A Letter to My Grandchildren,
I sent out a joke, which I would think was obvious to all, but it caused a stir among my grandchildren. Perhaps it was a bit crude. It is almost certainly exaggerated. However, it is based on the truth that George Floyd was an addict and thief and in death he can do no more crimes. However, his family made out very well being given 27 million dollars by the state and getting 13 million from a go fund me campaign.
One of my grandchildren chastised me for not being more generous and understanding of George Floyd because there are members of our own family who have overcome addictions. And there have even been a couple of instances where one spent some time in jail. But the similarity ends there.
George Floyd was a crook as well as an active addict. He was a human being and he was male. Other than that he was not anything like anyone in our family. I have huge sympathy for addicts, but I also know that tough love works better than empathy and constant “second chances”. The problem is that the addict must be willing to change. There are so many programs and so much help available for those who are receptive, or desperate enough to want to absorb it. And the stories of people who found sobriety after repeated failures are inspiring. There is hope for anyone who will grasp the Program.
It is true that the George Floyd family have ‘made out like bandits’ (that is an old-fashioned cliche) on the death of a relative they did not like very much or spend any time with.
And young people are wearing shirts with the name of this very bad man, as if he was a hero. What a horrible example of a man he was!
Yes, I believe that the policeman who killed him was wrong.
In fact, I believe he was a “bad cop”. Police departments all over have one or two of these, most of the time. They know that these men are borderline. However they know they are useful, too.
There is a need for really tough cops sometimes. There are people who need to be arrested that won’t go gently. Most cops are NOT bad. They are not mean or evil even to black ( or white or Hispanic) boys who have broken the law. There are many, many examples of cops helping young “thugs” rather than arresting them if you bother to check the stories out. Here is one about Lil Wayne :
But it is ALWAYS best to avoid breaking the law. If you are pulled over by a policeman it is prudent to do whatever they say. And be polite while you do it. Surely your parents have told you this because it is what every parent tries to instill in their children so that they won’t be manhandled or otherwise in any danger from the police. Keep your hands on the wheel. Say yes, sir, and “no, sir.” Don’t make sudden moves. Ask before reaching to get something out of the glove compartment.
Remember the police are scared of anyone they attempt to stop or question. There are a lot of dangerous people who seem to enjoy taunting and even attacking the police. Think how unnerving it must be to pull over a car at night. They have to get out of their cruiser and walk over to the stopped car. They may discover it is full of gang members who are armed and not afraid of the officer but instead want to kill him. Or it can be a drunk who is acting crazy but might endanger the policeman or other people on the road. I really admire policemen for their bravery and dedication to duty. (But I know there is corruption in the police force just as in government.)
Part of being ‘out in the world’ is knowing that a lot of people who SHOULD be good are not. A lot of people who are supposed to protect you are not doing so. A lot of people who should be honest are not. The government is NOT out to help you, not ever. The government has developed so entrenched a bureaucracy that its main job is to protect itself.
Much of the trouble (if not ALL of the trouble) starts in the home. Unwed mothers and absent fathers, living in close quarters with a lot of others like them, make it very difficult for the children to break out of the pattern.
This has nothing to do with racism. This is about moral values and a support system at home.
There are NO restrictions on anyone due to their race or religion or sex except those imposed on them by their peers. Black people who accuse their brothers and sisters of being “White” if they study hard or dress neatly or speak well are causing harm. They hold their own kind back more than prejudice in the past ever did. And this is true of any race or ethnicity if they belittle education, or a good job, or marriage or religion, or anything that is considered mainstream.
What is the answer? If only there were a simple one. But teaching people that they are “victims” when they live in the freest country in the world and have every opportunity is like shooting them in the foot. It stops them cold.
No one should encourage single motherhood. Single mothers used to be shunned. And I don’t think that is right either. But trying to raise a baby without a father is really tough. And it is hard on the child as well as the mother. Most of the troubles in our country stem from that.
It shocks me when I hear what is being taught in school, even in private schools, today. The most skewed ideas about the beginnings of our country, lack of respect for our founding fathers, or the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, and constant disparaging of dead white males is not only wrong, but it is also ignorant. How did we ever let it become so bad? I do not know. Everyone who thinks this country is wrong, defective, substandard, and unsatisfactory should be made to go live in another country for a while. Talk to those who risked their lives to get here and see how terrible they think it is. NOT.
Talk to people who came here from Cuba or Venezuela or Iran or Ukraine or Viet Nam. They will tell you. I deal with people all the time who are aghast at the attitude of Americans toward their own country. These people KNOW what it is like to live under socialism or worse, communism. They lived it. And they escaped in order to come here to prosper. And they are very worried that it is coming here faster and faster, and may reach a point past which it cannot be turned back without violence.
It is true that things always change and change is good much of the time. The future has great benefits in store. But many of these same things make me want “out”. I wish you all a wonderfully peaceful world, great good health, independence, and lack of fear.
It seems to me that people are consumed by fear these days and that is debilitating. There is “nothing to fear except fear itself” as FDR said in his first inaugural address. According to Roosevelt, there is nothing to fear in this world. One only has to fear the dark thoughts coiling and uncoiling inside the mind. Those thoughts make one fearful. It is not the ‘object’ that one thinks is the cause of the trouble. As a noun, “fear” refers to the sensation of fear. Human emotions make one’s mind foggy and blind with emotional turbulence caused by overthinking about the object of the fear. Such as a virus with a 99.8% survival rate.
But I digress.
I hope you have read this whole letter because it comes from my heart. I love you all and I worry about the world you will be living in after my time here is over.
Love and kisses,
Copyright©. 2021 Bonnie B. Matheson
10 thoughts on “A Letter to My Grandchildren,”
It seems like you are poorly educated on the topic that you are discussing. I would suggest speaking with those whose worldview doesn’t align with your own in an effort to gain some empathy for your fellow man. At the end of the day, George Floyd was an American citizen who didn’t deserve to be executed in the streets. Any proud and knowledgeable American would know that something that sets us apart from other countries is our justice system, and Mr. Floyd had a right to plead his case and found guilty or not. To cast him off as a delinquent who deserved his fate means you believe less in the American ideal than the protestors you claim to look down upon.
AnnaJ, Thank you for writing your opinion. I am sorry if it was not clear. Of course my grandchildren realize that I believe strongly in our justice system. Everyone deserves a fair trial. Even the worst criminal deserves justice and representation and time to put forth his own defense. I don’t believe any educated person felt that George Floyd got a fair chance on the day of his death. Of course, it was a terrible thing that happened. That is not part of the discussion. What bothers me is turning him into a hero. He was NOT. And the whole thing has become a media circus and worse. The worst part is the “fanning the flames” of racism in this country. That is inexcusable. (But I did not call him “a delinquent who deserves his fate”. That was YOUR interpretation of what I meant.) The American ideal is exactly what I DO believe in. But it is being subsumed by all the focus on race which is NOT helping race relations. Most people are not racist and racism was on it’s way out until Obama came into the presidency. From then on it was “race, race, and more race!” The press used it to sell papers and gain viewers. They caused much of the trouble we are experiencing.
Bonnie, I am confused by what you said in your reply regarding President Obama and racism being “on it’s way out in this country.” In retrospect, as a white person, I might say it was “just sleeping.” That assessment would be wrong is because, as a white personal, I do not encounter racism every day. The reason so many women like me were shocked by what was chanted in Charlottesville by “very fine people” was that we did indeed think things had been moving in the right direction re: race but clearly it did not. The election of a black President allowed the next president to fan the flames of racism via the lie that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. That so many clung to this easily disproved lie demonstrated how racism had not gone away, it had just been quieter. The reason George Floyd’s image is on T Shirts is not because he is a saint, but because his death closely mirrors other black men who were killed in a cruel and careless manner without the killers facing consequence. The idea that the victims were “lesser” because the killer did not face the same level of scrutiny as if they had killed, say, a white person. If you think of it that way, perhaps you will understand why the “now imagine she were white” resonates in the movie “A Time to Kill.” It’s a good movie, have you seen it?
Hi Bonnie, I see my comment from earlier today about yes-there-was-still-racism-under-Obama is still being moderated. I don’t think you understand that Mr Floyd’s image has less to do with the individual than the collective. What happened is that the murder of Mr Floyd was on video and Indisputable. Justice for him represents to many, justice forces Breyona Taylor and many many more. Somehow, black lives are not defended in the same way as white lives. The marches are about qual justice under the law. Did you watch any of the coverage on the 100th anniversary of the Greenwood massacre this week? The fact So many people only learned about it last month is an example of systematic racism. “Now imagine if she were white.” — John Grisham, A Time to Kill
I am touched that you continue to read my blog posts and comment on them. I would write a longer answer to yours but it is late in the day and I have spent a LONG time on an email to one of my grandchildren regarding this post. Thank you for trying to explain yourself and why you disagree with my assessment. We can continue this later.
That’s ok Bonnie. If your Grandchildren are upset by your posts it is a far better use of your time clarifying your views with them than with me. They are sure to make more headway re: your views than I ever would and you should absolutely be listening to and learning from them.
I do listen to my grandchildren, and learn from them, too. But, my wisdom and guts are what I am trying to convey. This particular period in which we are living is so full of complete fabrication and subterfuge it is hard for younger people to navigate around the misrepresentations of fact that pass for news. And the abnegation of all that is great about our country, bothers me a great deal. There is a serious effort being put forth by some group or cabal which aims to make people ashamed of our country and question its superior values. At the same time so many of the things we worked to improve such as integration of schools, is coming apart as some of these private schools seek to have “black only” reunions et c. It boggles the mind. All this talk about skin color is not helping. What needs to happen is a recurrence of values held dear for centuries, and manners and maybe even chivalry.
Hi Bonnie. I guess I should give up on trying to explain to you why the word “cabal” is not helpful when referring to our national governance. You don’t seem to understand that there is a collective reckoning going on re: events like the 100th anniversary of the Greenwood Massacre in Tulsa. When you say “values held dear for centuries” you seem to overlook those instances when things were not rosy for all Americans.
Marina, you are very good about responding. We should have lunch one day. Wait until you see my newest blog post. It will be up in a couple of hours I think. In the meantime allow me to say that the Tulsa incident was horrific. But it in no way negates the values we hold dear and have for centuries. Our founding fathers were not evil men. They would never condone something like a massacre of black people or anyone else. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. What could be a better value than that one? The fact that it took several decades to get there does not mean it was not worth it. We have been a beacon of hope for the whole world. We are so even now. But there is a cabal out there, that is self-serving and in my opinion pure evil. Right now it is pushing things like Critical Race Theory, which is pure Marxist doctrine. Beware. They don’t like you any more than they like me.
I don’t think anyone is teaching that the founding fathers “were evil men.” Any good teacher would place their words and their actions in the context of their time. As a nation we are simply trying to navigate our way to “a more perfect Union.” I see no cabals. I choose to believe that while the road is long it bends towards justice. (Please excuse the paraphrase.)