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we have a dream
I live about eighty miles north of Memphis where that redneck idiot shot Dr. Martin Luther King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. I remember it well, even though I was just a dumb teenager taking in all of the social unrest that was the hallmark of the sixties. I couldn't begin to tell you where I was when Elvis died, but I distinctly remember being in the girls' restroom at Alice Thurmond Elementary when I found out that President Kennedy had been shot. And I remember the somber mood of our country in the days that followed both his and brother Bobby's senseless killings.

The centerpiece of Dr. King's ministry was a simple non-violent approach to sweeping social change in a country that was home to millions of people dead set on equality for everyone and the end of a senseless war. Peace and love, ya'll. Live and let live. I might have been one of the youngest flower children around, but the philosophy became the part of my soul that will never leave. Equal rights and equal pay, despite race and gender. Protection of yourself and your family is cool...invading other countries is definitely not. Why go and piss another country off even more than they were to begin with in the name of national security. Sure, there are people being mistreated, kids and oldsters alike. But you know what? That is happening in our country at this very moment, and I don't see our government spending near as much to cure that ill as they do chasing faceless demons on the other side of the world seven years after the fact. Something's gotta give.

I don't know what the answers are, and I don't think anybody does really. All we know is that we believe in justice and the ideal of an efficiently run government. The money is there, it's just not being handled with care by the powers that be who clench the strings to that big fat purse. It's all on credit you know. The American dream of working hard and retiring early. Most of us will slave away until we drop dead in the hallway and they step over us on the way to the corporate coffee pot.

Years ago, my youngest brother grabbed a hold of this sort of "hunker down for the worst" mentality and we talked a lot about it. As a former law enforcement/EMT/TV reporter he was beginning to see that people are just gonna get mad and do stupid shit all because of their hatred about something done wrong to them. The trick to keeping sane in that kind of deal is to focus on what is good and right and true. Like family. And other people's quirks and eccentricities..what makes them unique as one of Big Ernie's kids. Paying it foward. Bartering for what you need and sharing what you have. Gettin' riled up enough to stand up and link hands when we believe in something. Simple concepts with a wealth of ancient wisdom to back them up. Dayum, I miss our talks.

Me...I'm just a Pollyanna sort of Poopie. I believe that if enough of us follow our convictions and do what's right, eventually harmony will shine through. I've been in enough crap to know that those times will be few and far between with deep vallies scattered judiciously along the path. Perhaps even IEDs and car bombs.

But we?

Will overcome.

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