Have you watched the news lately??
You really don’t have to watch the news to see how much divide is going on in our country, our world or even just in those around you.
It used to be you could say, “I don’t want to discuss religion or politics” and that would keep you out of hot water with people at your work place, neighbors or the new in-laws. Nowadays, it could be a broad range of topics. Almost anything is a hot topic or it’s going to lead straight to a heated debate.
I think there are times and places for debates and places that should be safe from debates but I also think there are ways to “debate” (actually discuss is a better word when done right). It doesn’t require an argument but it does require respecting another person’s opinion, choices, lifestyle, space, etc. and also knowing a decent amount of what you are talking about because you, yourself have taken the time to look into the subject or you, yourself have actually been through the matter at hand.
A subject came up today about gays. Yep, I am going to jump straight in, head first to one of the hottest topics that has just been drudged around for years. Because it, like many other topics seems to be just brought up as though it isn’t going to affect someone if it is going against them, their choices, their opinion or their lifestyle. It is like one of those things that are hush hush and everyone wants to talk about it but nobody wants to say they are curious enough to either ask a gay person questions about their homosexuality (I am not going to say their lifestyle or choice here because I don’t believe it is just a lifestyle or always a choice) or even think about the fact this topic, like many others, through time has been shoved behind closed doors, misunderstood and not given the proper attention it does deserve. Think about it. Is there something you didn’t understand 5 years ago, 10 years ago or 15 years ago that you do now? Maybe not something like this but something you have since looked into and wish you had earlier and not judged before you looked into the matter? I think each of us can say yes to that question. Have you heard of someone else misjudging someone and thinking, “They should really think about that or get all of the facts first.” Maybe you should read on and follow the posted links. Some things might surprise you.
Everyone has their opinion and everyone has their rights, right? When you say “everyone”, do you mean everyone or just the ones you see “eye to eye” with? I am going to look at this from a different angle. Give it a different perspective. Many things aren’t so cut and dry to be able to draw a quick opinion without putting effort into collecting facts, getting to know someone and really understanding what your part really is in the matter when it comes to casting judgment. This seems to be quite blurry for many people these days (at least from where I am standing and in a lot of what I am observing, reading and hearing). I am not just talking about mainstream media either. If I used that for the information I draw from, I would be a shallow, fearful individual. There are a lot of things that we hear daily. There are usually more than two sides to everything. Just like we have a chance to judge others, others have that chance to judge us. Ultimately, God is the judge. He is the only judge on many matters and only He knows our hearts and the hearts of others. Remember that. And on many things that have been argued over for hundreds of years, He will be the final judge on these matters too.
Throughout history there have been many times where all over the world, judging has been taken into the wrong hands. Millions of lives have been lost. Human beings have gone back and forth against each other all over the world because of race, gender, religion, sexual preference, politics, land, greed…. I could go on. It has turned into Wars. Not once, not twice, over and over. Not every war means weapons out and armies against each other either. They can be in our country, in our hometowns, in our “close knit communities”. When people see others as different or feel their views are wrong, suddenly they are the enemy and either they must change or suddenly it becomes a place of hatred, intolerance, judgment and even if it isn’t with open violence or painted signs, the message is there, the feelings are there and things can quickly get out of hand. Our young people are watching and picking up on the message we are sending out. Some people are okay with that. That is their objective and what they hope to do. I don’t feel that is the right message. To understand this, first we must look at history. So, this entry is going to be about history. I will touch on more after this entry.
The fact is that history repeats itself because we allow it to do so. If you read books from History or you listen to speeches from past Presidents… (all of them) and you look around and see what is going on in our society today, it is shameful to me. I say that because of the fact we have the GUIDANCE of history. We must learn from history. There have been so many lessons laid out for us but, as human beings we to have to look at each other just that way and see how history has taught us that throughout the world, judging each other hasn’t done anything but lead to death and, too many times massive destruction. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I could see where war has been necessary and in our part that has mainly been in the times of coming to another’s defense to protect rights and independence. Obviously before taking on any war, we have to know what we are standing for, who we are standing with and what we are able to do, how long and with what military man power, materials and finances.
As the years have gone on, the ease of international information has made a huge difference in our society and societies around the world. International travel has brought more and more cultures both to and from many different countries allowing people to come to the U.S. and Americans to travel abroad. The United States is a Nation that is full of diversity and has become the great culture that it is due to its diversity. No other country has this advantage of such diversity. Many times instead of this being appreciated, it is not only downplayed, it is looked down on as differences that many can’t get along with. There are of course a great amount of people that wholeheartedly enjoy the diversity in our Nation and the many positive attributes this brings.
When you are in your work place, the mall, an amusement park or the airport, if you take a moment and look around you will notice just how many people are around you. Everyone is living their own life. Everyone has their own families, their own background, their own worries, dreams, and are moving about their day as you are. Although they may not share the same religion, race, ethnic background, sexual preference, or even have many of the typical ideals set up the same way, for the most part, although we each have our difference, in many ways, we have far more in common. Other people often see you, the same way you see them, another person.
So, let’s take a look back at history and then move on from there to start moving forward.
Times change. A lot of people say, “I wish things could go back to like it was when I was growing up.” Okay, so let’s say that was during the 40’s,50’s 60’s or 70’s.
Let’s take a look back….. Many horrible things have happened. And there’s been productive and good things. Please take a chance to click on some links.
In the 40’s
*The Japanese attack the US base at Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941. In the surprise attack, more than 350 Japanese airplanes sink 12 US ships and destroy or damage more than 300 aircraft. More than 2,300 military personnel are killed and 1,100 wounded. More than 1,100 men on the battleship Arizona die and the ship sinks.
*Due to the Japanese attacks at Pearl Harbor more than 110,000 Japanese Americans (Nisei) living on the West Coast are moved inland to internment camps, some for the duration of the war. Although most were born in this country, the Nisei are designated enemy aliens who must obey travel restrictions, curfew, and contraband regulations. Many lose their homes, farms and property during this time of internment.
* In Europe we had a World War that included a Holocaust with Adolf Hitler‘s
Nazis killing over 6 million European Jews plus millions more that were considered “different” from what the leading Nazis had considered acceptable. War ravages everywhere. In the US, the draft is taking over. Gas and sugar is rationed. Women are working to replace men and keep lines of necessary war equipment rolling out. In 1944, China is in its 7th year of War and Japan is taking their kids out of school to work in factories to produce bombs and other war equipment.
*The morning of June 6, 1944, (known as D-Day) 3,000 warships carry 200,000 American and British soldiers cross the stormy English Channel and land on the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy, France, to begin a vicious battle with the German army. The Battle of the Bulge begins in December as Hitler musters 500,000 troops along the Allied front from southern Belgium into Luxembourg. In bitter cold, they push ahead 50 miles, creating a bulge in the Allied lines. By the end of January, 1945, more than 76,000 Americans have been killed, wounded or captured.
*Nearly one million men, women, and children in the Leningrad, Russia, die from starvation and cold during a two-and-a-half-year siege and blockade by German troops.
*After considering all options, President Harry S. Truman gives the order and on August 6, 1945, the US drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. In minutes, half of the city vanishes and about 200,000 people are killed or missing. Radiation reaches more than 100,000 people. On August 9, the US drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. In September, Japan surrenders unconditionally on board the USS Missouri.
*By the time World War II was over in 1945, nearly 300,000 Americans had been killed. In all countries about 55 million people lost their lives. And more civilians lost their lives than soldiers. In 1948, the Soviet Union blockades Berlin, Germany, trying to force the Allies out of West Berlin.
There were some good things in the 40’s as well. Aside from the fact all of the good that was done by all the good troops that fought for the freedom during World War 2 and all those at home that helped keep things going while troops were being deployed also, war time takes everyone’s effort. Here are a few of the noteworthy things that happened during that time period.
*The Social Security Administration, created by 1930s New Deal legislation, sends out its first checks.
*CBS demonstrates the first color television in New York City, and WNBT in New York City becomes the country’s first regular television station, broadcasting to about 10,000 viewers.
*Transportation expands. The first multi-lane superhighway, October 1, 1940 the Pennsylvania Turnpike opens; and the first Los Angeles freeway opens. Burma Shave roadside ads are set up along the highways.
The 1940’s brought about something that is still going very strong today, McDonald’s which originally opened in San Bernadino, California. They started small and now they are everywhere and don’t appear to be going anywhere, anytime soon.
With the good and the bad, the 40’s to me, was primarily spent fighting wars affecting nearly everyone around the world in some way.
Let’s look at the 50’s.
Well, I am going to stick as close as possible to the Home Front, the U.S. But, mind you what goes on around the world is closely tied to the U.S. in many many ways. Let’s start right at the beginning of the 50’s.
*U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin tells President Truman that the State Department is infiltrated with communists and communist sympathizers. This initiates a period of witch hunts and blacklists.
*Former U.S. State Department official Hiss is convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years in prison. He was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948. Let the finger pointing begin.
*Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death for espionage against the U.S. for selling classified information about the atomic bomb to the Russians. They are executed in 1953. (Can nobody keep their mouth shut!)
*Rosa Parks, an African American woman, is arrested after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama. Her arrest sparks a bus boycott led by local minister Martin Luther King Jr., and sets the American civil rights movement in motion.
*North Vietnam, through the Viet Cong, begins a guerilla war against South Vietnam.
*In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus calls the National Guard to prevent nine African American students from integrating Little Rock’s Central High School. He defies the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
*In 1959, Fidel Castro installs the first communist regime in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. will later break off diplomatic relations in 1961.
Okay, the good times of the 50’s…. I remember there were poodle skirts, fun music and some good movies, oh and Elvis! There were also advancements and some things that just stand out.
*The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is passed, limiting the president to a maximum of two terms in office.
*The Brown v. Board of Education decision is handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court saying that “separate but equal” school systems are unconstitutional. An era of desegregation of schools is instituted.
*RCA introduces the first color TV sets, and NBC begins regular broadcasts in color.
*Elvis Presley releases the first of more than 170 hit songs, “Heartbreak Hotel.”
*1958 NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is founded and starts the Mercury Project to take the first Americans into space. (First though, animals were sent…not all flights were successful)
*American Airlines launches the jet age in the U.S. transportation industry with the first transcontinental flights with a Boeing 707 aircraft.
*Albert Sabin develops a live-virus polio vaccine that can be taken orally and offers longer immunity than the Salk vaccine.
Onto the 60’s
This is the decade I was born in and I remember learning all that went on during this decade when I was in Junior High and High School.
*U.S.-trained Cuban exiles attempt to overthrow the Castro government in Cuba with an invasion at the “Bay of Pigs.” The invasion fails badly. It’s a major embarrassment to the Kennedy administration.
*The Berlin Wall is constructed in Germany to prevent East Berliners from defecting to the West.
*In 1962, Nelson Mandela, deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC), is arrested in South Africa for agitating against apartheid laws.
*On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated on November 22 in Dallas, Texas, by Lee Harvey Oswald.
*Early 1964, U.S. destroyers are allegedly attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. In response, President Johnson pushes through Congress a resolution allowing him to greatly increase U.S. troop levels in Vietnam. The escalation of the war begins.
*On March 7,1965 600 civil rights marchers are attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. Only the third, and last, march successfully makes it into Montgomery.
*In New York, on February 21, 1965, Black Muslim leader Malcolm X is assassinated.
*1967 By year’s end, there are 480,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam. The U.S. begins mining rivers in North Vietnam.
*In Washington, DC, 50,000 people protest the Vietnam War at the Lincoln Memorial. Students nationwide burn their draft cards. Mohammad Ali is stripped of his boxing title for refusing to join the Army because of his Muslim faith.
*On March 16, 1968 in South Vietnam, the My Lai Massacre takes places conducted by a Unit of the US Army taking the lives of mostly women, babies and elderly ranging in ages of 1 to 82. The death toll ranges from 347 to 500 due to chaotic circumstances.
*1968 As the U.S. presidential campaign heats up, President Lyndon Johnson shocks the nation by announcing he will not seek reelection because of frustrations with the Vietnam War.
*Just before the announcement, Senator Robert F. Kennedy had entered the race. He won the critical California primary in June, but within minutes, on June 6, 1968 he was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.
*Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, by James Earl Ray. Riots erupt across the U.S.
*In 1968 Pope Paul VI issues a encyclical against all artificial means of contraception. In 1970, he declares that priestly celibacy is fundamental to the Roman Catholic Church.
During the 60’s there were also some BIG happenings that the world will always remember, that many of us see in our day to day lives and other things that are still being improved upon. And, there was music! Always music!
*The Peace Corps is established by President Kennedy encouraging young people to volunteer to help third world countries. Over the years, more than 187,000 people have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in 139 countries.
*February 20, 1962 Astronaut John Glenn is the first American to orbit the earth when he goes around the earth three times and returns successfully.
*The Wal-Mart discount store in opened by Sam Walton in Arkansas.
*In May In August, 250,000 freedom marchers descend on Washington, DC, and hear Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.(Video)
*In 1963 he U.S. and the Soviet Union set up a hotline between the White House and the Kremlin to avoid communication problems that were evident in the Cuban missile crisis.
*The Beatles release their first album, “Please Please Me”.
*Russian Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.
*July 2, 1964 The U.S. Civil Rights Act is passed, ending legal discrimination in public places, promising equal voting rights and creating the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
*1964 The Beatles make their U.S. television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The next morning practically every newspaper wrote that the Beatles were nothing more than a “fad,” and “could not carry a tune across the Atlantic.” They couldn’t have more wrong.
*1965 President Lyndon Johnson announces his Great Society agenda, creating Medicare and expanding his “war on poverty.” Also, the U.S. Congress passes the Voting Rights Act, attacking voting restrictions aimed at African Americans. But, Johnson refuses to raise taxes to pay for both the social programs and the Vietnam War.
*The U.S. Supreme Court, citing the Constitutional right to privacy, strikes down a Connecticut law that prohibits married couples from using birth control pills.
*January 16, 1967 In the first Super Bowl , Green Bay Packers beats the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 35-10.
*1967 Dr. Christiaan Barnard performs the first human heart transplant operation in Cape Town, South Africa. He is assisted by Hamilton Naki, a self-taught black African surgeon who later receives an honorary degree in medicine.
*In Woodstock, NY, around 500,000 rock-and-roll fans attend three days of music, “peace and love.”
*July 16, 1969 Neil Armstrong walks on the moon during Apollo11’s mission. More than 100 million people watch on television around the world as U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong steps onto the surface.
Let’s take a look at the final decade I am going to touch on, the 70’s.
The process of allowing South Vietnam to defend itself without US intervention proved to be a mistake, the 120,000 North Vietnamese soldiers stormed into South Vietnam, surprising the 6000 US troops still in the country.
*In October North Vietnam offered a compromise if Communist troops were allowed to stay in South Vietnam, it wouldn’t expel the South Vietnam government and try to reach a new agreement with them. The US agreed, and declared that peace “was at hand.” Once Nixon was re-elected, Kissinger reversed himself on the issue of troops remaining and bombing of Hanoi resumed. Kissinger Video
*Israeli athletes taken hostage/killed at Olympics
The PLO group Black September in revenge for the 1970 defeat of Palestinian guerrillas, broke into the Olympic Village and killed two coaches and took nine hostages. It later ended in the death of the hostages and the commandos as they tried to leave the country.
* Watergate Burglary
The act that felled the President two years later, was committed in June of 1972 by five men, among them ex-FBI man G. Gordon Liddy and ex-CIA man E. Howard Hunt.
*August 8, 1974 President Richard Nixon resigns.
Once the articles of impeachment had been drawn up, Nixon was required to release more tapes, which clearly tied him to the Watergate coverup.
President Gerald Ford later Pardons Nixon.
*1975- Lebanon civil war begins
Sparked by Christians killing a busload of Palestinians and other Muslims, the country was quickly thrown into a war between the privileged Christians and the poor Muslims.
*1975- Saigon falls to communism
America suspended its aid two years after removing it’s military forces. In April, US official ordered the remaining 1000 US citizens to evacuate to the embassy in Saigon. This lead to the now famous image of citizens climbing the ladder to helicopters to be airlifted out of the city.
*1978- Jonestown massacre
The suicide and murder of 900 people who drank cyanide in fruit-flavored drink, the leader shot himself.
*1979- The Shah flees Iran
The Ayatollah Khomeini assumes power February 11, 1979 an introduces Islamic law.
*1979- Iranian students storm the US embassy
They held 52 of the 66 people in the embassy hostage for 444 days, which helped to undermine Jimmy Carters re-election efforts in the 1980.
Then there are the accomplishments, the progress and the highlights of the 70’s….
*In December 1970, the North Tower of the World Trade Center was completed and in July 1971, the South Tower was completed.
*On January 1, 1971 the last cigarette commercial played on TV during the Johnny Carson show. On April 1st , President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act.
*CT or Cat Scans were introduced in the United States during the early 1970’s
*October 1, 1971 Disney World in Orlando, Florida opens!!!
* HBO (Home Box Office) launches!
* Nike running shoes hit the market.
* First successful report of freezing mouse embryos. They actually survived after being frozen!
* Vietnam War Ends
President Nixon takes last troops out of Vietnam.
* 1974- First black model on cover of a major fashion magazine.
Beverly Johnson on Vogue
* Founding Of Microsoft
Microsoft was founded in 1975
* Betamax and VHS VCRs released (yeah for fast forward and rewind!!)
1979- Mother Teresa Wins Nobel Peace Prize
In Stockholm Sweden, Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her saint-like presence in India.
By looking back at the past 4 decades, there were many hard times, many horrible times, things that can never be forgotten or taken back, the pain never erased or hearts never mended. It seemed each decade there was a repeat of wars in different areas that all had to do with a simple disregard of life and respecting others for their differences and their own rights of religion and race for the most part.
Slavery was a big part of U.S. History during those decades we lost great leaders trying to fight for the rights of blacks simply wanting the same rights as whites. Humans are humans regardless of their race. But it took a lot to get to the point to make laws to protect those rights.
It has taken a lot of suffering and pain to get many laws on the books to protect the rights to many things that seem to be taken for granted today or even seem to be getting taken away from many. The right for equalities regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic background. Human rights are being put aside for some to allow rights for others. The word equal is simple in meaning yet large in context.
Equal: having the same privileges, rights, status, and opportunities as others.
It seems too often, time is spent looking past the good in someone to see the fault. If it is a moral issue, that is going to be in another blog. But remember Christ walked on this earth with everyone and as a Christian we are to be a witness for Christ, not a judge. We do not have a pure enough heart, or are we just enough or are we the One to be the judge.
If we don’t want history to repeat itself, then we shouldn’t behave as people have all throughout history. The choices we make today will reflect tomorrow. We are responsible for every choice we make.
We can change the present and we are in control of our choices and how we raise our kids, how we teach them is the right way to react to those around them. We can’t prepare the path for them in life but we can prepare them for the path. Self respect and respect for others, tolerance and understanding. I believe that when people understand that what is going on around the world does affect each of us and what goes on with us does affect the rest of the world, it makes the world not seem like such a big and scary place. Of course, there will always be negative people in the world, those people that are just out to destroy others. They have always been around. We know about them more due to the ease and ability for news to travel faster, the ease for International Travel and the desire by people to spread fear and chaos amongst whoever will listen to them.
The best thing to do to fight against bad in the world though is to increase the unity, confidence, communication, and raise the next generation to carry that on. In today’s world, that is more important than ever with today’s technology.
Be responsible for the information you are taking in and especially passing along. Of course with Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc., we have the choice to sign on or sign off. We have the choice to forward and email or delete. We have the choice to post a certain status update that is going along in Facebook or not. Before you do though, know that if you are saying something is a fact, you have checked the source. Reference it if possible with more than just the fact it has been forwarded to you. A lot of things have been started wrongly by playing along with the elementary game of “telephone” and getting the actual facts wrong. If you see a video clip of something, chances are in today’s world, the full video is out there (especially if it is political).
The Whitehouse/Russia hotline helped ease the idea of misunderstandings just like checking the facts can. Know both sides. Use multiple news sources.
Don’t be the person that says, “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is already made up.”
Here is a quote from Mark Twain that is growing more true each day as the media turns more to digital especially.
“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uniformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” Mark Twain
So true since it takes time to print the paper, everything in today’s world can change….
More later. Feel free to leave your thoughts. I am interested.
“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” Chuck Swindoll
Be a part of bridging the gap on unity and pass this blog along. Follow the blog so you can see future post on this topic and others.