Category Archives: Society

Memories of Yesteryear

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Before retiring last night and after I rose this morning, I have not been able to stop the memories of yesteryear from flooding my mind.

It was the summer of 1968, prior to my returning to school for my freshman year of high school. We were living in Aurora, Illinois at the time.

It was a summer of unrest. Riots and demonstrations in the streets flooded the nightly newscasts on all three of the only networks of the time – ABC, CBS and NBC.

I was already something of a history and political buff. So I watched intently to the scenes playing out on our color television.

The images were much more real than what they were that other July night watching on a black-and-white screen as President John F. Kennedy warned the nation about the Red Scare 70 miles off our coast, which I had watched as a second grader living in Anderson, Indiana.

Come to think of it – it had been a decade of unrest.

The standoff with the USSR, the assassination of President Kennedy, the social upheaval of the hippies and flower children, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the marches of those seeking civil rights for all, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the burning of bras and draft cards, the running away to Canada, the protests against the Viet Nam War, Woodstock – all were part of this decade.

Now in July of 1968, transfixed I watched the National Guard on the streets of Chicago a mere 60 miles away. I saw mounted police trampling on protesters. I saw the barricades, the smoke from tear gas, from Molotov cocktails, bloodied faces outside the Democratic National Convention.

I watched protesters dragged out of the convention. I saw the inability of nominee Hubert Humphrey to quell the unrest.

It was total chaos. A couple of weeks later, I remember Everett Dirksen, our own Senator, take control at the Republican National Convention. I watched as if in a trance as Dirksen had the hall on its feet reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

But it was still a summer, a decade of unrest.

Over the past week, once more I have been transfixed seeing reminders of that summer nearly 50 years ago.

The killings.

The marches in the streets.

Presidential nominating conventions in the wings.

The saying goes that history repeats itself.

We are also admonished to learn from the past so as not to make the same mistakes.

Have we learned nothing?

From the Cornfield, America the Beautiful, God shed His grace on Thee.

Guilty: Failure to Understand, Incapable of Empathy

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The truth is staring me in the mirror.

I am an older, white male.

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As such, I have a failure to understand, an incapability of empathy and am justifiably labeled guilty.

Why deny it?

How can I as an older, white male be able to “get it”?

How can I as an older, white male know how it feels to be abused both verbally and physically?

How can I as an older, white male know the hurt of being turned down for employment or fired from employment because of being who one is?

How can I as an older, white male be able to relate to police hostility or brutality?

How can I as an older, white male think I can be party to healing wounds that cross time?

How can I as an older, white male have the gall to talk about injustice and inequality?

How can I as an older, white male discover my options limited in achieving the great American Dream?

How can I as an older, white male know the humiliation of mothers pulling their children close to them when passing by?

How can I as an older, white male relate to the shame as people cross to the other side of the street in avoidance?

How can I as an older, white male comprehend being refused service in a restaurant or store simply for being alive?

Anyone can see it clearly in the photo that I am an older, white male – thus I am suspect.

It is plain to see that I have no seat at the table with the downtrodden.

The only participation I can have in the conversation is to admit my guilt and complicity for actions perpetrated 50, 100, 200, 300 years ago.

Those actions surely were committed by someone like me. I am guilty whether I am blood-related or not to the perpetrator.

I am guilty whether any thoughts of malice have ever crossed my mind or not.

I am guilty whether I have ever committed any acts of inhumanity or not.

I am the spitting image of the guilty.

From the Cornfield, not sure if I mentioned it, but I am also gay.

I have been asked to move from where I lived.

I have been beaten.

I have been threatened with jail time.

I have been met at the church door and told I was not welcome.

I have seen employment opportunities disappear.

I have been called things which would make the most vile person blush.

None of that matters.

I am betrayed by my appearance in the picture.

I am an old, white male.

Nothing matters except for what is so obvious by one look.

But don’t call it profiling.

A New Day, A New Week

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark
Delve into the light and dark that is Mark
It’s a new day.
It’s a new week.
A blank piece of paper lies before us.
What shall we write on it this day, this week?
After the horror that shook the nation last week, can we move forward this week?
There is a disconnect among the facets, the people who make up this fabric we call America. Our perspectives are shaped by our own lives, our own experiences. It is difficult to understand another person’s concerns and issues when our own concerns and issues do not mirror those of others.
How does this great American experiment, this melting pot of humanity manage to be what our national motto, E pluribus unum, states – Out of many one?
It’s a new day.
It’s a new week.
What shall I write upon this empty page?
That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.
And how is your Monday going?

An Act of Terror

cornfieldlogoNo matter the motivation, the deadly attack in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday, November 27, 2015, was an act of terror.

The standoff, the slaying of three innocents and wounding of nine others result in terrorizing a community, the state and the nation.

Put the politics and ideology aside. Stop walking on egg shells.

This was terrorism.

Most acts of mass killings are acts of terror.

The mayhem and slaughter at a theater in Aurora, Colorado a few years ago resulted in terror for not only the victims, but also the city and nation. The deadly rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, was a terrorist act. The shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee was terrorist in nature. I could go on and on.

These type of lethal events are acts of terror.

The shooting of a nine-year-old boy in a Chicago alley was a terrorist act. Although it appears to have been a fatal result of an ongoing gang war, the result was spreading even more fear, terror and anger in the community.

Let us call things what they are. There is no reason to be sensitive in these cases. Throw political correctness out the window.

It is wrong for politicians, including President Barack Obama, to try and turn this into a political argument. It is wrong for presidential candidates to attempt to raise money and shoot arrows over this tragedy.

Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism.

If in fact this deranged individual who holed up in a Planned Parenthood facility unleashing his deadly derangement, the result is still the same. He not only murdered innocents, he terrorized the community.

From the Cornfield, there is no justification for such action. No matter the motivation, this was wrong. Let the full brunt of the law come down on his head.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, the community.