Friday, September 15, 2017

Out of the Cave and Swatting at Gnats

Thought for the day:  A hibernating snail is not necessarily dead. [Messaod Mohammed]

[image courtesy of Morguefile]
[YAWN] It's time to drag my weary bones (Snap! Crackle! Pop!) out of the editing cave long enough to write a new post.

Nope, still not done with the editing, but I've already foisted enough reruns on you guys. The truth is, I really am more like that hibernating snail in the thought for the day than a bear... not all that grumpy or dangerous, but I sure am SLOW.

So, what to write about? My blogging brain isn't firing on all cylinders right now, so I'm gonna ease my way back into this. (It's always best not to test the depth of the water with both feet.) Today is September 15... so what happened on this date in history?
[image courtesy of wiki]


As it turns out... LOTS of stuff, but seeing's as how I'm trying to ease back into blogging, I won't natter on about all of them... or even most of some. Just two. (You're welcome.)

First, I'll natter about... gnats. Miserable little creatures, aren't they? Anyone who does outdoor work, especially in sweaty climes, is well aware of those little booger bugs with a propensity for buzzing around heads, flying up noses and into eyes, and getting stuck in perspiration. (Why the heck didn't Noah smoosh them when he had the chance?)

So what is it about gnats and this particular date in history? Well, included in a loooooong list of historic events that occurred on this date throughout the ages, I found a peculiar listing for 1946, in which the Dodgers beat the Cubs 2-0. Yeah, I know... nothing historic THERE, but that game was called after only five innings. Not because of rain... or tornado... or hurricane... or fire... or flood. Because of gnats. Swarms of them. Who'd think a little critter like that could cause such misery and mayhem that the Cubs lost their opportunity to win that game? (Um, not that they WOULD have, mind you, but I'm just saying...) It wasn't the size or annoyance factor of any individual gnat, but the accumulative effect of a mess of them. A whole gang of them crawled out from under their rocks and banded together to create an atmosphere of cursing, swatting, and running. And in essence, the gnats... won the day. And all the good people retreated.

[photograph: Carol Highsmith]
The second event from this date in history, surprisingly enough, wasn't included on the list that cited the gnat tale, which I found astounding, because this second event was something that truly changed the course of history.

In 1963, hate-filled white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and four little girls were killed. Another little girl was blinded for life, and fourteen other church members were seriously injured. It's horrifying that it took something this terrible to awaken America to the deplorable state of race relations in some parts of this country, but that wake-up call also provided impetus for the passage of new civil rights laws.

Now here we are in 2017, and it seems that white supremacists are crawling out from under their rocks not only here in the United States, but in other countries all over the world, and they're banding together to create a renewed atmosphere of cursing, violence, and fear. Like swarms of gnats, they cause misery and mayhem, and the diseases they try to spread are hatred and intolerance.

The one thing we should hate is hatred; the one we should not tolerate is intolerance.

The following photograph was taken in 1992 by small-town newspaper photographer Todd Robertson at a KKK rally in Gainesville, Georgia. (If you'd like to read more about it, check this earlier post )


The child in that picture was only three years old at time. I wonder where he is now... and whether he rose above the hatred he was taught. Is he one of the white supremacists now crawling out from under their slimy rocks? Look at the face of the now-retired trooper Allen Campbell. What sadness he must have felt in his soul to see an innocent child clad in garb of hatred.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. [Martin Luther King, Jr.]

On this September 15 of 2017, I despair that such hatred is still in existence and that the passage of civil rights laws hasn't erased intolerance from the evil hearts of some... gnats. That is what these white supremacists and neo-Nazis are to me... an annoying swarm of creatures that will be smooshed in the end. These gnats will not win, and the fight for decency will not end early. There are far more of us with love in our hearts than there are of them. This time, the good people will not retreat.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. [Martin Luther King, Jr.]



                              Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

63 comments:

  1. That is a truly heartbreaking image. A precious child, innocent, and lacking awareness of the significance of his outfit. I hope that he and his family learned some understanding.
    Some day we will all remember our similarities are more numerous (and much more significant) than our differences. No us and them, but only us.

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    1. I agree. That photo captures such a poignant and unique moment, I think it's worthy of a Pulitzer prize.

      Yes, some day. Only us.

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  2. Susan, I've never told this story before but here goes: In Oklahoma, 1921, my mother, at 6 years old, was coached with her sister (8 years old at the time) to sing a song in front of a KKK meeting. I'm sure they were were charming. It was well-received. 20 years later, after 5 years of teaching high school in Ada, my mother decided to go to Berkeley, California. She met my dad, who was finishing his Master's degree at Stanford. They talked politics. They fell in love. Had my mother not disagreed with the concept of white supremacy and made that journey, I would not exist. That is history as it should be. Personal adjustments and courage can change the world --my mother demonstrated that. For selfish reasons, I think my nonexistence would be a great inconvenience to me.

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    1. Yes, personal adjustments and courage can, indeed, change the world, and your nonexistence would have been a great inconvenience and loss not just to you, but to the world. Your wise words and kind heart have made many ripples in the pond. If you ever doubt it, just consider your children and grandchildren.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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    2. I wondered how your Mum was able to make the change after living all the years with KKK around her.
      You and your family are so lucky. What a strong Mum.
      So happy she didn't move to Berkeley now so much violence on both sides. A friend of mine moved out a few years ago could not stand the all the "words".

      cheers, parsnip

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  3. "white supremacists are crawling out from under their rocks"
    We need bigger, heavier rocks, dropped from a great height, to seal any chance of escaping from under. I do fear that with some of these, umm, 'people', love and tolerance will not be enough.

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  4. Hi Susan - love the header.

    But your post is really unnerving as it's so so true - just desperate that humanity can't see the good in people and that it's time for peace between neighbours, in the community, across each country and amongst all of us - so well written - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. Thanks. I took that picture at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

      Yes, it's definitely time for peace. Past time.

      Cheers back atcha.

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  5. A well written piece. The picture of the child dressed up is heart-breaking. Such innocence in such a disturbance of negative behaviour with values and a morality of insanity. Blessings to you. Enjoy your weekend.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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    1. I liked the Martin Luther King quotes, he was an intelligent person. Bye.

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    2. Yes, I think that picture is heart-breaking, too. No matter how many times I look at it, it still tugs at my heart.

      MLK was brilliant, and he had an amazing way with words.

      Blessings back atcha. Bye. :)

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  6. What a great post. We went to the MLK National Historic site in Atlanta a couple of days ago. So inspiring.

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    1. That's a great site, isn't it? I'm glad you got to see it while you were in town.

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  7. Great post. The Retired Man and I recently attended a couple of rallies against hate. At one of them a woman, about the same age as me, spoke. She was a Freedom Rider from the 60's, and her message made me and others cry. There is no understanding why people choose to hate except that is what they are taught from childhood.

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    1. I love that you and your hubby attended those rallies. Here in Atlanta, there are still a lot of former Freedom Fighters, and they do know how to tug at the heartstrings. (Assuming one has a heart...)

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  8. Truly shows that parents are to blame as they spread their hatred to the kids. Sad image indeed. Your cave must be comfy if you just popped out now haha

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    1. For an adult to be hate-filled is horrid enough, but the idea of infecting their children with the same beliefs is maddening.

      HA! Yeah, my cave is just dandy. :)

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  9. Like you said you have to hate hatred, I actually wanted to cry when I saw that baby dressed in that kkk clown costume, people do have freedom of speech which is what they justify their actions with but why in Gods name in this day and age are people stupid enough to hate someone because of who they are and where they come from...

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    1. That picture brings tears to my eyes, too, and I honestly don't understand that kind of hatred... or any other kind, for that matter. Life's journey is too short to squander it by hating our fellow travelers.

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  10. That is just about the saddest picture I have ever seen.

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  11. Gnats are the worst! They fly in my ears. That's why I hate going outside.
    It does make you wonder what happened to that kid. Sometimes kids are really smart. They don't see a difference.

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    1. Yep, in my ears, in my nose, and in my mouth. Fun, fun, fun...

      You're right. Kids don't see a difference; they have to be taught that sort of thing.

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  12. I'm not normally a crier, but that picture brought tears to my eyes!!

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  13. The kkk pic of the lil one is really something, friend Sue ... Nontheless, what do U do when U live in a shoe, hmmm? Wishing lil one health and happiness ... Love, cat.

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    1. When U live in a shoe, U try very hard not to get tied up in knots.

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  14. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for visiting. :)

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  15. That photo is so heartbreaking it makes me cry.
    That precious child is just looking at his reflection in the shield like any other child, such sadness.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. That photo has a profound effect on me, too, no matter how many times I look at it.

      Cheers back atcha.

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  16. Yep, in my ears, in my nose, and in my mouth. Fun, fun, fun...


    หนังออนไลน์

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    1. They are the same annoying little critters all over the world...

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  17. I love the connection you drew between the two events. Sadly, it takes more than laws to change the world, it takes deep changes in people's hearts, and that is hard to achieve.

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    1. Thank you.

      Yes, so true. Unfortunately, kindness isn't something that can be mandated. More's the pity.

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  18. Yes, wonderful post. You always say it so well. It really would be interesting to find out what has become of the kid in the photo.

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    1. Thank you, dear lady. :)

      I know. Let's say he's risen above his family's beliefs, okay? (Works for me!)

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  19. Oh dear. Indeed, it's sad that such stuff still exists in 2017. Just wrong. The documentary Four Little Girls is a stunner - everyone should see it. How can we move on...step by step. Swat at the annoying gnats who just don't get it. Someday....someday...

    Big sigh. Glad you are are out blinking in the sunlight. Take a break from editiing. Go see Wind River - good flick. Or hit a museum. Refresh the brain and then get out that red pen again.

    Good luck, my friend.

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    1. I can imagine how stunning that documentary is. I was so horrified when that church was bombed, I don't know if I want to see a recreation of those days, though. Yes... someday.

      I'll be crawling back into the cave tomorrow. It's cooler in there. :)

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  20. My granddaughter is 3. I'm pleased to say she gets along with anybody and everybody.

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    1. I'm pleased to say the same about all of our grandchildren, too. I think the same would be true for all children, left to their own devices. Parents have to teach them to hate. :(

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  21. Oh, gosh, seeing a child dressed up like that makes me so ill. It's beyond heartbreaking how hatred continues to be passed on to future generations like that... :(

    On a lighter note, best of luck with your edits! As someone who tends to be a notoriously slow artist, I can relate to being a hibernating snail, too. LOL.

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    1. Yes, it truly is heartbreaking.

      Thanks. We snails have to stick together. (And stay away from salt...)

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  22. I think 'your' gnats are what we used to call 'no-see-ums.' Despicable ... much like your timely analogy.

    Oh my goodness, THAT image. Heartbreaking.

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    1. Yeah, I think gnats are known in some places as no-see-ums or midges, but whatever ya call 'em, they're annoying as all get-out.

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  23. I liked the Martin Luther King quotes you included here ...
    Left to their own devices children get on with anyone, it is the adults that change this.

    All the best Jan

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    1. MLK left so many amazing quotes behind, it's difficult to pick a favorite.

      Absolutely. Prejudice and intolerance have to be taught.

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  24. I think gnats are a great comparison. As I said on my recent blog post about Nazi-fever, I would be terrified of an actual Nazi soldier in 1940 that's armed to the teeth and wants to kill me, but I'm not scared of some scrawny dork in a polo waving a tiki torch.

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    1. I understand what you're saying about the '40s Nazi soldiers vs. today's neo-dorks carrying torches, but I also think hatred is the fearful weapon they share, and that horrifies me, no matter which of them is wielding it.

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    2. Oh, I get what you're saying, all I'm saying is that most of these kids upholding this ideology don't even know what they're saying. And they're disorganized. They have no real power.

      They're just a bunch of angry, misinformed children trying to spread hate, but it's not working. We're better than that. We're smarter than that. And thank God we don't have to exchange gunfire on a daily basis to reinforce that.

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    3. Well said. Let's hope they continue to be disorganized and powerless.

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  25. Wonderful past. The nasties seem to be crawling out from their hiding places all over the world. We can only hope and pray that love, tolerance and common sense prevail before it's too late. Thanks for your friendly visit on my blog, nice to meet you! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Hi-ya. I honestly believe love, tolerance, and common sense will prevail in the end, but it's a tad disheartening that it hasn't already won the battle.

      Thanks for stopping by, and welcome aboard!

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  26. Great post, thanks for stopping by my place. We call the gnats no seeums down here. Right now it's love bug season and they're driving us crazy. Georgia is such a funny state, full of warm, wonderful, accepting people and yet there's the KKK.

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    1. Thanks. It was my pleasure. Thanks for returning the favor. :)

      HA! "Love bug" is such a sweet name for those darned things, isn't it?

      That's true about Georgia, but I think just about any place has a combination of good and bad.

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  27. Interesting thoughts indeed, in the end love will conquer all. That photo speaks louder than a thousand thunderstorms. No on is born with hatred in their hearts. And shame on those who teach others otherwise. Greetings.

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    1. I believe love will win in the end, too, but it's maddening that hate still has a toehold.

      Greetings back atcha.

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  28. I'm dropping in to say hello to you ! and to thank you for your comments on my blogs. Not everyone follows both, thus the necessity for two. I love what you said about hate: The one thing we should hate is hatred; the one we should not tolerate is intolerance. So true. Life is to short to be anything but kind. I'll be watching now for your posts.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

      Yes, I agree. Life is too short to waste on petty differences. Kindness and a good attitude make all the difference in the world.

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  29. I can totally believe the gnat problem. I live on a hill and looking down onto my neighbor's house, I could see swarms, like black clouds, of gnats in her yard. Such a pest. I hate it when they dive bomb into your eyeball for a drink.

    On the upside, out of curiosity a few weeks ago, I looked up KKK numbers. In the 1920's, there were an estimated 4-6 million members. Today, although the clan says their numbers are growing (but refuse to give exact numbers) they seem to be ranking in the thousands. I still contend- there are more good people in this world than bad, but the bad make better news stories.

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    1. All I can say about those gnats is I'm glad they're in your neighbor's yard rather than yours. ("Dive into your eyeball for a drink"... that's GOOD! The writing, I mean, not the eye-diving...)

      Oh, no doubt, there aren't nearly as many members as there used to be, but the smatterings of white supremist groups are unifying. It's a shame that there are ANY of them left. And yes, I believe the good out-number the not-so-good by a landslide, and the "bad" has always been sensationalized.

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