Friday, May 27, 2016

Letter: Make America great ... again? (SAR)

Letter: Make America great ... again?
Posted: May 27, 2016 - 11:48pm | Updated: May 28, 2016 - 12:01am
St. Augustine

Editor: I picked up my April 2016 Smithsonian Magazine and read an article about the history of Zoot Suits: “It was June 1943 when the riots broke out. For over a week, white U.S. soldiers and sailors traversed Los Angeles beating up allegedly ‘unpatriotic’ Mexican-American men, identifiable by their conspicuously voluminous attire.” Holy cow, I thought, is that when America was great?

I thought about the history of America, starting with a country that had slavery.

Now that certainly was not when it was great, right? After slavery was abolished, black people in America were often lynched. The Tuskegee Institute has recorded 3,446 blacks being lynched between 1882 and 1968. St. Augustine, itself, arrested MLK in 1964 and arrested black children at the Woolworth lunch counter. That was during my lifetime. Was that when America was great?

As a child I recall my divorced mother being told by the bank she could not obtain a mortgage or a credit card without a man’s signature. I remember my father and his wife being told by neighbors he was not allowed to sell our home to a black family who wanted to buy it. Women in my grandmother’s era were not permitted to go to law school. Were those the decades when America was great (or “greatest”)?

Then today on the front page of The Record is a photo of a groovy-looking teenager holding up his fingers in a peace sign. He is the valedictorian of St. Augustine High School, and the article states he learned to rap on the school bus and he raps part of his graduation speech. Wish that had happened at my graduation in 1980. What a cool guy!

This is today. This is who we are today in America — multi-cultural, accepting, compassionate, technologically advanced, courageous, non-discriminatory — and we have the smartest, best student in the high school holding up a peace sign with his fingers. We have indeed arrived at the best time in America. This is it, today, now. It’s getting better every day.

Congratulations America, you have grown into something admirable (and “great”). There is no going back to any former time ... I hope.


Comments (9) Add comment
patkonover 05/28/16 - 07:30 am 67Excellent letter! Ms.Wall,
Excellent letter! Ms.Wall, you have expressed what many of us in our 60s feel. Not all seniors are nostalgic for the eras when we were young! I applaud social changes that have made us a better country.

johnfbrinson 05/28/16 - 07:52 am 98The best of times?
When the US Constitution was written, there were no free people on earth. Today, most people worldwide have rights that were not possible anywhere in 1787. The United States showed the way to freedom. Our country led the way. Still, Americans are humans, and humans have flaws. But in spite of it, we have progressed farther than the rest of the world.
But, we have to continue to improve and defend what we have. Some liberals want to deny the basic human rights embodied in our Constitution, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right of self-defense. Our own government has grown out of control. Congress as an institution is incapable of stopping an anti-American President who doesn't respect our Constitution.
95 million Americans who could be working are not. They are supported by a shrinking workforce. We have borrowed almost $20 trillion, due to welfare programs that have created a culture of dependence. Many Americans just want free stuff. Yes, we are still a great nation, but not as great as we were. [Ed's note: Fascinating that right-winger labor-baiter JOHN F BRINSON libels the President and supports the wars that caused the debt).
How do we turn this ship around and return to world leadership? First, we need new leadership, not old failed politicians. We'll have a chance, come November.

mach12.1e 05/28/16 - 09:34 am 105All I know.
All I know is that things were better then, than they are now. You didn't need to have both parents working to feed the family, parents did the job of parenting instead of the state, there was no ambiguity over which bathroom to use, we knew our friends (and enemies), half the population wasn't on government assistance, and people didn't get sued because their "feelings were hurt". We have become a nation of politically correct pansies, half of whom will wet themselves if a door slams behind them. Yes, the good old days.

melvinudall 05/28/16 - 01:15 pm 69War debt
Our national debt is the results of false wars, sold to the American people by the lies of George W Bush and Dick Cheney. Our debt is not from welfare programs, another lie of the wingnuts.
The savior of our country is " The Donald"?
Lord help us all.

emmylight 05/28/16 - 01:49 pm 52America is great and getting better
The valedictorian discussed in the article is my son Michael. He is an outstanding, compassionate person who exemplifies goodness and work ethic.

St. Augustine High is a remarkably accepting school that celebrates individual talents.

Thanks for the kind words Ms. Wall.

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