By Ron Pestone - PART TWO
I stumbled out of Timmy’s shanty and Timmy and I never spoke about it. A couple of months later the mountain had been flattened and as was the way in those days the operator and I were let go. Anybody who has worked the trades understands that when the job is finished unless the company picks up new work you are going down the road.
That part I understood and never had a problem with it. But the other part, brown eyes instead of blue eyes I never got over. It affected my whole career. I absolutely refused to let any form of prejudice affect my decisions as I was climbing up the ladder. I lived by the numbers not by prejudice. If you had one eye in the middle of your head, a hump on your back and grunted instead of talked I hired you if you were good at what you did and then I promoted you. It’s something I have never deviated from in my life. I found out very young in life all you needed to know about prejudice. It was stupid, hurtful, senseless and most of all self-defeating. In short, why would anybody in their right mind hire only out of a small talent pool when they could hire from the worlds talent.
In the world we live in today partisan politics and special interests are choking the government. Groups of the ins and outs are circling each other looking for the weak link. Circles and Circles of people claiming purity and refusing to let anyone else in that doesn’t look and sound like them in a country made great by immigrants.
We have Republicans and Democrats each swearing the other side is running the country. The left and right trying to pull us to the fringes. Court decisions that are clearly political. The north and south turned against each other. Black, whites, reds and yellows divided into their respective camps distrustful of all except themselves. Fat and skinny people mocking each other. Tall against short, left handed against right handed. The smart disdainful of the stupid while the stupid see the smart as arrogant and wrongheaded. Big government verses little government, state against federal, federal power against state power, even religions claiming to be the only true religion.
With the exception of the American Indians who are the only true natives we all came here as immigrants. Some by first class most by steerage. All faced strong rejection when they landed from the groups that had preceded them. Each group; whether it was the Irish, the Italians, the Polish; was the new group that would ruin the country. Yet we are still proclaiming that each new group of immigrants entering the country will destroy us all. In the end it’s an international case of last man zoning. “I’m in and you ain’t coming in.” So where do we go for guidance.
I’m back to where I started, none of it makes sense. It’s all idiotic. The cancer of prejudice unless stopped will devour everybody. Nobody is immune from it.
So what is the cure? If America is supposed to be the great melting pot why not let it be just that. Why can’t we all be part of the same soup. Think of the energy it would save. The lives it would improve and the profound peace it would give to the world. There is much more that joins us than separates us. We all laugh, cry, pray, think, feel, love and hope for the best for our friends and family. We are all so much the same, every one of us bleeds and has experienced joy and sorrow, it’s something we should never forget and keep close to our hearts.
Most of us cannot do anything on a national level but if each one of us simply said no to prejudice and put it in the insanity bin it belongs in, flowers would grow where now weeds grow.
Don’t forget, WE BUILD AMERICA