Leaves All Statues Where They Are

             LEAVE ALL STATUES WHERE THEY ARE

As published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Sept. 19, 2017.

The current fury regarding Confederate statues fails to consider the rationale for having memorials. Statues are memorials not just representations of individuals. They are one kind of memorial. Other forms take the shape of walls, buildings, bridges, public facilities, and even military hardware.

As the name indicates, memorials are memories. They are reminders of history. They are visual representations of past accomplishments and failures. Of times when we, as a national entity, were united and when we experienced division of opinion and commitment.

The World War Two memorial in Washington, D.C. reminds us of why 400,000 citizens lost their lives and multiple numbers more suffered in other ways.  We do not celebrate their deaths but we honor them for benefitting our lives by their sacrifice.  Also in our nations’ capital is another memorial. It is a reminder of the loss of 56,000 young Americans in a war that was controversial and divisive. Americans demonstrated against participation, some leaving the country to avoid being drafted. Years later even the erection of the Vietnam Wall was criticized and opposed. Reading the names on that wall is a more recent painful reminder of the cost of physical combat.

Memorials do not approve or disapprove of past events and the people involved in them. They tell us what has been, hopefully so we will not make the same mistakes but also can be guided by our better decisions. After all, that is a value of preserving history.

Memorials do not tell the whole story of an event or of an individual. They are snapshots not a lifelong motion picture. Events are seldom simple and uncomplicated in how they begin, develop, and conclude. Life is messy. We are complex living growing organisms. We are not easily caricatured stick figures incapable of change.

For example, the day signatories showed up in Philadelphia and signed a Declaration of Independence was preceded by years of pain, suffering, debate, and obstacles. We see the picture of men around a table but we do not see what it took individually for them to be there. Some were there who wanted the document to express freedom of all slaves. Some were there as slave owners. Should we erase from the picture those who were slave owners? Should we erase those who compromised their principles in order to have a document acceptable to all who were to sign?

How perfect a life must an individual live in order to justify having their likeness preserved? Is history best served by having pictures, statues, writings on a wall and other monuments only of people with whom we agree?  In a multicultural society such as ours who should decide what is an acceptable memorial to be publicly honored?

For the betterment of the future let’s leave all statues, and other memorials, where they are. Losing memorials means losing history and what we can learn from it.

Contributing to Tension Situations

         CONTRIBUTING TO TENSION SITUATIONS

Some people seek for and thrive on tension. This is in especially evident today in our political climate. However, it may be true in family life, at work, with neighbors, or in church. Even if most of us seek to avoid conflict we may be drawn into situations because of the actions of others. Recent consideration brought to mind techniques used to create and maintain tension.

Opportunistic people exist. Such people see issues as “causes” for them to defend and opponents as objects to conquer. They use code words to push other people’s hot buttons in order to energize the cause with great emotional fervor. Language may be used to sway opinions, degrade others, gain a foothold or push an agenda. Phrases such as “radical”, “unfeeling”, “our kind”, their kind”, “racist”, “fascist”, “elitist”, and “deplorables” are examples.

Most situations do not have two sides but rather involve a web of feelings, convictions and opinions. Individually most of us cannot be easily labeled because we are not consistent in positions we adopt. Our thinking is not as rational as we like to think.  It is colored (or discolored) by our feelings, past experiences, influence of other people and personal convenience. Thinking is time consuming and difficult, therefore it is an effort to do it. It is much easier to react out of preconceived convictions and use rationale to defend conclusions.  It is easier to parrot phrases than think through issues.

Rumors abound and thus distort facts, undermine relationships, and create an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. Qualities which make for good character and the betterment of life are often sacrificed to error and distortion without investigation into the context of the subject’s life or ulterior motives of the rumormonger. We need to verify facts and not vilify persons.

Awareness of these factors helps me keep issues in perspective, avoid being manipulated by others, and hopefully, not contribute to increasing tensions in difficult situations.

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Comparing Political Climates

In 1776, a group of leaders, from colonies in the new world to become known as “America”, met to discuss relationships with the mother country England. The leaders were not Americans but Englishmen.

The subject discussed was the drafting of a Declaration of Independence, dissolving the political ties that bound them to Great Britain. To some this was an act of treason. It would mean armed conflict with the most powerful nation of the time. Even within the colonies there was disagreement with the need to take such action.

The initial decision was made: No declaration would be issued unless there was unanimous agreement by all colonies. This one decision should have been enough to doom the effort. How could Massachusetts agree to terms put forth by Georgia. The New York delegation could not agree among themselves.

We know the result. Each representative and colony reconciled their issues for the benefit of the greater good. In signing the Declaration of Independence they pledged their lives and sacred honor.

Eleven years later, in 1787, our independence was won. The signers and other patriots experienced death, loss of financial fortunes, and  separation from loved ones who stayed loyal to Britain.

FAST FORWARD 233 YEARS.

Sept. 17, 2009. A bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives, the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009”. The act was passed Oct. 8, 2009 and sent to the US Senate for approval. The Senate passed the bill, now known as “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on Dec. 24, 2009.  The vote to approve was with 60 votes by Democratic senators and 39 votes to disapprove, all by Republicans.

The House then agreed and on Mar. 21, 2010 by a vote of 219 to 212 approved the bill. The votes against came from 178 Republicans and 34 Democrats.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on Mar. 23, 2010.

SEVEN YEARS LATER.

May 4, 2017. As a response to the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” the US House of Representatives approved the “American Health Care Act” by a vote of 217 to 213.  20 Republicans voted against the bill. No Democrats voted in favor.

On July 17, 2017, the renamed “Better Care Reconciliation Act” was pulled from consideration by the US Senate. The bill could not have been passed. All Democrats and 4 Republicans were expected to vote against it.

CONSIDER THIS!!!

The healthcare debate is not alone in demonstrating the inability of our elected officials to work together on important issues. Nor is it new, although it seems to be more difficult today than in the past.

Is it fair to compare representatives today to their colonial counterparts?   Even if we do not expect decisions to be made only when there is 100% concurrence, is it too much to expect that votes will be more than along party lines?

To what extent are representatives required to follow the wishes of their party leadership? Is there fear of reprisal such as loss of committee positions or being denied campaign funds in future elections?  How is it that not one Republican and not one Democrat senator voted in favor of the other party’s health care plan? To whom are representatives beholden, the country, their constituents or party leaders?

Our founding representatives gave their lives, property, honor and future to realize freedom and a representative form of government. Are we electing people today who are as committed to maintaining freedoms as defined in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the US Constitution?  How recently have you read each document?

      MORRIS.

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Who Is This Morris Vickers?

          Greetings.

I believe in reading varied subject matter, doing independent thinking, and sharing ideas with others.  Now you know why I created this blog.

I am a retired minister with more than 40 years experience. I also own a registered investment management company incorporated more than 30 years ago.  My life challenges and experiences are wide ranging.

I help people in the here and now and in preparation for the here-after.

My formal educational diplomas, certifications and degrees are in Biblical theology and practical church leadership; investment management, research, strategies, and services; psychology, sociology, and counseling.

Friends have said I think rationally, sequentially and in detail.  I also have a well developed sense of humor.  My wife, Twyla, will tell you I sometimes drive her nuts with my clownish foolishness.

So, what you read is who I am.  You have been warned.  Proceed at your own risk of (hopefully) at times being stimulated, informed, and amused.

Morris

One other thing:   Nothing in this blog is intended as investment advice.  Do not make financial and/or investment decisions based on what you read.  The content on this web sight is for educational and entertainment purposes, not individual or group investment recommendations.