Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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June 13, 2021

Answers are simple, just not easy

In 1970, The Temptations released a record (remember those?) that rose to No. 3 on the charts. The title was Ball of Confusion. The first words went like this . . .
"People moving out
People moving in
Why, because of the color of their skin."
It went on to talk about segregation, humiliation, cities on fire, gun control, politicians asking for more taxes, fear, suicides, tension everywhere . . .
Sound familiar? Hard to believe those lyrics are 46 years old.
And how about 140 years?
Just down the street from the world-wide HQ of our little media empire, Gen. Lew Wallace penned one of the top selling books of all time, Ben-Hur. Near the beginning of the story Gen. Ben has the three wise men sitting around talking before they head off in search of baby Jesus.
"The enemy of man is man, my brother," one said to the other two.
That was around 1880. It makes clear that whether hate is based on race, religion, nationalities or any one of a million stupid reasons, it's been around. Waving a magic wand isn't going to wipe it out anytime soon. Yet it often feels like that's exactly what we're trying to do.
When someone does something wrong - whether it's a cop or a robber - the reaction often outweighs the act. The tragedy of an unarmed human being losing their life is only overshadowed by more human beings losing their lives, by cities on fire, by the truly vicious hatred that ensues . . .
Does this mean the black community - or any other group for that matter - should sit back idly when an injustice occurs? Of course not.
Of. Course. Not.
There is right in this world. There is wrong. Why can't we treat both of them for what they are and celebrate one while punishing the other? Why can't one group recognize injustices being done to another group and help find an answer? Why do we have to be in groups?
If you watch TV, you might have seen something on the 50th anniversary of the TV series Star Trek with William Shatner and Co. I watched a few and was fascinated how series creator Gene Rodenberry sometimes used his weekly plot to address social issues. For example, he had Shatner kiss Nichelle Nichols in one episode? Big deal, it was just a kiss, right? Yup, but it was one of the first times a white man kissed a black woman on TV - a real big deal in 1968.
It seems that Roddenberry had this idea that in the year 2265 us Earthlings would have figured out we're all one group sharing one planet.
Look, there's no doubting that racial inequality has existed in our past and still does so today. Yeah, people can debate statistics and all the other crap different sides claim prove this or that. But c'mon, we know in our hearts that it's true, right?
Of course it is. Go back to the days of Christ, back to when pyramids were built, back to the 1500s when Europeans were conquering and enslaving people and nations, back to colonial times, the Civil War, Hitler and the Jews, our own race riots in the 1960s . . . all the way to last week, or next week, and the latest injustice that occurs . . . it exists.
It exists and arguably might even be growing. Why? Way above my pay grade but I'll suggest that social media doesn't help. I'll suggest that living in a world where everyone deserves a trophy doesn't help. I'll suggest that we stopped believing that only sticks and stones can break our bones. We lost sight of the end of that rhyme, And. Words. Don't. Hurt. Me. I'll suggest that even outside of social media we react much too quickly without taking time to get all the facts. And I'll suggest that we live in a world where too many people take sides, and that the lines drawn between sides are bigger than they have ever been.
So until we all - and I don't mean every single person because there are always going to be a few idiots (and believe me, being an idiot is not color-specific) - decide that it's not OK with us, it will continue.
The key word might be enough. Because when enough of us say enough is enough, we'll begin to make our own little corners of the planet a better place. That, my friends, is when things might start to change.
Like anything, the answer does not lie with government and more laws. The answer begins and ends with us as individuals - not every individual, just enough of us.
It's simple. But it's not easy.

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