Tuesday, July 12, 2016


This week will not be forgotten – certainly not in our lifetime. The horror story of the police being killed in Dallas adds a bloody mark not just on the city or the state of Texas but on the soul of every American. Our great country is dramatically less so because of the murders that happen with such frequency all across our nation. And yet this one cop-killing rampage all by itself shows just how dramatically far we have fallen.

When I was a little boy we were taught that the policeman was our friend – a safe harbor against all that was bad in our world. That feeling has served me well. I passed that philosophy along to my own kids. Then the world turned upside down and that feeling, along with acknowledging the Almighty, allegiance to the Stars and Stripes and respect for just about everyone and everything went out the window. Right up there with the very top sadness is broad brush thinking that all men and women in blue are hell bent on killing young black males. The flip side of the argument is that black youngsters are all paragons of virtue being persecuted by a white society represented by law enforcement.  Have we forgotten that the human race is fraught with imperfection, including both some of those in uniform and those in housing projects?  Still the bad apples in both categories are few in number.

During this terrible week, as in life, there were good days. My wife and I watched the Wimbledon tennis championships, proudly rooting for the Americans.  And that is the real lesson in the midst of all this horrible prejudice, racism and pure hate.  The first step of all is to recognize and herald the fact that we are all Americans - starting with thee and me. Dropping all the labels like Italian/American, African/American, Irish/American. This doesn't mean I have to forgo knocking back a couple pints of Guinness while getting misty-eyed when they sing 'Danny Boy”, nor should you have to give up your own nostalgic background. What it does mean is that our very survival depends on embracing the fact that each of us are first and foremost, now and forever more, Americans.