It seems strange that when we have disagreements with one another, it can be so easy to see the other person as stupid, uninformed, or even in the grip of evil influences.
In all too many cases we end up with enemies, or at least in failing to enjoy one another's company from that point forward. It doesn't do much good to say that people are not our enemies, only ideas are. The problem is that so many people defend so tenaciously such wild ideas. If only everybody would agree with me, what a happy place this world could be! Now there's a simple minded solution that actually comprises the sub-conscious attitude of many without their really realizing it.
This country has been referred to as the melting pot, and that definition is becoming more and more realistic as more people come from more places, in greater numbers than ever before. It doesn't take a great deal of honest objectivity to realize that this can be an important, necessary, element in the further evolution of creating the greatest nation ever known. I'm going to be bold, and say something that you all know, but too many of us often forget, especially when defending our own causes. There are good and bad, smart and ignorant people in all races, and all ethnic groups of any kind. There are good and bad, smart and ignorant people in both sexes. In short, our motives are best served when we accept good people from whatever source, and no longer try to justify ourselves with making broad brush statements about our neighbors.
An article of mine published on this page back in August 2004 dealt with the fact that we are all brothers. It pointed out that we are all descended from two parents, therefore four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and 16 great-great- grandparents and so on. Every time you go back another generation, you double the number of people in that generation from whom you are a direct descendant. If therefore you go back to 1492 when Columbus discovered America, you will find it inescapable that you are the direct descendant of more people from that day than there were on the earth at that time. I don't see how anyone can escape the logic thereby that he/she is a descendant of the whole cloth of humanity. If you trace any twig on any branch far enough, they all revert back to the same root source. You doubtless are the descendant of wonderful people who were the pride of their day, and also your share of worthless, even murderous ne'er-do-wells, as I'm sure I am also by the same logic.
There are doubtless probably some of both extremes that we have in common. Think about it. Perhaps we should think of America not so much as a melting pot, but as finally, a grand family reunion of humanity! It is imperative that we recognize our interrelationship if we are to survive.
We humans are truly exquisite creatures, but none of us can do much alone by ourselves, not even Einstein. Working together, and cooperating in our various, multiplicity of talents, however, we are limitless in what we may accomplish. We are like bricks. A single brick is not worth keeping, but enough of them, used properly, can become a most beautiful castle. It seems then that our challenge is not who will take care of me, so much as it is for each of us to do what we can, not who we can.
It may even be possible to create that splendid, famous, fairy tale ending and all live happily ever after. It has been said that if you are not working on a solution, you are likely a part of the problem! May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org