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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



The world has gone a little crazy lately. We have two interesting and slightly unstable world figures who are playing a game of swordsmanship with what may or may not be one backwards nation’s ability to send a weapon past its borders. I don’t know that any of it really bothers me all that much, but I do feel that as the worlds’ top dog we (the U.S.) should be the first to stand up and tell our friends in the Pacific that we will not tolerate the little kid down the block attempting to be the town bully.

In the south a group of our own knuckleheads decided to gather together and march around spouting hate at other people. There are a few things that disturb me about this entire incident which shouldn’t be all that surprising to anyone. While none of us would agree that hate speech is alright in any form, isn’t the right to voice ones opinion one of the strongest foundations of our country? Regardless of how you feel about what they believe or spout off about, they have the same right as those who would speak on the other side do. The far edges of society, be it David Duke or Louis Farah Kahn, speak hate on both sides and although we disagree with what they say, they still have the right to say so as guaranteed by our constitution.

What spurred this on, was the renaming of a park in Virginia from Lee Park to Emancipation Park which seems to me an attempt not only to placate a single group, but more importantly it is making a complete rewrite of history while ignoring facts. In the same way that certain groups use passages of the Bible spun to support their views, the removal of Robert E. Lee’s name and statue from this park is being made about slavery and oppression in the south, rather than an issue with Lee himself. What is most forgotten is that Lee, who was at the time the most brilliant military mind coming out of West Point, chose to lead the confederate army because he was a Virginian first. That may be a little bit hard for you and I to understand, although the love the natives have for Virginia is not that far off from what we call Iowa stubbornness. If we continue to remove all traces of that period in our history due to slavery, then we must also remove Washington, Jefferson and others who were involved in that period.

In spite of all the things in the news that isn’t as interesting as the upcoming eclipse, there are bright spots to be found. For me that bright spot came Sunday night at the Iowa State Fair. As I pulled the fairground tram into the pick-up point near the 4-H building a mom waved me down, asking if her wheel chair bound daughter could ride. I climbed down and walked back to the end of the cars and spent a little time visiting with the cute little blonde girl who seemed to be a little tired and just a little ignored by everyone going about their business. I took a few minutes talking to her and teasing her a little about making sure she wasn’t smuggling any corn dogs in her wheel chair which brought a smile to her face and when I reminded her to keep her arms and legs in the tram and not to scream too loud when we went over the big hills, she grinned from ear to ear telling me that I better keep my ears open so I could hear her.

At the end of the trip up the hill to Pioneer Hall she was waiting for me to come back and help her off the tram and the earlier look of sadness had been replaced with joy and she made sure to tell me that I had done a great job and she was glad I didn’t run anyone over. After a high five and a promise that when she came back to the Fair she would ride my tram we parted ways. Maybe some of the people on the tram were a little antsy because I took extra time with that young lady, but it reminded me that sometimes we just need to slow down and show just a little interest in someone else. We all need to remember that as we go about the next few weeks, it’s a good lesson for each of us. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.