a bit differently.
If you aren’t shouting at them. Or posting snarky memes on Facebook. Or tweeting insults. Or railing at “fake news.” Or hurling insults. Or engaging in name-calling. Or assigning blame.
Respect has to light the way for the course of action, debate and the exchange of ideas – then maybe we grow together as a unified team, learn about ourselves and each other and make life better for everyone. *** Speaking of the 1970s… Bishop Kenrick High School Class of 1973 (my brother Terry’s class) will be holding an an informal 45th “Meet and Greet Old Friends” get together on Saturday, October 20 at Steppy’s Sports Bar & Grille, 2912 Swede Road in East Norriton. Cost is $10.00 per person upon entrance. Light fare, cash bar and casual attire. No uniforms necessary! Cheryl Kehoe Rodgers is a content editor at The Times Herald. She can be reached at crodgers@timesherald. com.
The Flower Power photograph by Bernie Boston of the Washington Star, was taken during “March on The Pentagon”, 21 October 1967.
Fans of Elvis Presley, left, can certainly agree with Frank Sinatra fans that both were great talents.