Seeing, Hearing, Understanding


I have been close to most of my students but as always happens there have been some with whom my connection was far stronger than with others. One young man in particular appeared to be quite lost and headed for trouble. Seeing his downward trajectory broke my heart because he was incredibly bright and I saw something quite special in him. Over time we spoke often and I encouraged him to create positive goals and to work hard to achieve them.

Life was not easy for the young man. He lived in a rough neighborhood where temptations were a constant. His family struggled just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Gangs often approached him in hopes of recruiting him because he was big and muscular and smart. He had already had some brushes with the law before I met him. In many ways he had given up on himself until I interceded. After our talks he began to view himself in more positive ways and as his grades improved he discussed dreams of becoming an engineer. I felt confident that I had played a small role in saving him from the downward pull of the environment in which he had been living but I had underestimated the power of forces that gnawed at him every single day.

Shortly after the Christmas holidays one year a theft occurred at the school. One of the students had lost some electronic gear and he and his parents were quite insistent that it had happened at in one of his classes. The administration did a search and made inquiries all to no avail. I made a plea to all of my students that they do the right thing and help to return the items to the rightful owner. That lead to a tip that broke my heart. The student with whom I had invested so much time and emotion had been seen with the stolen gear.

I did not want to believe that my protege had fallen from grace but I had to interview him to hear his side of the story. At first he concocted several lies but eventually broke down and admitted that he had taken the item and even a few other things that nobody had reported. He was planning to sell them in his neighborhood’s black market. The change he made from such deals provided him and his family with a little bit better life than they might otherwise have had.

To this day my stomach clinches and I want to sob when I think of what happened. I realized in that moment that my student lived in a world that I would never quite understand. I could not justify what he had done and of course I had to report him to the administrators but I was sickened that the progress he had made in redirecting his life had been so suddenly altered. As he sobbed in front of me and proclaimed, “I know you hate me now” I was stunned. Without hesitation I assured him, “I will never hate you. I love you, but I hate what you have done.”

I suppose this is the state of my conflicted emotions during this difficult moment in our nation’s history. I will always love my country and unlike many I will never have thoughts of leaving it because in spite of its flaws it is a great but still imperfect nation. I am willing to see those flaws and know that they are wrong. I dislike them intensely, but not the idea and ideals of America. Being a firm believer in reconciliation I am always willing to forgive but I also know that we must first squarely face problems, admit they are present, and then do our utmost to begin the process of repairing them. To do anything less for our country at this moment in time would be akin to my covering up my beloved student’s infraction, pretending it was not there. It would be the least patriotic thing that I might do.

I was ultimately able to defend my student as someone whom I believed to be innately good and worthy of help, but I made it clear that his actions were wrong. He ultimately returned the stolen items, made restitution and underwent a program of extensive counseling and support. I have not heard from him in many years so I don’t know how things ultimately turned out but I’d like to believe that we somehow saved him from a life that seemed so inevitable back then.  So it is with the United States of America. I believe that we are the good guys but many of us have been lying to ourselves that all is well. We have overlooked problems because they have not affected us personally.

It is quite human to want to avoid conflict particularly when it does not appear to be worth the effort. Some people even endure abusive situations rather than shake up the status quo. The great unknown of change can be frightening and so we fall back on comforting routines. Unfortunately if there are problems they inevitably grow until they can no longer be ignored.

I have been hearing concerns from my Black friends, colleagues and students for decades. At first they were rather quiet and somewhat nervous whispers and like so many I did not take them very seriously because in truth they did not affect my personal life. As time went by they became more and more insistent and so I tried to quell the fears of those who were confiding in me. Before long I began to notice the kind of things that they were telling me. I saw that they were indeed being treated differently than I was only because my skin was white and theirs was black. It made me feel uncomfortable to face that truth but I still felt that there was little more that I might do than to assure them of my love for them. Because nothing was ever really done to address the very real problems that they had described the impact of them became more and more noticeable over time until we finally reached this moment when our country seems to be on fire with rage.

I now see them. I now hear them. I now understand that something must be done but I am filled with fear because somehow the message is being lost in the furor of the moment. I know without a doubt that the looting and the graffiti and the destruction is wrong but those are actions, not the essence of what the vast majority of African Americans are attempting to tell us. I believe with every fiber of my being that in spite of the horrific scenes playing out we must remain calm. We must let our Black brothers and sisters know that we love them. We must begin a dialogue that has been too long in coming. We must join them in the work to bring the change that we need to see in our country.

We can show the true strength of this nation only by using what is best about it. The first amendment is perhaps the most important tool that we have. It assures us that freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and the right to petition will be protected. Our goal at this moment should be to use these freedoms to loudly and strongly defend and protect our Black citizens in their cry to be heard.

I long for a leader regardless of party affiliation or economic status to bring calm and comfort to the situation. I long for a leader with a real interest in discussing what needs to be done. We must find such people for surely they are in our midst. We must use the most wonderful tool that we have to bring them to the fore. We must bring them to our aid with our votes. I pray that with that power we will be able to find individuals who are willing to set aside their own agendas to do the work necessary to bring our country to the place where it always should have been. Our votes should be our voices.


Fulfilling the Promise of Democracy


I suspect that we are all on edge these days. With Covid-19 it’s been a tough several weeks and we have so little sense that things will return to normal any time soon. I’ve experienced moments of feeling strong and unstoppable, and times when I felt defeated by all of the illness and death. Mostly I have found myself all too often feeling disappointed in some of the negative attitudes I have witnessed. I’ve tried to concentrate on the mostly good and wonderful things that I have observed but sometimes late at night I have been ground down by a sense of disappointment that anyone would be ugly during such a time as this. I have often shed tears not because of any inconvenience to me but because of the extent to which this virus has caused suffering in the world.

It was within this context that I watched a video of the killing of George Floyd last week. I saw the heartless police officer with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck and I could only think the cop appeared to almost take delight in humiliating and harming Mr. Floyd. I felt a flurry of intensely negative emotions that raced from sorrow to anger. When protestors hit the streets in a state of rage I would normally have wanted to instantly chastise them for being so destructive. I am a peaceful person who has always followed the rules. I like order in my life but somehow I found myself understanding how they had reached the end of their patience with a system that has over and over again treated them and their ancestors without human respect. It was as though I too had run out of excuses for racist behavior.

In the days following I slept very little and when I did I kept having vivid dreams of my mother. In them I was desperately attempting to get close to her so that I might be comforted. She would look at me, smile invitingly but somehow there was a barrier between the two of us as though she was reminding me that she had already taught me what I needed to know. I thought of her and my children, grandchildren and former students day and night. I prayed for peace and also some kind of revelation that might help us all. I found it in remembering advice that my mother had given me at the very beginnings of my long career in education.

When I complained to my mama that my students were behind in their learning, often unwilling to do simple homework assignments and sometimes too rowdy for me to convey my lessons her reply was that I needed to figure out what I was doing wrong, not keep focusing on what I thought they were doing wrong. As I pushed back on her insistence that I needed to change she explained that it sounded to her as though my pupils were dealing with difficulties far more pressing to them than completing math practice each evening. She urged me to find out who they were, what bothered them, what excited them. She said that when I demonstrated compassion and a genuine desire to learn about them we would together begin a dialogue that would lead to everyone becoming better. I reluctantly followed her advice because I was desperate to make a difference in their lives. I soon realized that the art of teaching had to be human first.

As I have watched the looting and destruction in our country in the past many days I have been saddened and disturbed because I feel that it may only lead to more misunderstanding of the message I believe most of the protestors are earnestly attempting to convey. I  have worried that the just causes of our forty two million African American citizens are being highjacked by an element that does not truly represent them. I saw many of my white friends becoming increasingly disturbed and I heard the president invoking a position of force to quell the disturbances. I feared that the bad behaviors of the few in this historic moment would become yet another excuse for shutting down the voices of the peaceful  many just.

I thought of the beginnings of my country, a land that I do love, but a nation with ideals that have always been imperfect in their distribution. I know that members of my paternal grandmother’s family where here in the colonies very early on, and some of them chose to fight when the revolution began. Like so many I have tended to romanticize that epic chapter in history but over time I have learned that it was not quite as glorious in every instance as I would like to imagine. Wars are rarely pretty. People die in them. Property is destroyed in them. So too was our American Revolution a horrible time when the colonists must have been terribly divided and hoping to make the violence stop so that they might go back the their normal. While it was a glorious cause it exacted a terrible price for those who endured it.

As long as I live I will never ever understand how anyone could have believed that it was okay to capture, enslave and sell human beings. I’d like to mark it off as just a time when people didn’t know better but I have read too many accounts of brave souls advocating for the abolition of slavery from its very beginnings. Not only did the practice grow like a cancer in the colonies but it was eventually enshrined in the Constitution of the new country. There were a sufficient number of arguments over whether or not slavery should have been allowed for me to realize that we built our first hundred years of existence on a dastardly compromise. We allowed human beings to be bought and sold like livestock and did not even count them as full persons in the prescriptive phrases of the Constitution. Today’s problems were born in that horrific mistake. 

I have spent enough time researching slavery to know about the brutal conditions in which the people lived. The humiliations to which they were subjected were unconscionable and even though I have not yet found any evidence that my ancestors owned slaves I find myself wondering if my relations simply ignored the practice so as not to cause trouble. Somehow it would comfort me to think that maybe one among them was brave enough to speak out against the horror of the practice. 

When Abraham Lincoln finally freed the slaves it took another hundred years to pass legislation that allowed our black brothers and sisters to live among us rather than in segregated neighborhoods. It was not until I was in my teens that they were even allowed to eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels, used our public facilities, enjoy the same opportunities of education and work that were the taken for granted privileges of my family. Even then there were still Americans who viewed African Americans as inferior beings. Blacks are all too often stereotyped with labels that they do not deserve and try as they may to be part of the American dream even the most successful among them, including the man who became President of the United States, continued to suffer the indignities of racism.

I suppose that there is a breaking point that occurs when an entire group is being abused. There is a moment when one has to say, “Enough!  No More!” The death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer brought the almost two hundred fifty years of mistreatment boiling to the surface for Blacks in America who are tired of worrying about their safety and the safety of their children. They can no longer simply sit back and accept the tragedies that continue to stalk them no matter how hard they try. Like the Sons of Liberty of old they have cried out against the tyranny that they and their forebears have endured. This time they will be heard just as the patriots of old made their dissatisfaction of the status quo known to the king.

There are those who do not understand the frustration that has led to an eruption of destruction in Minnesota and other parts of the country and yet I suspect that it is something that our Founding Fathers would recognize. Their forays against the British merchants, governors and soldiers were often violent. First person accounts describe how angry colonists would vandalize and loot businesses and then sell the goods that they stole to support their uprisings. When the revolution officially began with gunshots in Concord only about forty percent of the people in what would eventually become the United States supported the philosophies and efforts of the patriots. Many loyalists were harassed and even run out of their homes by the rowdy revolutionaries.

Some of my husband’s kin chose to leave the country for the duration of the battle for independence rather than endure the chaos. Even back then people were quite divided about how to deal with the growing numbers of illegal acts targeting the king and his army. It was a violent and often bloody time that might make most of us uncomfortable if we were to see exactly how things were. Nonetheless the white colonists ultimately gained from the sacrifices that the patriots made but the Blacks did not. They were still in bondage even after our country won its freedom from the British and to this very day they suffer the indignities of discrimination.

We like to think of our nation as one where there is opportunity and freedom and justice for everyone. We have made progress in the almost two hundred fifty years since our country was formed but it must surely be apparent to all good men and women that we are not yet there. It is a struggle that continues to this very day. As we attempt to rid ourselves of the virus of Covid-19 we must be just as diligent in eradicating the virus of prejudice that should have been insisted upon from our country’s beginnings.  The United States of America will not heal and will not be as great as it should be until we break the chains of racism that have tainted all that we were supposed to believe about equality. Until we truly demonstrate our belief that all men and women are created equal with the same rights for all people all of the time we will not have fulfilled the promise of democracy. We will not accomplish this with armies and shows of force but with indications that we are ready to finally listen. 

His Life Was Profound


I think it is time to look for a moment at the life of Floyd George. He was born in North Carolina but grew up in Houston’s third ward, an area that I have known since my childhood. I hate to admit it but when I was just a youngster in the nineteen fifties it was often referred to with a very racist and ugly description using the “N” word followed by “town.” We often drove through the area on the way to my grandmother’s house and even as a small child I noticed the poverty and horrific conditions. I even recall asking my parents one time why we made black people live away from us and why they had separate schools and public facilities. I was told that it was just the way things were and that we all had to follow the rules. It was one of the few times that I did not think that my parents had hung the moon. Even as a seven year old I somehow understood that the treatment of black citizens was unfair.

George Floyd, or Floyd as his family and friends called him, would have been living in the third ward at a time after segregation. He was young enough to have been my son and I might have taught him at school had he and his family moved just a bit farther down the road in the southeast part of Houston. Instead he grew up in a part of town where people often struggled to make ends meet. He found a place for himself in athletics at Yates High School where he was the tight end on a football team that went all the way to the state finals. He also excelled at basketball and when one of his coaches landed a job at South Florida State College he was recruited. His college career only lasted two years but his coach and the coach’s wife would always remember Floyd as a sweet and gentle soul who made them smile.

Floyd stayed in touch with all of his old teammates many of whom enjoyed success as professional athletes and coaches. They had a kind of brotherhood from their high school days that kept them close even as the years passed. Floyd struggled to find his own success and to care for his wife and family. Eventually he had a brush with the law and spent five years in prison. He paid his dues and became determined to clean up his life. A buddy convinced him to relocate to Minnesota for a new start and Floyd saw the opportunity as one that might be just the ticket he needed.

Floyd was a good man with a big heart. He had learned from his own mistakes and he wanted to teach young people the importance of eschewing violence and seeking a good and honest life. He worked at a restaurant and club as a security officer and supplemented his salary there by driving a truck. His bosses and the customers he encountered all remember him as an optimistic sweet and happy soul who would have taken the shirt off of his back to help someone in need. Life seemed to be working well for him until Covid-19 struck and he lost his jobs.

We know the rest of Floyd’s tragic story all too well. By way of video we were eyewitnesses to his death. We saw the gentle giant breathe his last as a police officer calmly kept him pinned to the ground even as he struggled to hang onto life. It was an horrific end to a story that is all too often repeated in our society but rarely played out so publicly. Still there is so much more to George Floyd than we will ever see. He is so much more than a tragic victim of police brutality.

His family is in a state of disbelief that their beloved brother, cousin, father would have died in such an horrific manner. His friends who played with him at Yates High School wonder how this could have happened to such a kind person. Even his second grade teacher remembers a sweet  little boy who so seemed to be heading for a promising life that she saved samples of his work. Nobody who knew Floyd thought of him with anything other than admiration. He was in their words the kind of person who was always helping, alway protecting and somehow when he needed help and protection most it was not there.

George Floyd is coming back home to Houston this week. The alumni association of Yates High School has already honored him as the fine athlete that everyone knew. His family has asked that everyone respect his peaceful nature when using him as a symbol. The Houston police force wants to provide an escort for his funeral just as they would if an officer had fallen. The people back home are heartbroken that one of our hometown citizens had his life ended so tragically. His death hurts us all.

George Floyd is so much more than just symbol of discrimination and its effects on black lives. He was someone who was loved. He was joyful, someone who encouraged and supported everyone that he met. He liked to give hugs. He was someone whose impact on people was profound even before that fateful moment when he died. Let us not forget his vibrancy. Let us remember him with love.

We Must Lead Ourselves Into the Promised Land


I began my personal journey through the pandemic back in March. When I decided to write my thoughts on what was happening in my tiny corner of the world I did it to leave a record for my grandchildren and great grandchildren yet to come. I would have liked to have had a written day by day account of how the Spanish Flu of 1918 affected my grandparents, but of course they were too busy simply surviving to have the luxury of journaling about their experiences and thoughts. Neither of my grandmothers were literate and both of my grandfathers were laborers who only got paid when they showed up for work. I feel certain that they simply pushed through that pandemic hoping that they would stay well so that they might provide for themselves and their families.

My writing has not so much been an unbiased historical account of Covid-19 as a depository for my feelings. In describing what I see happening I almost naturally draw on a lifetime of experiences and perceptions. At first I viewed the virus as a kind of adventurous challenge. I would surely show my mettle in being able to stay well and navigate through the restrictive days of isolation. I saw it after all as mostly a matter of staying busy and creating purpose for myself, but over time my emotions overtook my resolve. I looked outward and saw suffering on a grand scale. It became more difficult to simply enjoy the quiet time in my home when the numbers of sick and dying steadily increased. These were people and I could not even begin to imagine how their lives had been turned upside down. My goal became less and less about protecting and entertaining myself and more and more about doing whatever I needed to do to flatten the exponential curve of disease.

I was bemused and saddened as I saw great rifts developing within our population over how seriously to take Covid-19. I am a mathematics teacher and from a family of engineers and scientists and doctors. I suppose that I am inclined to make decisions based on research and data from experts and so it seemed ridiculous to listen to anyone other than those respected for their work with medicine. As the anger in the nation grew and armed citizens stormed state capitols I found myself harking back to the year in which I married.

It was 1968, and at nineteen I was far too young to be making a lifetime commitment and yet events from that year had convinced me that reaching for love was the best decision I would ever make. In that fateful year Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Not long after presidential candidate, Robert Kennedy, was gunned down following his primary victory in California. The year was filled with student protests and when the Democratic Convention was held that summer in Chicago things turned violent as protestors clashed with the police. I would always remember 1968 as both the year that I married and perhaps the worst year in the country’s history during my lifetime.

At my wedding the priest who gave the homily spoke of how much courage and optimism it took for two people to look to the future given the violence and divisions that seemed to permeate every corner of the nation. He applauded Mike and I for demonstrating the certainty of our love in uncertain times. I felt and understood every word that he spoke and prayed on that evening that peace and justice would one day become the rule for America.

Now more than fifty years later I was spending day after day inside my home with Mike and we both somehow felt as though what was happening was profoundly worse than anything our country had endured in our lifetimes. Little did we know that in the very week when the nation recorded its one hundred thousandth death that ghosts from our past would rise once again.

I wonder how it can be that only about a week ago we watched in horror as police officers took the life of George Floyd in a brutally cavalier fashion. He was only forty six, young enough to have been one of my children. He had grown up in Houston, my hometown. He attended Yates High School and played on their football team. By all accounts from those who knew him he was a sweet man who traveled to Minnesota to get a fresh start in life. On the day he was murdered he had used a counterfeit twenty dollar bill to make a purchase. We don’t know if he was even aware that it was bogus but that is neither here nor there. The manner in which he was ultimately mistreated is all that really matters and as I watched the painful last moments of his life it felt as though all of those years when I chose to set the pain and injustice of 1968 aside had been a selfish unwillingness on my part to face bitter truths. We have problems that have yet to be addressed and no slogans or hats or pretense that they are not still with us will make them go away anymore than pretending that Covid-19 is a hoax will allow us to resume business as usual without fear of more sickness and dying.

I have forced myself to watch the unfolding tragedy of pent up anger night after night. It is a painful thing to see. I do not like it. I want it to stop, but I know deep down inside that it will not go away permanently until we face it squarely and fairly just as we must face the virus. The tragedy of what is happening in our country today is not that we don’t have normal graduations or that our European vacations have been cancelled but that people are suffering and yet we are anxious to get everything back to normal even as we sense that nothing is normal. We are fooling ourselves if we just ignore the cries for our attention, for our help.

Using dogs and force to control human beings was a common method for those who enslaved the ancestors of many of the young people who are shocking us with their behavior in the streets of America’s cities. Vigilante lynching was used to keep the newly freed slaves in line after the Civil War. Even when Martin Luther King led peaceful protests the great grandparents and grandparents of today’s young people met with billy clubs and rubber hoses wrapped with barbed wire. When American athletes quietly kneeled during the National Anthem to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter they were loudly criticized and their efforts were mocked and ignored. I wonder how far any group of people can be pushed before their anger boils over in the kind of lawlessness that we are seeing? I wonder how we and our children and grandchildren would be acting if the tables were turned?

There are forty two million black Americans living in our country today. Only a handful of them have taken to the streets and even among those who are protesting an even smaller number are committing illegal acts. Nonetheless the vast majority of all African Americans are viscerally hurt and filled with grief and anger that even after all this time discrimination based on the color of their skin still exists. They are the group most affected by Covid-19 in this country. They are the most affected by the massive unemployment that has resulted from the pandemic. Nearly every problem our country has affected them more than any of us.

Our African American coworkers and neighbors and friends need us to finally hear their pleas and understand that while slavery was long ago the indignities associated with it have yet to be fully resolved. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that just because we do not personally discriminate that there is no need to continue the efforts to eradicate the underbelly of racism. We can no longer rely on an Abraham Lincoln or a Martin Luther King to do the heavy lifting for us. We must lead ourselves out of this wilderness and into the promised land by setting things right once and for all. For surely if we only clean up the damage and go back to our normal lives the ugly stain of slavery will continue to haunt us all. 

In Memoriam


Memorial Day is always a pensive time for me on so many levels. This year I felt the spirit of all of the souls who lost their lives in the service of our country more than ever. I also thought of those who made it through wars but whose lives were forever changed by memories of battles that they fought. War is a terrible thing and we have generally tried very hard to use it as a last resort. Nonetheless even now we have soldiers serving in war torn countries knowing that they may lose their lives at any moment. Such courage is difficult to understand but many who served in the military have told me that in the heat of a battle the focus becomes the preservation of the members of the corps. It is all about attempting to insure that everyone survives and leaves the battlefield alive. That profound human instinct to protect takes over to create magnificent acts of heroism.

I am a pacifist by nature but I understand that there are indeed times that require humans to defend themselves, their families, their country. If I had my way diplomacy would be rational and powerful enough to end war forever but I know that somehow people have a very difficult time setting aside their differences in a spirit of compromise. Throughout history we have found ourselves engaged in combat again and again and our young men have been called upon to fight. On Memorial Day we remember those whose lives were cut short and while we honor them, we also silently wonder why they had to much such a profound sacrifice for the rest of us.

I spent time this past weekend watching some movies about the brave men who have fought for our cause. First I viewed Glory, one of my all time favorite films. I cannot watch it without ultimately sobbing. It encapsulates the mixed emotions that surround the history of our country including perhaps the worst political mistake we ever made in allowing slavery to coexist with the ideals of democracy. While the nation was growing and prospering the politics of slavery that divided the people became more and more inflamed ultimately pitting state against state, region against region, brother against brother.

My great grandfather who was living in Kentucky chose to fight for the union forces. He spent four years first as a foot soldier and then a calvary man. The war placed a toll on his health. Somehow he was never as robust as he had once been and surely the horrors that he witnessed must have haunted him. His unit was tasked with collecting the bodies of the dead and wounded soldiers after the battle of Shiloh. It had to have been a gruesome sight that haunted him even as he settled into a somewhat normal existence had began a family. I think of them often and feel both pride for his service and regret that he had to endure such a thing. 

I also watched We Were Soldiers another film that brings out emotions from my youth. It takes place during the Vietnam War in the year when I was a senior in high school. Seeing the brutality of the battle it depicts only reinforces the sorrow that I felt whenever I learned of the death of someone who had been a classmate or a friend. While many of them had enlisted, others were drafted into service. The country was conflicted about the necessity of our involvement in what was essentially a civil war in a place so far away from home. While it was touted as a stand against communism it became clear over time that somehow we were outsiders attempting to protect Vietnam from a war that the Viet Cong was determined to win no matter how long it took.

The wall in Washington D.C. lists the names of all of the almost sixty thousand souls that we lost in that effort. I am haunted by the humanity of it each time I visit and run my fingers over the names of those that I knew. They were brave individuals who believed that theirs was a just cause but to this very day I wonder if losing them might have been prevented if we had known beforehand how the conflict would ultimately end. How different would their lives and the lives of those who loved them be if they had never gone to Vietnam? 

History, and particularly military history, is riddled with questions. It is easier to see the might have beens in retrospect. An armchair general can consider what went wrong with great clarity but the reality is that we will never really know what would have happened if we had chosen different routes. Wars are caused when humans cannot agree on how the world should be. Our young people go out to fight the battles for the philosophies of politicians and sometimes tragically lose their lives. I consider how wonderful it would be if we never had to engage our youth in such horrors ever again while realistically understanding that such an ideal will never come to pass.

This Memorial Day was haunted by the growing divide amongst us regarding Covid-19, a virus that has taken close to one hundred thousand souls in a span of  only three months. While the disease stalks the world in search of bodies to invade we argue with one another and point fingers at those who are attempting to lead us. We choose sides and sometimes even viciously attack those whose beliefs differ from our own while our courageous essential workers have been drafted into the role of keeping us safe. It is a new kind of battle with so much uncertainty that none of us can truly know exactly how to react.

I cannot understand why we humans choose to argue with one another so often and why we so seldom choose to find a road that eschews hostility. Perhaps it is in our natures, something that we have never been able to totally control. We have gone to war with one another in an endless loop of death and destruction that rears its head more often than we wish and yet we still work at odds with one another and follow those who actually encourage us to do so. We repeat the mistakes and the sins of our ancestors because in the end we are not so different from them. Memorial Day should always remind us of the cost of disagreements that become so entrenched that we no longer communicate. The spirits of all of the lost humanity should spur us to find ways of loving instead of fighting.