( – promoted by buhdydharma )
My father never finished college but was a very accomplished and well-respected man. He served 21 years in the United States Army, retiring a Chief Warrant Officer, grade III. He grew up, one of nine, in the northern Mississippi delta country in grinding poverty. His childhood was filled with work and privation.
My father’s family were tenant farmers. They didn’t even own the land they lived and worked on. Theirs was a hardscrabble existence. They plowed vast tracts of Mississippi Delta bottom land by mule, sowed the crops, chopped out the weeds, and harvested the results all by hand. Their fortunes rose or fell with the weather and the vagaries of circumstance.
When my father was eight or nine, someone stole their family cow. This was a real tragedy as the survival of the youngest children (there were nine in all) depended on the milk from that cow, and the family was in no position to purchase a replacement. The tragedy was only averted when someone took pity on the family and gave them a cow.
The family who donated the cow were not themselves well off by any measure, they just had an extra cow and enough compassion and charity in their hearts to give it away.
Like my father before me, I once dreamed of a better world for my children. His dream came true – mine did not.
The dreams of my generation began to turn sour 45 years ago when John F. Kennedy was taken from us by assassins. This singular event began the great unraveling of the American Dream.
What is this terrible perversity in our nature that leads us to kill those who would lift us up? From the Nazarene to the Walrus, we have murdered our sages. Instead of learning their lessons, we have killed our teachers.
My father handed off to me a dream full of promise and possibility. The thought of what I am handing off to my son fills me with crazy sorrow.
I was 11 when they shot JFK. It’s hard to imagine, if you weren’t alive then, how shocking that was for us all. It was unimaginable that someone would kill the president. It was difficult to believe that anyone could be so evil.
But as history shows, people are capable of terrible evil. That’s why we have laws. And it is only by enforcing those laws that we can live in a world NOT dominated by evil men.
The road to our present sad state is paved with crimes gone unpunished. If the crimes of the last 8 years go unpunished, it can only be said that we deserve what we get.
Be that as it may, I can’t help but mourn for my son’s future, and I don’t think I’ll ever shake this crazy sorrow.