A Wise Shipmate

Very early this morning, i discovered my shipmate from the Hawkins, Rob DeWitt got up as early in Maine as i do in the Southwest corner.

He had seen my post with the photos from my Aunt Bettye Kate Hall’s album and remarked, “Simpler times.”

i replied on his Facebook comment, and then decided i wished to share it publicly in case his and my comments on the post were missed. My expanded response:

They were simpler times, Rob DeWitt, but we tend to remember the good things and forget the bad. Still this group of men and women, as i am sure your parents did also, had a much simpler, black and white, more straightforward approach to the world, couched in good principles. There was more disease, less knowledge, and underlying and often outright bigotry, and prejudice, and sometimes, to paraphrase Bob Seger, i wish i didn’t know now what they didn’t know then, but from here it seems they were closer to the right thing than we are today.

It seems to me that generation was truly the “Greatest Generation” as dubbed by Tom Brokaw. But i don’t necessarily apply that term for the war effort. i apply it for i believe their core belief of equality brought about our considering what equality for all really meant. They were a long way from it, but their innate goodness taught their children true right from wrong, leading to the next step. Even those with darker skins taught their children they deserved equality.

Our generation and those following us have drawn lines in the sand, digging in, ready to fight for OUR rights, not theirs. We are divided in every which way and there is no attempt to try and understand, “walk in the customer’s shoes” so to speak, or watch and listen to the underlying problems experienced by the other side. No one is willing to take his foot and brush away those lines in the sand.

Our generation, many of all persuasions saw a need to protest injustice. You, Andrew, and i were serving our country, meeting our obligation, and were consequently removed from that protest, but it was needed. It began an honest effort to rid us of inequality, but somehow, it has led to division, not unity.

Now it seems equality is pretty much described accurately by Mose Allison in his song “Mercy.” “Everybody’s crying justice, just as long as they get theirs first.”

As noted several times, i could not bring myself to vote for any of the four candidates. i did not trust any of them. My non-vote, i hoped in some small way, demonstrated my disappointment in the choices. My wife, daughters, and many others, are fearful of Trump becoming president. i am not. Why? i trust the system, the process.

We have swung back and forth in our politics since Jefferson’s Democratic Republicans and Hamilton’s Federalists sought for control of the system. If Trump holds firm on his ridiculous campaign promises, the system, the process, will take care of him. i suspect that will happen, and i hope if it does, the two parties will recognize the need to cooperate, not posture and continue to draw their stupid lines in the sand.

i don’t like the electoral college. It had its purpose, although that purpose is fuzzy to me. But it is our system and we must, must abide by it. Those who are now protesting are in effect saying they don’t desire to abide by our system. If they don’t, then they should leave or work to make the system better, work together so the process is better, not complain because they didn’t get what they wanted.

Yes, it was simpler times back in 1941. The country was uniting to defeat the threat to our freedom, and uniting was necessary to ensure that freedom. Now we have a bigger threat. No, even though ISIS and extremists from many cultures and religions, including ours are serious threats, our real threat was clearly predicted years ago by Pogo, the main character of Walt Kelly’s brilliant comic strip, when he declared:

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Still, these folks pictured in the Smoky Mountains in 1942 were wonderful, incredible people in simpler times. i like them better than what we have now. But then, i wasn’t there; i’m here. Perhaps my vision is blurred by the beauty of the memories.

But i will continue to try and live like they taught me.

2 thoughts on “A Wise Shipmate

  1. Jim, Marti and I discuss this very issue many times. We are both in accord that we were raised with a clearly defined knowledge of right and wrong . So clearly, that it leaves no doubt.
    True, Democracy is messy but, like a good marriage, it requires a lot of work and it’s still better than the alternatives.

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