On the SMART Pacific Coast Caravan, we spent the 4th in North Bend, OR. The traditional fireworks display was wonderful, and we had a great viewpoint from the edge of the campground. The temperatures were in the mid 60’s and light winds blew the firework smoke away from us.
As I concentrated on taking pictures of the display, I was also thinking about my task of writing a short paragraph for the caravan ‘memory book’.
I have been watching the news of so many hateful things, like the rest of the nation, and reached back in my memory from my history classes many decades ago. I started to realize that the tensions in our country before, during and after the Revolutionary War probably aren’t that different from today’s tensions. I know that the specific reasons for the tensions aren’t the same but the result is – with much of the country divided.
According to Thomas P. Slaughter, the Arthur R. Miller Professor of History at University of Rochester, the highest percent of colonists that supported the Revolutionary War was never higher than about 45%. It seems that there is a poll out there that will support the idea that less than 50% of Americans support some specific idea/point. There is no shortage of people willing to stand up and challenge someone else’s beliefs, even to the point of taking physical actions. My perception is that today, as a population, we are not that different from the 1780’s.
This war also had the highest percentage of population killed, meaning that there was a high chance that each person knew someone that was killed or someone else that experienced that loss. It seems that the natural reactions to this are to unite for strength and to speak out in anger and want justice. As I think of the report of shootings, attacks against others based on their appearance, beliefs or just being in the wrong place, I see what are the same reactions which were probably present some 240 years ago. Wonder if we are better, worse, or just the same after 240 years?
For our part, Sherry and I want to live the rest of our lives in peace, coexisting with the rest of the population. This doesn’t mean to roll over and accept anything that comes down the road, just live by the ‘Golden Rule’ – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” The last part of that saying is the catch – if you want to judge others based on their choices, then you need to be willing to accept being judged by others – not just those with whom you share a common belief.