need a solution
to a problem, first admit
there is a problem
The United States of America is a big country.
For every 1000 residents, you will have 1000 opinions and points of view that have a right to be heard.
It is difficult to achieve a consensus let alone unanimity on any topic.
It takes a lot to change peoples minds.
Back in May of 1941, a nationwide poll showed that 80% of Americans were against getting involved in World War 2.
On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR’s request for a declaration of war against JAPAN passed with one NO vote.
Note this was a war against the Empire of Japan.
The United States did NOT declare war on Germany.
Germany, so far, had not done anything to the United States.
The US got into the European war at that time only because Hitler declared war on the United States on December 8th.
I would have put this current emergency up there.
While I would not expect that everyone could agree on how to handle Covid, I would have thought there was agreement that we need to do something.
But then I would have bet my last dollar that it was against the law to carry an M16 into the State Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan.
In my nuttiest, most US Constitution embracing moment, I never would have thought that the 1st Amendment right to assembly would have given me the right to stand face to face with the Michigan State Police while carrying a loaded assault rifle in the rotunda of the State Capitol.
I just can’t imagine it.
I want to stay away from that argument and focus on the mindset.
As Atticus Finch famously says in “To Kill a Mockingbird“, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”
Let me try to get into the shoes of those protestors in Lansing.
I am thinking of one feller who was captured on the network news, standing face to face with a Michigan State Police Trooper, and screaming something.
There was no audio so I don’t know what he was screaming.
But this feller woke up that morning.
Got dressed in his camouflage so he wouldn’t stand out, I guess.
Got his coffee and his rifle and drove to Lansing to defend his rights.
Not exactly the Lexington Minute Men gathering on the village green to confront the redcoats but close enough in his mind.
Our feller parks his car and gets out and assembles with his fellow countrymen outside the Capitol Building.
At some command or order or maybe just a mass rush, the assembly moves into the building and our feller finds himself in the front row.
The next thing he knows, he is in the Rotunda of the Capitol, surrounded both by his buddies but also by glassed cabinets of flags that circle the Rotunda.
Flags of the volunteer regiments of the State of Michigan that decided Black Lives Matter and that the Union was worth preserving and marched off to the Civil War.
One of those flags is the flag of the 16th Michigan Volunteer Infantry.
A member of Company C of that Regiment was 18 year old, Edwin Barlow.
Private Barlow was my Great-Great Grand Father.
Back to our feller, who is now explaining to the State Trooper why he and his friends are there and what they want.
Feller seems to be quite agitated and explaining himself very loudly.
The Troopers don’t move or react.
The Troopers don’t arrest anyone.
Though, like I said, I would have bet my last dollar it was a crime to bring a loaded AK-47 into the State Capitol or engage a State Trooper while carrying a loaded AK-47 but that is beside the point.
After a bit our feller leaves with his buddies.
After exchanging farewells with the assembly our feller goes back to his car and drives home.
He gets home and hangs his rifle over the fireplace.
He goes to the fridge and gets a beer.
Does his wife greet him with a hug and a ‘Good Job Honey’ hug?
Does he sit in his rocker or his lazy-boy and review the day?
Does he feel satisfaction in delivering his message to the man.
Does he feel like he delivered his message that we are fed up and can’t take it anymore?
I am trying to follow Mr. Finch and understand a person by considering things from his point of view,
I am trying to climb into his skin and walk around in it.
I am trying to understand why I don’t want to wear a mask.
I am trying to understand why I don’t want to stay home.
I am trying to understand why I don’t want to protect myself, my family and other people by not risking the spread if this illness.
Or am I missing it?
Am I the problem here that I don’t feel threatened by my Government as they bass ackwards try to figure all this out.
Am I deluded by the bread and circuses.
But I just can’t get comfortable in that feller’s shoes up in Lansing.
I often refer to problems as Charlie Sheen problems.
The 1st problem Charlie Sheen needs to deal with is that Charlie has to admit he has a problem.
If he doesn’t see a life focused on drugs and alcohol as a problem, then there is nothing to be fixed.
What is the problem right now?
What is the biggest problem?
That’s my problem.