(Written before the George Floyd death)
In the late evening, I often sit in my easy chair and watch Americans protesting one thing or another on television. My ritual goes back many years. I’ve noticed that this generation of young people seem to detest more things than any other in history. Perhaps it’s not right for me to confess, but I make visual observations on the type of clothing protesters wear. I also look at body proportion to see if the demonstrators have been malnourished. Shame on me!
I’ve never witnessed a protester in this country wearing rags, or with ribs protruding through skin due to starvation. I have seen thousands of designer-brand-shirts and overweight people marching down the streets stuffed inside of them.
There’s nothing wrong with protesting. It’s allowed in our United States Constitution. I do have serious problem with protesters turning to violence as a means to garner attention. Most law abiding protesters are on my side in this arena.
When I was a kid, my brother remembers me being at the dinner table complaining because I’d been shorted. Jim said it had to do with dessert. I’m sure my griping was in jest, yet one time he claims we got into a heated argument over slices of cake. I supposedly accused Jim of taking the largest piece. That’s hard not to believe. Mom evidently stepped in before things escalated. She was good at cooling our jets. Logic dictates I would’ve belly-ached to her,
“It’s not fair!”
Children back then used that statement as they often do now. My grandchildren do for sure and I still love them. Adults are notorious for vocalizing the same mournful cry. My dad often told me that life isn’t fair, and that it never will be. His ending statement was,
“Get use to it!”
During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, protesters marched throughout America demanding that President Johnson and President Nixon pull our troops from Vietnam. Some young men torched their draft cards as a way to get attention when cameras were rolling. Others burned a cardboard likeness of either president in effigy. On one occasion things didn’t work out so well because of rain. They tore up Nixon’s photo instead.
In 1969, a group of women’s lib demonstrators set their bras on fire as a protest against feminist exploitation. This was purposely done in front of the Miss America Pageant headquarters. As a teenager, I recall bra burning more than government-issued draft cards going up in flame. A friend of mine went so far as to proclaim,
“I wish all girls would burn their bras!”
Little did women’s libbers realize, that their their protests actually kindled unbridled sexual thoughts in a certain adolescent boy’s head. That was part of the reason these gals were protesting; females being viewed as sex objects by males.
The same thirteen-year-old friend actually developed a crush on women’s rights activist, Gloria Steinem. The to remain anonymous fellow had a thing about girls wearing glasses. He claimed they were smarter. He still does.
I never took time to protest anything in my life. In hindsight, I didn’t have time for such activity. Not everything in my 66-years has been fair, yet thankfully my parents, teachers, pastors, and friends taught we to drive around any unfairness coming my direction. I did so partly by working for stuff rather than expecting it to be handed to me. Most, if not all of my friends walked the same gauntlet. Those pensive thoughts bring forth this unanswered question,
“With so many people protesting, does anyone work anymore?”
I know I’m not the only person wondering such!
Mom said that it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round. She never fully explained her thoughts yet I pretty much grasped the idea.
A few months back, when I watched an American protester sporting a Hugo Boss sweatshirt and carrying an Apple iPod in one hand, with a professionally made sign in the other, they failed to get any sympathy or empathy from me. I totally forget what their cause was at this point.
Pastor Chad Garrison at Calvary Baptist Church told our congregation several times,
“The poorest of poor in the United States has it better off than 90% of all people in third-world-countries where food, clean water, clothing, shelter, and medical care are concerned.”
Pastor Garrison would know as he’s been to many of these poverty stricken areas.
Not once during my television watching hours, have I witnessed a group of starving Ethiopian youngsters marching down a dusty road in protest of anything. If anyone should have a right to protest for inequality or unfairness, it would be these unfortunate Africans, plus other third-world-country residents.
I’d love to ask young folks protesting in this country one question,
“Are things really that bad or is it you just don’t think life’s fair?”
I believe a good many couldn’t reasonably answer that question without going into a tyrant. Going back to what my father told me over 50-years ago regarding fairness,
“Life isn’t fair, never will be, so get use to it!”
There’ll be some people totally disagreeing with my thoughts. Our U.S. Constitution allows freedom of speech so I’m in safe haven. For those wanting to push a red button looking for a verbal fight, like my late mother, I have a favorite saying of my own,
“Whatever turns your crank!”
Hopefully those in disagreement won’t expect me to hang around and debate my opinion. I didn’t take time years ago to protest, and these days I have more important things to do than argue.