Call me kooky, but I think we Americans are all narcissists. And, we’re spoiled, ta-boot. We think our opinions — right now — are the most valid; today’s problems are the most urgent; and, if we do not act now (because we are SO smart) the world will end in (fill in your doomsday countdown ticker).
If I were a reasonable man, I might reckon every previous generation thought the same way. Well, come on — folks back then only had to deal with world wars, mass starvation, polio, the plague, slavery, serfdom, fleas, lice and no fresh water. Recently, I was looking back 100 years to the front pages of The Oxford Leader. One of the lead stories was headlined, Tax The Cats. Save The Birds. Speaking of alarmist, here’s the open paragraph of that story:
“There are apparently few who grasp the awful statement or ornithologists that, if all birds should become extinct, in seven years earth would be uninhabitable for man, in fact for all animals, for only the fishes of the sea could exist for any considerable time. If there were no birds, they say, where there are now thousands of worms and other pests there would soon be millions and billions of them. Not only would all grains and vegetables used as the food of man be annihilated but all trees and shrubs would be denuded of their leaves and tender shoots, and die. Of course the world would then be as impossible of life as the desert of Sahara.”
I say all that just to simply say, “People. Take a deep breath, life ain’t all that bad. The sky is not falling and stop looking for only ugly around you. If that’s all you’re looking for, that’s all you will find.”
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The other week I wrote a heck-of-a Don’t Rush Me column, if I do say so, myself. It was headlined, “The white-washing of history ain’t my cup o’ tea.” As always, I like to share reader thoughts. Unfortunately, I space limitation means I can’t put them all in print, so to get the full feel go to our website — I will share all. So, without further eloquence, let’s get to you guys!
From the Twittersphere:
“Damn good read. Sensible, well thought out reasoning in chaotic times.”
“‘So, you do not have to agree with me — but we can still be friends. We can agree to disagree. We can still be together, trying to do the best for our families, communities and country. We are all Americans.’ TRUTH! Great Column!!”
“Bravo! A brilliant, factual, very well written column, to say the least. Thank you for sharing!”
From ye old e-mail box:
Dear Don, I am in complete agreement with the views you expressed in this week’s editorial. My only complaint is that you covered all of the points I’ve been mulling over for my next letter. Oh well, back to the drawing board . . . Keep up the good work. — Phil F.
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Don, I never write or respond to anything. When I read this I just had to respond and say, “Thank you. I agree with this 100 percent.” There is so much noise going on from all the others that people who feel different are afraid to speak. I think you will get a lot of response from those who are against what you said, so I just wanted you to know there are people out there who feel as you do. My daughter is a high school History teacher. I agree History is important. Let’s not erase it rather have talks about it. Thanks for the column. — Cathy of Goodrich.
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From Tim C. of Oxford: “Thank you Don for an excellent article based on facts and logic. Things that are becoming increasingly rare these days. Let the emotionally hysterical rants begin!”
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You won’t find any statues of Adolf Hitler in Germany, and yet even citizens that were born after the removal of the Berlin Wall still know the history of fascism in their country because it’s instilled in them through their education. To address Andrew Jackson in particular, the man executed a literal genocide against the entire Native American population; simply having been president isn’t enough to ignore that black mark on our history and make him worthy of honoring.
Similarly, figures from the Confederacy betrayed their country to fight for the right to continue enslaving people, and should by no means be celebrated or commemorated. The awful legacy of slavery, racism, and the traitorous Confederacy won’t be forgotten due to a lack of statues; it’ll happen because we failed to provide our children a proper education. A country that prides itself on freedom and equality has no room for monuments to hatred, full stop.
You have a powerful platform writing for this paper, and it’s shameful that you’re wasting it to perpetuate a lame excuse to vilify protesters. Instead of defending these statues honoring traitors and racists, perhaps you should reflect on why their removal offends you so much. Regards, Eric S., Goodrich.
Eric and I actually dialogued back and forth for a few emails. As you will read in a little bit, he wanted the entire conversation made public.
Me: Thanks, for reading and writing, Eric! As you read, I am all about building relationships, discussing stuff and finding commonalities versus emotionally tearing stuff down. Also, in Germany they did leave the death camps open as a reminder, memorial if you will, to teach and to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. The Germans also do not have the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution. And, it is ok we can disagree. We are neighbors with our own thoughts and opinions, and as long as I have the platform I do have, I will fight for the right of individuals to have and express their own thoughts and opinions (even if I happen to disagree). Keep reading, writing and discussing. Keep up the faith!
Eric: Hi Don, I appreciate the feedback, but there is a clear distinction between retaining a historical concentration camp like Auschwitz (which is a clear and visceral reminder of the atrocities committed by the Nazis), and statues of Confederate figures that were erected long after the Civil War in places of honor, not at all coincidentally during Jim Crow. Drawing a false equivalency between these two things is indicative of some innate biases that deserve some real introspection. Why do we need to maintain statues of men who incited, and lost, an insurrection that caused the greatest loss of American life in our history? We have no duty to honor them as traitors, let alone racists.Also, a quick Wikipedia check makes it very clear that Germans have been entitled to the same freedom from censorship that we enjoy, so that argument also fails to hold water. From Article 5 of their constitution, all the way back to 1949:
- Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing, and pictures and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.
- These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honor.
- Art and scholarship, research, and teaching shall be free. The freedom of teaching shall not release any person from allegiance to the constitution.
I really hope this conversation can be published in full, because I think our community would do well to reflect deeply on this issue.
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Sir, I have appreciated your articles, rants and perspectives for the past several years that we have lived in Ortonville. Especially your recent “Whitewashing of History”. As a potential follow up, I would suggest researching the 1619 education curriculum if you haven’t already. I was going to write this letter to the Citizen “from our leaders” column. But after several days of being aggravated due to the most recent semi-local situation, and this evolving into a protracted diatribe, I have chosen to send this to you. Maybe share it with a cop, an elected official, or dismiss and delete it as a delusional rant from a married couple that believes Freedomtoons is a more factual news source than the majority of media outlets. After casually speaking with a local friend, a few people at the liquor store and the Bueche’s grocery store bottle return line, we are not the only locals that feel this way. We are not fearful, but we now realize that if it were to come down to it, we would be on our own without the support of our law enforcement, elected officials or the judicial system.
As residents of Brandon Twp for several years now, we must say THANK YOU to our local officers as we have been very happy with the way that our local Deputies enforce our area. This has been especially true with everything that has occurred in 2020. I have bragged to my non local and out of state friends about how EXCELLENT our officers have conducted themselves by not micromanaging the day to day activities of the village and township residents. Especially compared with how other departments have acted. Up until recently, if an officer was in trouble while dealing with an individual or individuals, I would not hesitate to assist them in ANY way to help them stay safe. Unfortunately, recent incidents nationally and now semi-locally have now changed this.
We have listened to 911 calls where the dispatcher tells the citizen that there is nothing they can do. In one specific incident in Virginia, the mob surrounds the mother and daughter, tries to get in their vehicle, the dispatcher says no help is coming, you can call city hall, but do not run anyone over. We have watched the so-called “peaceful protesters” shoot into vehicles, pull people from their vehicle’s and beat them in the streets. We have seen a woman being beat by a 2×4 in front of her store. We have watched rioters destroy, loot and burn buildings while officers watched from a safe distance. I can understand (but not condone) the attempt at deescalation by attempting to allow the mobs to tire themselves out (which has failed miserably). EXCEPT when an individual’s life is in jeopardy, this is completely UNACCEPTABLE. To those of us that are seeing what is ACTUALLY occurring through video’s and livestreams on social media from individuals on the ground, this is especially alarming as the violence is beyond the”mostly peaceful protesters” that the media refers to them as.
Now, this insanity is occurring close to home. We have watched a man being beat in the middle of the Macy’s store in Flint for what appears to be no apparent reason other than a difference in race or to create a viral video. We have watched residential homes (cannot recall if it was 4 or 5) burn in Kalamazoo during the “mostly peaceful protests”. We have witnessed buildings being smashed and looted in our states capitol while our elected government and police do NOTHING to prevent it. Now we have seen what occurred at the Chipotle on Baldwin Rd. More ridiculousness. A couple attempting to avoid escalation and leave being constantly verbally abused by a couple of people who are not behaving reasonably at all. 2020 muscles? Then everything goes completely wrong. I am not condoning what the couple did by any means but, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine being pregnant (some reports are that they had 2 additional children in their vehicle, but I am not certain of this), with mob mentality outside your vehicle and they now punched your vehicle. Consider all of the unprovoked assaults that we have recently witnessed. She shouldn’t have exited her vehicle, once she did, it’s her husband’s moral duty to defend his wife and family. He didn’t point his gun at anyone but he was prepared to defend his wife and unborn child in case the other people were armed and fired. If you say, but a couple of them were just teenagers, you obviously haven’t spent any time in an urban city, and Pontiac is right there. OK, I understand the necessity to arrest the woman for PR purposes (although during their news conference, Sheriff Bouchard could have stated that the couple may be justified during this social climate to defend themselves but we are still investigating, it may help remove some of these 2020 muscles), but to arrest the husband at all, is absolutely mind-blowing. For him to lose his job for this as well, is beyond reprehensible. I hope that the individual at OU that decided to terminate him never has to defend their spouse or their family. If you say that he was trying to run her over, highly unlikely since you can tell that he was backing up their minivan fairly straight rather than to cut the wheel so he wouldn’t impede the woman’s walkway. If he tried hitting her, it would have been extremely easy and she would likely still be in the hospital with Al Sharpton and Jeffrey Fieger at her side.
With the current racial polarization in the country, I have to wonder if the roles were reversed what would have been the narrative and outcome? White supremacists racially targeting a mother with her children caused immense fear and her to defend herself? If the police arrested her, the mob would likely be outside the Oakland County Police Department demanding charges be dropped as she was defending her family and the arrest proves that the police are systematically racist. Yes, it’s an unfair assumption but would you bet for or against it? If all involved were all the same race, would charges have even been filed?. Or, after the police watched the entire 3+ minute video, would both parties have received a stern warning, citations and possible recommendation for a CPL review/revocation? I don’t know, but I’m pretty certain there would not have been an immediate arrest, immediate charges applied and a news conference. I am also confident that many of the “woke culture” would now consider me a racist for even having the temerity to ponder this question…
This is not a question of picking sides as Sheriff Bouchard stated. This is a question of a reasonable perception of a threat and EVERY individual’s right to defend themselves. Two months ago, I would have seen both the St. Louis homeowners and the Orion Twp incident and I would have a completely different outlook. I would have considered their actions to be motivated by paranoia. Today however, while witnessing the chaos that I mentioned above, I would consider both of these situations a legitimate perception of a potential threat. I also consider their reactions to be a bit over the top, but I certainly understand why they reacted the way that they did. If we have to look at individuals throughout history through a different lens, we also have to realize that society can change extremely fast and understand that the lens of our daily reality also quickly changes. If one of us were put into the situation that these couples became immersed in, should we just beg for forgiveness and lay down and hope we don’t die or do we possess the natural right to defend ourselves? Those that state: You are wrong, we are right and if you do not submit and beg for forgiveness for your and your ancestors transgressions, we will destroy you and your life. I would suggest that they tell their children, loved ones and parents that they do not possess the individual’s intrinsic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and they must submit to the opinions and demands of the loudest voices or they too will suffer the consequences for the sins of wrongthink.
This also results into a question of balanced law enforcement and prosecution. Up until recently, it appears that prosecutors have had a tendency of allowing police officers the benefit of the doubt and not investigating and prosecuting them as vigorously as your regular civilian unless the mob screams at them. There are various examples of this both locally and nationally with both black and white victims of police brutality. Where are the calls for prosecutorial reform? Where are the calls to eliminate prosecutorial implied immunity (most notably Mike Nifong)? How does this question not get brought up? If the parent or the teacher never disciplines their children, it is more likely that they will grow up without a fear of punishment for any unacceptable behavior which will likely result in creating incorrigible individuals. Now prosecutors are turning a blind eye to those that have been arrested during the riots, and are now intensely investigating and prosecuting otherwise law-abiding citizens for simply exercising their natural right to defend themselves and their property. This is being applauded by mayors, city councils and county executives all while they are entitled to their own safety through personal and sometimes taxpayer funded security.
What I am pretty confident of now is that if a group of 100 or more “protesters” arrived into Ortonville and began to riot, regardless of what our local deputies would like to do, we believe that Sheriff Bouchard would likely order them to stand down. If a resident protected his family and property from the mob and hurt one of the protesters, they would likely be doxxed, demonized, persecuted and prosecuted. CNN, MLive and many others would ignore it or would be reporting about the small Michigan town with a white supremacy problem. The same medical experts that stated people were killing grandmas during the lockdown protests, and then praised the George Floyd protests would claim a public health crisis of systematic racism within the township. What if this was me and my family? I personally believe that our local police would want to help us, but their superiors would prevent it. We would be portrayed as the racists (regardless of the “protesters” race) infringing upon their 1st amendment rights to “peacefully” protest.
Through every act of police brutality, I have always believed that at least 95% of all officers are good and fair cops and I still do. As an idiot in my younger years and a lead foot on the road, I have had plenty of interactions with police officers to justify my opinion. Now, if the mob comes for me, my family or my town, I am 95% certain that they will bend their knee to the mob and let them have their way. They would only be following the precedent that has been set by several other cities and states: Ignore the serious crimes of the many while vigorously enforcing the full extent of the law on the few that have not caused any actual physical harm.
Across our country, Police Chiefs, prosecutors and the elected governments are consistently bending the knee to these criminal anarcho-communist mobs (thank God Detroit has Chief Craig), which have motivations far beyond simple racial equality of opportunity. Why should anyone even consider putting their life, family, home and livelihood at risk to help an officer in a bad situation? We still 100% support the local police officers and 100% appreciate what they do (I definitely couldn’t do their job and maintain sanity), but we truly believe that if their leadership and our elected officials had to choose between safety and justice for us common folk or bad PR for them, we would be thrown to the wolves without hesitation.
Thank you for reading this rant. We hope you and yours stay safe and were able to enjoy a happy 4th of July. — A middle aged disillusioned couple
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Thanks for reading and writing folks, I’m kind of a fan of civil discourse. And, as I stated the the aforementioned column, “ . . . you do not have to agree with me — but we can still be friends. We can agree to disagree.”
If you missed that column you can go online to read it.
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I have some questions for you all — it’s a short test, well, a quiz if you want, that will not effect (or is it ‘affect?’ I can never get those two straight.) your grade.
1. What do you have in common with those on the “other” side of the political spectrum?
2. What do you like about the United States of America?
3. What has America done right?
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Okay, folks. Peace out. Stay cool and send in your answers to DontRushDon@gmail.com