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Friday, July 8, 2016

Look Where We've Come

Fifty years ago, the USA was hit with a series of major race riots.  Newark, NJ was all but ruined by the violence.  There were riots in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and many other large cities.  There were gunmen who took to the rooftops and shot at police and firefighters.  There was looting.  The strangest thing about these riots, however, is that they came after the Voting Rights Act was passed.  They came after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed.  They came after schools around the nation were desegregated.  They were best described as "after the fact" riots. 

In the decades after those riots, race relations in America improved greatly.  It's not that all racism and bigotry is gone, but it's mostly gone.  All sorts of moves towards racial equality have happened.  We even have an African American president.

Despite all this, we are now back again with race riots.  We had Ferguson.  We had Baltimore.  We now have had a murderous rampage in Dallas.  And the question to ask has to be "Why has this happened?"

Without a doubt, there are those with a strong political point of view who will blame "the other side".  So far, there has been an avalanche of this nonsense spewing out into social media and even onto the mainstream media.  But let's be honest.  The fault here does not lie with society or one segment of society.  These were not Democrat riots.  They certainly were not Republican riots.  They happened on Obama's watch, but he did not incite them.  We can differ about Obama's response to the riots, but no sane person would blame him for starting the riots.  The truth is that the riots are the fault of the rioters.  It's sad that blaming the participants in the riots for the rioting is somehow no longer done in modern America.  Too many people are looking for deeper meaning and hidden causes.  The truth, however, is that no one at the riots was forced to participate.

Many years ago, I asked a woman I knew about the riots in Philadelphia.  They took place in her neighborhood and she had lived through them.  She told me that she had closed her shades and hidden inside her apartment.  She wanted no part of the violence that was going on.  She did not even want to see it. 

As a nation, we need to condemn the violence.  We need to get the race hucksters and the rabble rousers and the rest of the fools who want to profit from all this death and violence the just shut up.  Nothing else will work.

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