Fu­ture de­pends on re­spect

Mer­ica’s fu­ture de­pends on cool­ing race-con­scious­ness and restor­ing re­spect

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Fos­ter Friess Fos­ter Friess, the former prin­ci­pal of the money man­age­ment firm Friess As­so­ci­ates LLC, is chair­man of Pa­tientsUSA.

The KKK and An­tifa con­fronta­tion is hardly pre­sen­ta­tive of a na­tion that rep­re­sents re­mark­able racial, eco­nomic, so­cial and re­li­gious di­ver­sity.

Amer­i­cans of ev­ery po­lit­i­cal stripe are dis­gusted by the dis­re­spect, ha­tred, vi­o­lence and fear dis­played so of­ten in our beloved na­tion and are do­ing some­thing about it. Ed­mund Burke said, “All that is nec­es­sary for the tri­umph of evil is that good men do noth­ing.” Martin Luther King said, “Our lives be­gin to end the day we be­come si­lent about things that mat­ter.”

As an ex­am­ple, on Sept. 15, the Jewish or­ga­ni­za­tion Acheinu, the out­reach arm of the ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion, Dir­shu, sets a Day of Jewish Unity. As a born-again Chris­tian, I whole­heart­edly sup­port their call for all of us to come to­gether in a spirit of broth­er­hood.

They plead with us to pray that we min­i­mize our dif­fer­ences and cel­e­brate the beauty of the Amer­i­can dream where “many are made one.”

Tol­er­ance used to mean while we be­lieve ex­actly the op­po­site of one an­other, we can nev­er­the­less have a cup of cof­fee to­gether and share fel­low­ship. To­day “tol­er­ance” has mor­phed to the no­tion you must hold my val­ues ev­ery bit as dear as I do.

On Fox News with Tr­ish Rea­gan, which Tucker Carl­son then high­lighted, I is­sued a chal­lenge to grab a cup of cof­fee on Aug. 25 with “some­one with whom you dis­agree.”

Rick San­to­rum in­vited Van Jones. Laura In­gra­ham in­vited Rachel Mad­dow. I flew to Fer­gu­son, Mo., to at­tend church and have cof­fee with Maria Chap­pelle-Nadal, who im­pul­sively posted on Face­book her hopes Pres­i­dent Trump would be as­sas­si­nated. It was touch­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence her con­trite­ness and ea­ger­ness to “trans­form evil to good.”

One of my pals even had cof­fee with his mother-in-law.

The Jewish lit­er­a­ture on which our na­tion was founded ex­horts us in Philip­pi­ans to be pos­i­tive peo­ple and re­ject neg­a­tiv­ity. “What­ever is true, right, pure, lovely, ad­mirable … if any­thing is ex­cel­lent or praise­wor­thy … dwell on th­ese things.”

God has blessed me with suc­cess as He taught me to har­ness peo­ple’s strengths and pretty much ig­nore their weak­nesses. Again, those an­cient Jewish writ­ings re­mind, “There is no one right­eous, not even one.” Let’s as­sess peo­ple not so much on their past or where they are to­day, but as­sess them by what they can be­come.

Jews and Chris­tians alike de­light in Mr. Trump’s restora­tion of a Day of Prayer mo­ti­vated by the dev­as­ta­tion in Hous­ton. God is mak­ing a come­back among those of us in “the Colonies” of Amer­ica, and in­creased ci­vil­ity is com­ing with it.

Hope­fully, our ex­am­ple will soon di­min­ish the ran­cor in “the King­dom of D.C.”

All of us need to do more than pray and be kind to one an­other. We must be more bold in con­fronting the dis­hon­esty and dem­a­goguery that has pen­e­trated our cul­ture with­out be­ing chal­lenged.

How many peo­ple, for ex­am­ple, know that Robert E. Lee was adamantly op­posed to slav­ery as de­picted in a let­ter to his wife, in which he called it an abom­i­na­tion that had to be ended, and when he in­her­ited land with slaves, he freed them?

When Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt decades later ded­i­cated the Lee statue, did his speech say that he was erect­ing it in or­der to pro­mote racism and slav­ery? No, it was an act of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion to bring a na­tion to­gether. Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt lauded him as a gentleman, a great gen­eral and as a “great Amer­i­can Chris­tian.”

Peo­ple also don’t know that Abra­ham Lin­coln, al­though later cre­ated the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion, orig­i­nally said it was the restora­tion of the Union on which he was in­tent. If slav­ery had to be part of it he was OK with that, and if slav­ery had to be ended to pre­serve the Union, he was OK with that, too, or a pol­icy patch­work would work for him.

It’s amaz­ing that Robert E. Lee was more con­sis­tent with the val­ues all of us want to em­brace than Lin­coln, yet out of ig­no­rance peo­ple want to tear down his statue. Is it re­ally ig­no­rance or a spe­cific in­tent to cre­ate di­vi­sion?

What if a grand­child is in­trigued to ask his grand­fa­ther about the sig­nif­i­cance of the Robert E. Lee statue? When it’s gone, it di­min­ishes the op­por­tu­nity to teach sub­se­quent gen­er­a­tions of the hor­rors and de­struc­tive­ness of slav­ery. Let’s guard against ex­trap­o­lat­ing the mes­sage of Char­lottesville as in­dica­tive of our na­tion’s over­all racial cli­mate. We are a nearly 80 per­cent white coun­try that elected a black man pres­i­dent. In all of our shop­ping malls blacks, browns and whites walk, shop, eat and laugh to­gether.

Black and white ath­letes on col­lege and pro­fes­sional sport courts and fields all across Amer­ica hug one an­other in their vic­to­ries and shake hands with their op­po­nents in de­feat.

The KKK and An­tifa con­fronta­tion is hardly pre­sen­ta­tive of a na­tion that rep­re­sents re­mark­able racial, eco­nomic, so­cial and re­li­gious di­ver­sity. The en­tire mem­ber­ship of both groups would not fill the high school foot­ball sta­dium in Jack­son Hole, Wyo.

Our brothers and sis­ters of Acheinu have pro­vided an im­por­tant re­minder of an ex­hor­ta­tion from Eph­e­sians: “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is use­ful for build­ing up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”

The Day of Jewish Unity on Sept. 15 will be blessed if all Amer­i­cans join in a prayer for ci­vil­ity and peace.

ILLUSTRATION BY GREG GROESCH

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