Thursday, August 25, 2016

In Oklahoma City (Day 7

We are settled in this evening at the Tinker Air Force Base Family Camp.  We visited this campground six years ago on our maiden trip in Odysseus.  It is 95° at 7 p.m. There is some severe weather to the northwest of the city, but it is not expected to reach this area.  Our drive today was a beautiful one.  We drove through the Ozark portion of western Arkansas and through the various Native American nations in eastern Oklahoma:  the Cherokee, the Creek, the Shawnee, and several others.  

We Americans tend to ignore our past behavior (and quickly forget our current behavior).  Our pride needs some pruning occasionally.  My patriotism is pruned every time I pass through what we tend to call Native American “reservations.”  I hang my head in shame for the behavior of our forefathers toward these people (and the present). As we passed by a site commemorating the “Trail of Tears” today, I shed some tears of my own. Every nation and every person lives in a glass house and should know better than to throw stones!  Yet we continue to throw stones at other nations, at people who are “different,” and at each other.  We remember 9/11, but how many of us remember the Wounded Knee massacre?  

My patriotism is also pruned when I drive by the battlefields of the Civil War and remember that terrible conflict which divided our nation and pitted brother against brother.  The debate continues as to the cause of that war.  Some say it was the issue of slavery and others say it was a matter of states rights.  Whatever stance we take, we must confess that slavery was wrong, terribly wrong. We talk about American values and American greatness, but we must do this with realism.  Our nation has not—and is not—what we dream it to be.  There is still a lot of work to do apparently (given the advent of Mr. Trump and those who are grateful to him for speaking what they have been thinking) to gain those values and that greatness of which we dream.

God cannot mend our every flaw unless we confess that we have “flaws!”  And we do!

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