7.7.2020 – indifference in

indifference in
this, our democracy,
is abdication

I was thinking about Harold Ross today.

Mr. Ross was the founder-editor of the New Yorker Magazine.

The magazine gave a home to so many American writers and was the focus of so many American dreams.

Neither here nor there but I remember a conversation with Gerald Elliott, then the retired Editor of the Grand Rapids Press and he told me that he missed the Sunday Magazine, Wonderland.

When I asked why, he replied that it was the one place where local authors had a chance to get published.

I didn’t tell him how many short stories I had submitted to Wonderland but I batted 1,000 on rejections.

Anyway, Mr. Ross started up the New Yorker with the announcement that the magazine would, “Not be edited for the little old lady from Peoria.”

Much much ink has been spilled try to explain just what Mr. Ross meant by that and I will not add to it.

I will mention that one of the funniest comments EVER about the New Yorker was an aside by James Thurber in a vignette about his mother. Mr. Thurber wrote that once his Mother told him that one of her friends in Columbus, OH, “took the New Yorker to help Jamie,” but never read it.

What stuck in my head was the thought, “what are the people in Peoria thinking right now?”

Through the magic of the World Wide Web I was soon reading the Peoria Journal Star.

The headline, “Commentary: Law enforcement: Thoughts of a sanctified believer in America” caught my eye.

I am glad it did.

It is what I would call an OP-ED piece.

It was written for the Peoria Journal Star (fabulous name by the way) by Judge Joe Billy McDade (another fabulous name by the way) a senior U.S. District Judge in the Central District of Illinois for the 4th of July.

Judge Joe Billy McDade at a naturalization ceremony, Nov 15 2019 – JOURNAL STAR

Judge McDade led off with the words, “The promise of America”

And went from there.

The Judge went on, “While the promise of America has flickered and faded in dark times, it has never been extinguished. That promise is the bedrock of American values and it should be the touchstone as we confront the challenges, new and old, that plague us.

He concluded with:

We the People are sovereign;

We the People must safeguard our rights against encroachment.

It is upon all of us to do what we can to make the promise of America a reality. Doing nothing emboldens the wrongdoer, whatever the intent; indifference in a democracy is abdication.

These thoughts are only a starting point — I do not have all the answers.

But in the difficult conversations which are occurring and ought to continue, what I can offer is this: ever in the foreground, always in view, must be the fundamental idea of America, a nation where all and the rights of all are equal under the law.

By chance today I got a point of view from Peoria.

I have been feeling mostly rotten lately about our Country.

Knowing that Judge Joe Billy McDade is out there made me feel better.

One little light.

Maybe there are more.

There must be!

But even if Judge Joe Billy McDade is the ONLY one out there, I will not abdicate from my responsibilities as a citizen of the United States.

I will not walk away.

I will not go quietly into the night.

Indifference be damned.

It’s going to be a pub fight.

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