I remember neighborhood parties, do you? In my neighborhood as a youth, we knew each other, the kids played and argued together. Parents looked out for all the kids. Hitchhiking was safe.
Halloween was cause for big neighborhood events, as was Independence Day. The Schumacher family would occasionally hold recitals, with family members playing different instruments. Dads would tolerate the kids shoveling snow back onto the road from snowy lawns when the sledding hill was cleared by the plows.
The first crack, the first disturbance in the force, came when we all heard and read about people hiding things like needles and razor blades in the kids’ candy. I was too young to understand the concept of random evil, so I just went along with it as my candy was inspected before I was allowed to chomp down.
Working to put kids at risk of injury as they bite into a free apple or Fifth Avenue candy bar is an act of random evil. There is no purpose, no point other than injuring an unknown child, and being happy about it if you are lucky enough to read about the damage you caused in the paper.
The evil being perpetrated in the world today is not at all random; it is focused and determined, with specific people and groups being targeted and those doing the targeting.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
Before we get into the far greater dangers that permeate today’s world, come back with me to simpler times, some of which are as recent as the early 2000s. I grew up, well started growing up, for almost 16 years in Strafford Village, PA, a town so small that it did not have its own post office. Chris, the white haired taxi driver, worked part time. He drove an all black four door sedan, wore a black uniform complete with a black tie and cap. Also black. He was polite and always on time. The Uber of the day. Dr. Kay, our family primary care physician, lived up a small hill from our house, with an attached complete office. His daughter, Linda, was in my same grade. The podiatrist that I saw one summer had his home office w-a-y across the open field the kids used for baseball–kinda like deep right field.
Independence Day was a major event. Children would enter the kids parade, often wearing homemade costumes, vying for prizes and recognition. Organized, well, semi-organized, games and feasting would follow. The Dads would handle the games, while the Moms dealt with the food. One year, one of the games included having blindfolded Dads line up to walk about 15 yards to reach out and identify their sons. The other boys and I were lined up directly across from the line of Dads, in the same order. My Dad was hesitant in how he walked, and seemed embarrassed at being the last to make the correct ID. My heart was bursting with the desire to tell him that I did not care at all about the results, that I was just wildly proud to be there with him. But I did not find the words. To this day, I wish that I had. Don’t miss those opportunities in your life.
Halloween was also a big deal. Despite the often freezing temperatures at that time of year in Pennsylvania, kids mobbed the streets. It was not at all uncommon for a group of kids to stand outside the home of a reluctant trick or treater to encourage him to come out and join in the fun. Yes, the dentist gave out toothbrushes, but his neighbor made up for it by giving out money.
Fast forward to San Mateo, CA in the early 2000s. The Independence Day parties were fun, but only a few homes participated. For a couple years, the New Year’s Eve parties were epic. We would go from home to home for the various stages of dinner, and if anyone imbibed more than they could handle, they could roll 20 yards downhill and be home. The men wore tuxes, and the ladies cocktail dresses. Save for one guy who dressed up as Saddam Hussein–and was a dead ringer. Saddam’s doppelganger.
Gradually, the neighborhood changed. The parties stopped; people came home and closed the garage door behind them. Not to open until the next day when they left. I am guessing that the potato cannon that my eldest son and his friend made was the last of its kind in that neighborhood. And a prodigious cannon it was, propelling dinner sized spuds across the canyon onto distant decks and yards. A cop was called; he marveled at the power of the cannon, told the lads to be careful, and went on his way.
Today, instead of focusing on what binds us together, e.g., our nation, holidays, our kids and the humanity that we all share, we focus on what divides us. The people and groups that sell and perpetuate that division for personal and political gain are evil. If we fall for what they are selling, we are falling for their evil.
Today’s Key Point: Focusing on what divides us for personal or political gain is evil. Falling for that means that we are following their evil.
CRT is evil. Not a random evil; a focused, determined evil. Critical Race Theory is the spawn of the Marxist thinking that class divides us, with the rich being the oppressors, and the poor being the oppressed. That fell apart when the left discovered the massive wealth held by many liberals and progressives, so they changed the damning metric from class to race, and went back at it without missing a beat in their anger, accusations and protests. Now, whites are the oppressors, and people of color are the oppressed. And the left leaning policies that pretend to advantage people of color are exactly what is holding them down, preventing them from succeeding. It is all carefully thought out. The 1619 Project thinking, holding that the US was, is, and always will be racist, is equally evil.
On the right, selling fundamental distrust of the government along with various conspiracy theories, including how Bill Gates wants to microchip us all via the vaccine, is equally evil. Any policy, argument or position that depends on division as the point of its spear is deeply wrong. And if you look around, that hateful division is exactly what many people, groups and politicians are selling almost everywhere. Division is the point of the spear in almost all cases because there is nothing, no heft, no handle or weight, behind the point. That’s why you hear cries of “racist” or “libtard” prefacing endless empty arguments.
I watched a recent video about areas of the country that were far lower in vaccination rates than average. While emotion and passion were obvious in the vaccine resistors who were being interviewed, I did not hear much in the way of convincing objections. As part of his interview, one man said that whenever he and his friends saw someone in a restaurant wearing a mask, they said “Democrat!” to each other. If they saw an unvaccinated patient in a hospital dying of COVID, would they say, “Republican!” to each other?
We all need to get over ourselves. We are all in this together. As Ben Franklin prophetically observed after signing the rebellious, and to the British government and military, treasonous, Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or we will most assuredly all hang separately.”
Join me. We can do this. We can push forward, focusing on honoring and celebrating the individual and group differences that make us all stronger, more effective and more successful. Together.
We all have the personal responsibility to look for and find common goals, ignoring labels and other excuses to create disunity at all points along the way. Speaking of personal responsibility, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.