Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

We Must Be Equal in the Eyes of Each Other

Helen Thomas - Former White House Press Corps Member

Last month, Helen Thomas, the legendary White Correspondent retired. The longtime White House journalist has covered every president since Dwight Eisenhower and broke several barriers for female journalists. She resigned her position as a columnist with the Hearst Newspapers in the wake of controversial remarks made in late May about the need for Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Poland and Germany.  There was some discussion among talk show hosts that perhaps this prejudicial gaffe by an 89-year old legend should be overlooked. However, according to many who know her, this latest comment was not her first Anti-Semitic comment. It was perhaps the first caught on video and replayed for the world to witness.

The words we use not only say a great deal about how we feel on issues but reveal our very character. I remember long ago reading the quote, “True character is revealed at what you do when you think no one is looking.” The same can be said about what we say when we think no one may repeat it. As much as I have loved and admired my grandparents, all of whom are deceased now except my Grandmother Feemster, I still recall a Saturday afternoon hearing my grandfather use a racial slur that sent chills down my spine. Perhaps such language may have been in the main stream and considered acceptable by some fifty years ago, but it was certainly not acceptable just a decade ago when I heard it.

Even more recently, in a private conversation with several business leaders, I heard the CEO of a very prominent organization use a similar expression. This individual, still in a significant leadership position today, has perhaps the brightest intellect, business acumen, communication skills, and education of anyone I know. Yet, my perception of this individual as a community and business leader will perhaps never be the same. This one instance altered forever my view of this person. It doesn’t mean that they are not a good person or that they cannot change. We all make mistakes and I have made many myself. However, it is absolutely mandatory that as community and business leaders we learn from our mistakes, so that we do not dare repeat them.

Our Chamber of Commerce has created a diversity program whose mission it is to support the diverse minority business community in the Greater Lake Norman region and create access through education, networking, and advancement opportunities. In short, we realize that we are stronger as a region because of the diverse population that calls Lake Norman home. We are not born bigots with natural discriminatory views. We learn them – we also teach them.

Meeting President Reagan in 1992

One of the highlights of my life was meeting and having lunch with President Ronald Reagan.  Regardless of your political views, most concede Reagan brought about a renewed patriotism and a sense of optimism to our country. Reagan once said, “It is not enough to be equal in the eyes of God. We must be equal in the eyes of each other.” Let us all pray that we begin to live out that principle. Much sooner than later.


July 11, 2010 - Posted by | Social Causes | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Bill, Your comments are very well taken. As a Spanish teacher and one who deals with Latino students on a daily basis, I see the discriminatory attitudes all the time.
    Much of the information and statements concerning these poeple is false and bigoted. No one is saying here that anyone should be here illegally( and many of them are not), but we need a serious dose of tolerance in this country.
    That starts with parents teaching children to be tolerant of others. When we have the attitude, “Don’t talk to strangers, Don’t trust someone because of this reason or that.” That is where bigotry is fomented.
    Brown v the Board of Education was habded down in 1954, yet we still have not learned to appreciate the opportunities that it should present to us to learn tolerance and acceptance of other people.
    There is an old saying, “if you want the hand of friendship extended, extend yours first.” Yet, we seem to be afraid to extend the hand of friendship. If we do extend it, we tend to do it with certain conditions. I will only extend it if this person meets certain criteria. This is the wrong attitude. We must learn to accept others for who they are and want to be, not for who we expect them to be.
    Perhaps we should change the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” to “Do unto others as you believe they would like to have done unto them.”
    In other words, we should get over our fear of losing control and let go of old prejudices and see what is really in front of us. When we do that we see that the world is a very different place.
    The poetess Edna St Vincent Millay once wrote:
    “The world stands out on either side
    No wider than the heart is wide…
    The soul can split the sky in two
    And let the face of God shine through.”
    Perhaps we should heed her words and let our heart show us what is really in our world. Mike

    Comment by michael Lynch | July 11, 2010 | Reply

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