By Sam Burnham
Last night we saw an upheaval that echoes of the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention which also took place in Chicago. A protest swarmed a Donald Trump campaign rally in the Windy City and fingers immediately began to point in every direction in an attempt to both deflect and assign blame. There were also statements made to try to remain above the fray, to try to stand on the moral high ground or even take on victim status in order to not take on any of the blame for what was going on.
As I followed the developments in Chicago, I couldn't help but think over the course in my life how The South and racial unrest have been synonymous. Then I thought about my day yesterday.
I found myself in various racially diverse settings in three different counties yesterday. That's not unusual for Georgia as it is a diverse state. But if one only had the developments at the Trump rally to go on, one would easily determine that racial unrest is the natural state of things. But in every instance I encountered, no one punched anyone. There were no hateful slurs slung in any direction. People talked about issues, difficult and humorous. People ate meals together, or at least in close company. People walked and enjoyed the sunshine. People shopped for items to buy.
What I wish to convey is that what we saw last night in Chicago is reality. It is a state of affairs in our nation that we must find ways to deal with. But it isn't the only state of affairs and it is not insurmountable.
I am not trying to imply that Georgia has it all solved and doesn't have racial issues because we do. But I also believe that over the last seven decades or so we have learned to get past a lot of it. We've found ways to make our society better. I'm not describing a shining city on a hill, I'm showing a point on a map to that city.
As Fred Rogers used to tell the people in his neighborhood, "when bad things happen, look for the helpers". I think in this case the helpers are the people who engage in everyday life without pushing the world, the nation, or even their community into chaos. I think if we're honest, there are more of us than there are of them.
It's time for the helpers to shape society.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire