The Real Voting Fraud

Forget all the bogus claims of voting fraud since the 2020 national elections, and the January run-off races to fill Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats.

Former President Donald Trump was not chased from office through chicanery in the election process. Republicans did not lose control of the U.S. Senate because of voting irregularities, dishonest voting machines, or any other nefarious schemes at the polls.

 The outcomes from those recent elections were due simply to the will of the record number of Americans who voted, exercising their Constitutional right to choose this nation’s leaders. 

Voters wanted change and they got it. Simple as that.

Even former U.S. Attorney General William Barr — who made it his job to protect President Trump’s political and legal flanks — declared that the Justice Department had investigated and found no evidence of widespread fraud. Nothing that could’ve changed the outcomes of the elections.

Here’s the truth: The real “voter fraud” has been the willfully dishonest and loud outcries of fraud (STOP THE STEAL) made by many Republican senators, representatives, others party leaders, and conservative media commentators, who know their claims are lies. But, who also have learned from experience, and from their former mentor and leader, Donald Trump, that there is money to be made, popularity, ratings and power to be had by keeping the populace divided — liberals, conservatives and moderates — at one another’s throats.

Let me say that again, simply: The real voting fraud has been the continued claims of election fraud, by those who know their claims are not true, but figure they and the Republican Party can benefit from the Big Lie.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were duly elected to lead this country for the next four years as President and Vice President. In Georgia, businessman, John Ossoff, and Baptist minister, Ralphael Warnock, are the state’s duly elected and legally seated U.S. Senators.

The Big Lie about the elections is already proving it has the power to wreak havoc on the rights of thousands, perhaps millions, of the nation’s voters, particularly those who are black or brown, or members of other minority groups, who only lately have been able to take advantage of earlier voting-law changes that made it easier for them to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.

Georgia is one of more than 40 states currently working on changes to voting laws and regulations, whose endgame will almost certainly be restrictions on absentee ballets and voting. Measures being discussed include, but are not limited to: who can qualify for absentee ballots; enhanced ID requirements for ballets; the number and placement of absentee ballot drop boxes; the number of days of early voting, and  eliminating some weekend days from the list.

Event though the recent elections proved the value of making voting in this country easier, rather than more difficult, Republicans in State Houses across the country are moving toward more voting restrictions, anyway. Many of them say it is because they feel the need to reassure voters in their states that elections are safe and the results can be trusted.

Such reassurance can be easily accomplished, if those politicians around the country would simply tell their constituents the truth: That there was no voter fraud, that the elections in their communities were safe, and the results were accurate.

Unfortunately, honesty is not the route they are willing to take. And they would surely find it even more difficult to follow that path, because they have spent all these weeks and months lying as if there was no tomorrow. They like their lie, and they’re sticking to it. 

Why? Because they didn’t like the results of the last election. In their minds, an election is only valid, if their side wins.



Jesus’ whisper of peace, joy

Friday, 9/21/18

Today, I am uncharacteristically happy. Even though many of the annoying, joy-robbing pressures, responsibilities and upsets of daily life are clawing at me from every side, there is an unusual sense of peace keeping them all at bay.

To wit:

— There is the dreaded, expanding file folder I try to keep out of sight in the closet when I can. It is growing fatter and fatter on a steady diet of letters from The Internal Revenue Service, telling me I owe them money from three tax seasons ago.

Those letters are joined by copies of letters and accompanying documents I’ve been sending The IRS, disputing many of the agency’s claims. Their responses — to my responses to them — make it seem as if each of us is speaking a language the other doesn’t understand. Or doesn’t want to understand.

Needless to say, it is frustrating.

— Also, I am a writer, and lately, I’ve run into a string of magazine and book editors who seem to initially like what I submit, praise it, but spend a lot more time than usual making a decision on whether to purchase it. And, in the end, they come up with hollow reasons why the material is just not for them, or that they don’t believe they can “do justice to it.”


— Let’s not leave out the extremely taxing ordeal of the  succession of tall pine trees that — since being struck by lighting a little over a year ago — have been  taking turns falling across  my yard, blocking the driveway and, at least on one occasion, severing  a power line.

More than 10 have fallen, or had to be cut down, in the last several months. Still others are leaning precariously, and must be dealt with. Having trees removed is not cheap.

— There are also other reasons why I would normally be in the dumps: We recently discovered that an air conditioning unit at the home of one of my daughters was contaminated with black mold, and was the likely reason my young grandson is having terrible breathing problems, monstrous coughing spells and symptoms that mystified his doctors and caused him to miss several weeks from school last year.

And it seemed the mysterious illness would force him to miss more school time this year. That is, until the problems with the dangerously faulty unit were discovered. The issue then became how to pay for replacing it, especially after we got the news that the company responsible for the warranty on the house denied my daughter’s claim and refused to replace the air conditioner and its tubing and ducts. After vociferous complaints, the company’s “magnanimous” gesture was an offer to pay $400 of the $6,500 cost.

Normally, that would send me into a sticky, dark, melancholy mood, sapping my energy, making it extremely difficult to push through the normal challenges of the day.

But today is different. I awoke this morning with a feeling of peace. And I know why: God’s grace. Jesus, the savior-redeemer, high priest and elder brother of those who believe in Him and accept Him as Lord, is always true to his word.

Through God’s grace — and surely His love for us — my daughter came up with the money. The old air conditioning unit and its extensive duct work are gone; banished to the scrap-metal junkyard. A new system is in place. My daughter and grandson are breathing easier.

And so am I, even though I don’t live in that house.

For me, even in the face of fickle editors, falling trees, challenging government agencies, the annoying aches and pains of advancing age, I can feel the breath of Jesus, like a whisper of joy, blowing gently over me. And nothing I’ve done makes me deserve such grace.

No matter what I do, I will never earn it or deserve it. But that’s what God’s grace is — unmerited favor. Even though I don’t deserve it, I accept it — welcome it — and am thankful for it. I am thankful for days like this, knowing that a sinful, imperfect man like me, who has often been disappointed with God when things didn’t go his way, can still be granted a day like today, when — even with the ramparts of trouble and dismay slamming against his bow — can wake up feeling at peace and spend the day with his heart and mind at ease.

Only God can provide that. Only He has the awesome power and love to bestow such a gift on me, a “believer” who was confused and upset with Him when my mother died eight years ago, after breast cancer invaded her body a third time. I watched cancer ravage her. She shriveled from 127 pounds to 70. But she never lost faith. Her favorite piece of scripture was the 23rd Psalm.

She wound recite it often. My mother didn’t just know the Psalm, however, she knows The Shepherd.

Two months after she left us, when my older brother had a massive stroke and died, I was shaken again, and wondered why a loving God would allow this double whammy.

We sometimes confuse God with Santa Claus, a creation of man who must live up to our wishes and desires. He answers to us.

But we didn’t create God; He created us and knows us better than we know ourselves and — get this — loves us anyway.

Because of that and more, I want to be — and am striving to be — an “even-if” Christian; one who puts his faith and love in the God of the Holy Bible, even if He doesn’t grant a wish that seemingly means the world to me. And even when he doesn’t protect me from a natural disaster, a dreaded physical ailment, vicious accusations or career-ruining lies.

I want to be a man of faith, who trusts that God doesn’t make mistakes and that He knows what’s best for me, even though His path for me may not match the path I might choose. I have to constantly remind myself that even the very faith I have in Him is a gift from Him.

Today, I am wallowing in God’s joy and the warmth and gentle whisper of His love. And that’s fine with me.

Dogs: Gotta love ’em, can’t live without ’em

                          The love of a good dog is priceless …

I don’t know whether I would call it love — but there was definitely something — at first sight.

There she stood in the den of my friend Gloria’s home, clearly excited; her body and head shaking like that of a miniature shaman in the midst of a ritual dance to cast out demons, summon rain, or both.

She was less than a foot tall from paws to the top of her reddish-brown head, not counting those two excited ears. Her tail wagged furiously. She seemed to be smiling, her good eye gleaming. (The other didn’t fully develop when she was born.) But it was clear she was happy.

As soon as I sat on the couch, she got a running start and jumped into my lap. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started rubbing this tiny stranger’s head. Within 15 minutes, both of us were snoring. That was the first of many times we would sleep together.

That’s how my relationship with Precious — the long-haired Chihuahua-mix — began. At first, I would only see her once a week when my wife and I visited Gloria, a member of our church, who was approaching 80 — had been a widow for 20 years — and had shared her home with Precious for the past two years; after she adopted the dog from a local shelter.

They shared such a friendship

They were quite a pair. It was clear how much they loved each other. They spent so much of their time together, Precious often perched in Gloria’s lap staring her in her face as Gloria rubbed her head.  “This dog can read my mind,”Gloria would often declare with a smile. But she was serious.

The two of them did seem to have an understanding that resembled the arrangements two humans often share. Though they spent a lot of time together, they also knew when to honor each other’s personal space and need to be alone — Gloria to listen to her jazz, play games on her computer and order things online; Precious to re-decorate her kennel, take long naps and, sometimes, just lounge quietly in the kennel as if contemplating the affairs of the world.

These two companions were comfortable with the cozy life they’d made together for the last two years, but there was something lurking in the background, slowly working its way front and center, something that would put a time limit on the living arrangements of these two devoted “friends.”

A huge obstacle

Gloria lived with an inherited neurological disorder that was slowly causing her to lose her ability to walk.

In her late 70’s, the rate of decline in her ability to control the muscles in her legs had quickened. She would often fall when moving around the house, and many of the mishaps were nasty, resulting in ugly bruises and severe pain. Precious would often come to her aid, clearly concerned, but could only fret and whine over her. I once told Gloria, “Teach her to dial 911.” She laughed.

Friends, doctors, fellow church members and others had long urged Gloria to leave her house for an assisted-living facility where she would have around-the-clock care and, likely, a better quality of life. But it was difficult for her to give up her independence.

She also knew Precious would not be able to join her at such a place and she didn’t want to leave her friend. After a few more hard falls, she reluctantly agreed it was time to go. She had seen how Precious had taken to my wife and me, and how she looked forward to our weekly visits, seeming to anticipate when we would be ringing the doorbell.

Gloria also had observed how much the two of us cared for Precious. Often, when it was time for us to go, after a visit, it was difficult for me to leave. Gloria told us about her decision to move and asked if we would take Precious.

My wife was ready to say, yes, right away. By this time, there was no doubt that I had grown extremely fond of Precious, but it was still a difficult decision for me. Some years before this, I had vowed I would never have another pet. Over a period of a few years, we had lost two beloved dogs — and the adorable cat who ran our household. All three, in succession, felled by cancer.

I had not gotten over that. And I just didn’t believe I could take the risk of getting another pet, watching it become an indispensable part of our everyday life, then experience that awful, free fall into misery while watching it die.  I believed that would be devastating for me and I didn’t want to take the risk.

To make matters worse, the second of our other pets to die was our beautiful Golden Retriever (who was such a lady). Her name, by the way: Precious. And now, here was this midget Chihuahua with my beloved Precious’ name …? Did she think she could take the real Precious’ place? Or Diamond’s, our Black Lab? Or Harley’s, our Calico cat, who had lived with us for more than 15 years, and had me wrapped around her little paw?

Precious would be homeless

But nobody else in Gloria’s circle of friends seemed anxious to take Precious, and we didn’t want her to end up in the shelter again. Especially now that she was eight years old. Older dogs have a much harder time getting adopted. Most people, it seems, prefer puppies.

We brought Precious home in early March. It didn’t take her long to adapt to the transition. Right away, she loved the larger yard we have, and kept us busy taking her out several times a day for walks around the property, to sniff out deer tracks or the scents of other critters who frequent our property.

At first, I tried to put a governor on my attachment to this small, but energetic creature, who often followed me or my wife “foot-to-foot” around the house and took frequent naps in our laps.

And I believe Gloria was right: The dog did seem to be able to read our minds. She could tell if I was troubled or a little downcast. She knew just when to join me on the sofa or in a comfortable chair, ease into my lap and find my hand with her nose; then encourage me to rub her head, back or belly. After several minutes of this, both of us were usually feeling much better.

She can make us smile so easily. She has this way of prancing up our long driveway, while frequently looking back over her narrow shoulder and appearing to smile or admonish us to pick up the pace, in a “come on, I’ve got things to do, places to see, get a move on” kind of way.

And once she’s had enough of the hot southern sun, she forces us to jog as she runs at her top speed back to the air conditioned house.

She is the sweetest dog and has been a joy to be around. Every time we take her to the vet, the staff threatens to keep her; they love having her around. She makes “people” friends every where she goes.

I always thought I couldn’t really take up with a small dog — “a lap dog.” I thought I preferred big dogs, working dogs, who were strong, muscular and protective. People with evil intent on their minds tend to think twice about approaching you when you’ve got a pair of nearly-100-pound retrievers by your side. And here I am now, perfectly content with this lightweight midget, who doesn’t even bark.

But her senses of hearing and smell are so strong, she alerts us when anything is going on outside — somebody in the driveway or approaching the house — long before they get out of their car and knock on the door.

She has been a blessing

She came to us at the right time. I was overwhelmed with challenges and scores of things I needed to take care of. A lot of the joy of life was gone for me. But Precious has me looking at life and all that stuff differently. Most of those challenges haven’t gone away, but simply don’t bother me quite as much.

Sometimes, when things start to get me down, I just try to relax on the sofa, knowing that within minutes, Precious will be there in my lap or by my side, and before I know it, we’ll both be asleep. When I wake up, things don’t seem so bad. I’ve now made room for her in my pets hall of fame, along with my buddies Diamond, Precious The First, and Harley.

Yes, she is tiny (only 7 pounds) and certainly not imposing, but even so, she is still my Big Girl.

Dogs: You gotta love ’em. Because they sure can love you.



More Sayings of Money Back: World’s Oldest-Living Rapper

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men … Good morning, uh, I mean good evening. See, this world so messed up right now, I don’t even know what time it is …

Maybe I oughta just go back to what we always said in the sixties: It’s Nation Time. Time for rich folks and whites folks, and especially rich, white folks to stop messing with us…

Don’t start frowning, I know y’all gon’ mess with us a little while longer. But remember, we clean your house — we got keys. We wash your clothes — we know where you been and what you been doing when you wasn’t spoze to be doing it. We wash your car — we know what’s in the ash tray, glove compartment and  under the seats. We cook your food … You may want to be nice to us. Just saying …

Anyhow, been thinking about a few things lately in light of what’s been going on. You know famous people and leaders and all.


First off: If you gonna govern this country by meat clever, sooner of later, you gon’ be missing some fingers, or your whole damn hand. And you might wanna buy some steel-toed boots …

If your favorite way to communicate is Twitter, you might wanna learn to read — and spell.

And, can you believe it? One Senator called our President a fraud the other day. That’s not right, or as his administrative team might say, “alternate facts.” The man ain’t no fraud. He told us and showed us exactly what he was before the election.

He didn’t deceive us. We knew he didn’t exactly play straight with the truth. There are alternative truths, you know, depending on what your game is. But folks keep wantin’ to believe the package ain’t the man.

Shame on us! Can’t blame him for that.


Speaking of game. Did you exhale, or want to go somewhere and choke yourself to death after that Super Bowl?

As my friend, Sam, used to say, I didn’t know whether to poop — or wind my watch. I ain’t never seen nothing like it in all my days. And I been here a lot of ’em. Whew-wee!

Question, though.

Why was it Super Bowl LI? Why can’t we just say Super Bowl 51? Houston ain’t Rome! Why we use Roman Numerals? Ain’t this America, and ain’t it great again?

Now, I been to Rome many times. Great, great city. Gotta be great, ’cause that’s where the Big Man lives — The Pope.

And I’ll tell you this current pope is the greatest pope we ever had, barring none. And I’ll tell you why: He’s the coolest pope to ever walk the earth.

The man got style and he’s approachable as all get-out. He’ll talk to anybody; just get out of that funny car and walk through crowds, shake hands. You know he believes in The Almighty; he ain’t scared of nothing. You hear me, nothing.

I’ve played a lot of venues in Rome, but they always turn me down at The Vatican. Man, I’d love to play The Vatican — have them Cardinals rolling on the floor. But I’m gon’ try again next year. You gotta have faith; you never know.

But, you know something I think about every time I see The Pope riding in that funny little car? Why don’t he take that thing to “Pimp My Ride?” That would be great. Them brothers would have that thang so fly, Snoop would wanna be his wheel man.

Put some of them Sprewell, spinning rims on it; a vinyl top and blacked-out windows; TV antenna in the back, and the grill from a Chrysler 300. Whew-wee! Hell, I’d volunteer to be his chauffeur. Don’t laugh! I might be older than Betty White, but I still got my license…


But getting back to that game. That  so-called Super game. I just got three things to say on that: 1. People say you can’t teach an old dog knew tricks. But the thing is, them old tricks he already knows may be just enough (Tom Brady.)

2.Why is it, when you see a man of very few words, he’s also a man of very few smiles (see Belichick.) I just don’t get him. His shorts must be too tight — or something. You see that uncomfortable look on his face all the time?

The man just won the Super Bowl, and what is he doing? Complaining that since his team had to spend the previous two weeks preparing for the Super Bowl, they now several days behind the other NFL teams in making off-season preparations for next season. Is he serious?

Well, of course, the man is always serious. Let’s see: Those other teams didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, right? I betcha every one of them would give up five first-round draft picks just to trade places with him, and still think they got the better deal.

For some people, the Bowl is always empty.

3.Everybody in the Known World, including in Rome, knows you don’t run out of gas during the most important football game of the year, possibly of your whole life.

You take your damn gas witcha! I’m through with that.

I guess I’m not.

I coulda kicked the gas out a few folks at the end of that game, but they wouldn’t let me down on the sidelines.

Enough! But here’s a tip for some of you young bucks out there. I  can look you in the eyes and know whatcha into. Remember now; Be careful what house you break into in the dark: It might be your own. Or mine. And I got something for ya. Believe that!

DAMN!!! …

 I was trying to drop the mic, but the damn thing fell on my foot.

Aw’ight, aw’ight … I may be limping, but I’m outta here …

Money Back Strikes Again



Rapper says whole lot has changed for black folks

since the bad old fifties and sixties …

I’ve been called the world’s oldest, living rapper.

I guess that’s an honor .. sort of.

But what fuzzies me is — how they know?

I mean, who knows all the old rappers in the world?

Just saying.

Me, I believe they just trying to git me to tell my age. See, nobody knows, ’cause I got three birth certificates — and yes, I was born in these here united states.

Where?  I ain’t telling. But just so you know, I ain’t never set foot in Kenya.

But that wasn’t my point when I walked through that curtain.  You know, before I go into my rap thing, I always like to give you guys a little something to think about, something to take with you … you know, when you go home.

Basically, I’m so tired of folks going around all frowned up, saying, “ain’t nothing changed, nothing’s changed in this country. We back to the same old shit — uh, pardon my Russian. They saying, we gon’ be back in outright slavery again ‘fore long.”

Folks don’t know what they talkin’ ’bout.

A lot of things’ve changed. And I know what I’m talking ’bout. As the man in the TV commercial says, “I know a thing or two, cause I seen a thing or two.”

Something’s changed these days that I thought would never change. But you young folks don’t know nothing ’bout what it used to be like. I’m talking ’bout back in the really bad old days.

Yeah, things used to be a whole lot worse than now. A whole lot worse…

Ask yo’ grandmama ‘nem. They know …

Back in them days we had to hide and hope The Man didn’t catch us … and lock us up just for standing there, being black or nappy-headed. Some of us was both.

But it didn’t matter, they was gon’ be on our ass just for dry long so. We didn’t have to do nothing. They were gon’ make sure we knew they could mess with us just cause they wanted to. Pure and simple … and we couldn’t do a damn thing ’bout it.

In my old neighborhood on the black side of town, back when I was growin’ up, there was some bad boys … I mean some bad boys. Them brothers would just as soon slap you upside your head, or cut you with a razor … or just speak to you.

Didn’t make them no difference.

And you wasn’t going to do or say a thing ’bout it, either.

Black Atlanta sho’ had some bad dudes in those days…

But even them boys, bad as they were … even them boys was scared of Alabama.

They be out raising two hundred dollars worth of hell, and somebody come running by, yelling, “Alabama! Alabama!” and every single one of them jokers would scatter faster than a rooster with a firecracker in his ass…

And I ain’t never lied. You see, I got my hand on my heart …

See, back in them days, the word was all over town that the good white folks in Alabama hated black folks so bad, there was a sign up at the Alabama line, and it said: “Read this, Niggers, and run. And If you can’t read, run anyway.”

The only direction we could run … was away from Alabama. You better not be caught in Alabama, period!  You hear me?

If you wasn’t born there, you’d better keep your black ass out of there. They didn’t want anymore Negroes than they already had. King and them marchers and freedom riders was giving them all the headache they could stand.

We was so scared, we had kinfolks in Alabama — and wouldn’t visit ’em. Hell, no!

If we even saw a car with a Alabama tag on it, going down the street, we’d take off, and run ’til we couldn’t hardly breathe.

I ain’t lying.  Got my hand over my heart again. Ain’t joking, neither.

If you heard them things we used to hear they did to colored folks in Alabama, hell, you’d still be running too …

But, thank The Lord, things do change.

These days … not only can you run in Alabama, especially if you can run fast… Alabama going all over these here united states, searching hard … trying to find brothers who can run — and throw.

And if you can tackle and catch, too — hell, you can damn near be gov’nor.

My eyes have seen the glory ….

Thank The Lord for football…




Truth Is: No Lives Matter — Much

                                                                          What’s Going On?

What's Going On, Ferguson_NEW_NEW


“All Lives Matter.”

Right now, that simple declaration, which would seem perfectly logical and something most caring people would accept without a second thought, has become –in this hateful era of white-hot racial, ethnic, religious and class warfare — fighting words: A declaration of war.

Black lives matter;  White lives matter; Blue lives matter. So do those of innocent school children;  worshipers in a Charleston, S. C., church, and  revelers at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

 All lives should matter!

Yet …. You simply cannot stand up and publicly declare that “all lives matter,” and not just those of young African Americans killed brutally by law enforcement officers under questionable circumstances, or those of police officers ambushed by killers seeking perceived justice or blind revenge without being quickly labelled a racist, a traitor — or worst.

It is as if, by declaring that all lives on this planet matter, you are, somehow, downplaying or refusing to acknowledge the value and sanctity of the lives of those in specific segments of the population who seem to be suffering disproportionately from the current wave of violent deaths inflicted by members of other segments of our society. The searing heat of condemnation would overtake you so quickly you wouldn’t know what hit you.  Many in the Black Lives Matter movement would condemn you before the words of your declaration had cleared your mouth.

They strike with toxic venom, publicly attacking anybody who tries to point out that they don’t shoulder, by themselves, the burden of pain and suffering from the string of tragedies that has beset us in recent years, nor are they solely responsible for speaking up for the victims and their families, and demanding that solutions to this carnage be found — quickly.

That is what fear and widespread distrust and division have done to us.

Make no mistake about it; this is not the beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr., and other visionary thinkers worked so hard to achieve and for which many lost their lives. This is the America  (Land Of The Free)  wrought by decades of friction among the human tectonic plates of cultural, racial, religious and economic-class differences colliding with one another, ripping the social fabric of this nation to shreds. We are a nation of strangers, not just suspicious and distrustful of one another, but afraid of one another and quick to let that fear and distrust turn us into hateful, selfish beings.

“Seek any advantage you can, and do to your neighbor before your neighbor can do to you” is the law of the land. Codified by politicians and hate mongers who see opportunity in our division, chances for them to climb the ladder of our misery into more power, more money, more control.

President-elect Donald Trump, whom I believed would never cross the threshold of the White House except as a visitor, but who now is preparing to make it his part-time home, has been the national drum major for jingoism, intolerance of those different from us, public incivility, selfishness, political bombast, bullying and saying whatever you believe will help you get what you want, regardless of who gets hurt in the process.

Any unsubstantiated accusation, slanderous barb or outrageous claim is permitted as long as it is in the service of your desires and so-called quest to straighten out all the things in this country that the rest of us, obviously, have screwed up.

Mr. Trump and those like him have taken advantage of our human weaknesses, our willingness to distrust and blame one another, our apparent inability to keep our unreasonable fears under control, the things that in concert make so many of us — and I say this as a black man who has felt the searing lashes of segregation and second-class citizenship in the deep south — willing participants in our own destruction.

We can’t see that our blindness to our own prejudices, and fears of losing our status, privilege and dignity, has also made us blind to the fact that Donald Trump — and others like him– are not The Lone Ranger on a white horse coming to save us, but are, instead, Snidely Whiplash — drunk on ego and applause from the peanut gallery — groping our women, kicking Tonto to the curb and riding off with the codes to the nuclear launch system of the most powerful nation on earth.

Members of the Black Lives Matter movement, however, are not the only ones quick to pounce on those whom they perceive as being unsympathetic or opposed to their cause. The same is true of those who recently came down hard on a popular American company that made statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, because the company obviously saw it as a human-rights issue, not a black-versus-white issue. The company was bombarded, immediately, by harsh criticism from organizations that represent law enforcement officers and the relatives, friends and sympathizers of officers killed in the line of duty, allegedly by gunmen seeking random payback for the deaths of young black males at the hands of law enforcement officers.

“Blue Lives Matter!” came the angry cry against the company. Proponents of the movement encouraged supporters to boycott the “offending” business and any others whom they believe showed disrespect to the sacrifices of the slain officers, their families and the whole law enforcement community.                                              


Groups that understandably band together in support of victims of this current tidal wave of violence, often — in their moments of anger, concern and caring, while trying to process the immediate tragedy — don’t take time to stand back and absorb the full tidal wave and all of its consequences. That is human nature. However, it results in a kind of circling of the wagons that, instead of binding us all together and seeking to preserve the frayed strings that unite us, pushes us to become more and more thin-skinned and ready to retaliate without waiting for the full facts to be uncovered.

In this current climate, it is difficult to see how we can find our way out of this forest of bloodletting.

Those in the Black Lives, Blue Lives or other super-focused activist movements are subsets of larger congregations of the huge cultural mix that was once celebrated in the America we often referred to as a melting pot, then later, a tossed salad. Those metaphors were our way of grasping the cultural, religious, ethnic and skin-color differences we optimistically believed were strengths we could build on to fashion a nation truly united, and not just in name only. A place where all people with good intentions and hopes for a better life were welcome.

But many things have changed us: the internet; adverse economic disruptions; loss of jobs due to corporate decisions; world-wide terrorism; pressure — and resistance — to moving the populace toward greater freedom, and better understanding of those who are different (not just in appearance and language, but sexual identity, religious beliefs and practices, moral and political values.)

All of that is why the power to chose future Supreme Court justices has become the holy grail of American life, prompting some of the most respected religious leaders in the nation to make deals with devils to ensure that no liberal thinker is placed on that important body for the foreseeable future, if not longer.

While we seem to be deathly afraid of what the outer appearance of our “fellow” Americans might mean, we should, first, be examining our own inner selves and what things may be incubating in the hidden chambers of our own hearts.

There was a time — perhaps a brief time — when it seemed we were trying hard to figure out how to change, to be more accommodating to those who were different from the so-called mainstream, but who were drawn to this country because of what it appeared to represent. And to also be more accommodating to those already here, who, because they were “black,” “brown,”  “red” and “yellow,” had suffered for generations at the bottom of the totem pole topped by white privilege.

We seemed to have been making progress after the Civil Rights Movement and the riots of the 1960’s. Even though we weren’t all helping, equally, to push that train, there were signs that many, who were previously opposed, were joining the procession toward positive change.

Now, that train seems to be stalled on the track, and protesters of different hues, ideologies and economic and political agendas shout and spit at one another across the train track.  Fights break out, and there are injuries and blood, and few seem wiling to step into that train.

I don’t think there is any doubt that the election, eight years ago, of a black man to be president of this country triggered animosities and hate that had seemed, on the surface, under control. That breakthrough was a kind of “last straw” for many in the white community, who saw themselves losing too much privilege and power after what had been, to that point, a slow national march toward reconciliation and racial progress.

On the other hand: While, just as it is difficult to take only a single sip of a tantalizing and delicious drink, many in the black and brown communities saw President Barack Obama’s election as merely the first thirst-quenching sip of much-needed change. They wanted even greater transformation in their own situations — and they wanted it by his second week in office.

Expectations and disappointments on both sides, and tensions created by his surprising rise to power eroded the efforts to be nice and move slowly toward a shared America — not just palatable to, but also nurturing to all.

That dissatisfaction has been fueled largely by the internet since hostile pronouncements, counter-statements, outright insults, denouncements and threats can be sent to millions seemingly at the speed of light — and millions more can join in the rumble until nerves across the world are frayed and countless people are ready to attack others they believe to be their enemies. A slip of the tongue, er, keyboard, or a thoughtless tweet can sink ships theses days, or fuel a conflagration.

So, what can we do about this cultural mess?  I’m not sure. But a good first step would be to hold off on the angry tweets, the hateful memes, and the incendiary bombast of radio talk-show hosts — and recognize where we’re headed. Do we want to be one nation, sincerely striving to become a place where all lives are valued and cherished — and where common sense and love are championed?

Are we willing to stop the instant blame-game for a minute and seriously look at one another, free of automatic doubt and distrust? Do we really care about what this nation, for generations, has claimed it stood for? Do we still believe in that ideal enough to listen to one another?

It is easy to grab onto slogans and use them as weapons. But slogans don’t solve problems. And they can keep us from having the kinds of open, caring, genuine dialogues that can get us past the hurts, the hatred, the distrust, and the selfishness that block progress.

Do we really want to change? Or, are we content to keep moving toward that inevitable and destructive uncivil war in which your skin color, or religion, or gender identification or economic status is your uniform?

I truly believe all lives matter, and it grieves me now when I turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper or sign on to the internet and see what’s going on; when I see that in Chicago more than 700 people have been murdered already this year (many of them young black males)  — and not by white supremacists, or white police officers, but in so many cases, by other black males, largely in gang warfare.

Do black lives really matter?

Do white lives really matter?

Blue lives?

Right now, it seems that No Lives Matter to us –much.

But they matter to God. So does our response — or lack thereof — to the almost-daily slaughter.



Writing, Its Own Self

I have been a writer since before I could actually write.

When I was a toddler, both of my parents worked outside the home. The woman who was my babysitter was a retired school teacher, who loved to read, so I was reading before I ever went to kindergarten. I was also memorizing and reciting poetry, sometimes, poems I’d created myself.

At the time, they lived inside my head, since I was still learning how to write and spell. My father was a storyteller, even though he only went as far as the third grade in school, but was later taught how to write and to read a little — by my mother, who finished eighth grade. He would often rock me to sleep at night, while he sang to me.

What he sang were stories, stories about angels and animals and farmers. It was all so vivid to me. I could see the horses and cows talking as they worked, and the roosters strutting about the yard, bragging and showing off for the hens.

I was hooked, even though I had no idea — at the time — that writing, with its joys and pains, is a hard habit to break. Even during the times when it seems intent on breaking you.

In the decades since then, I have written millions and millions of words — even more if you count the unfortunate ones that ended up in the waste basket, without ever being exposed to the world outside my typewriter or computer. Those deemed not good enough to be invited to the coming-out parties.

I have written for newspapers, magazines, books, websites, the stage, reports, training manuals, TV, technical journals — and more. And over the years, have experimented with writing styles and several methods of getting to the end product, which is a well-written “piece,”  be it fiction, nonfiction, “literary,” hard-boiled, persuasive, explanatory, thought-provoking, or simply informative.

I have studied other writers and tried to use methods and approaches they said worked for them. I have written in the early mornings, long before daybreak;  late into the night, after the phones stop ringing and the house quiets down; and in the middle of the day, between meetings, before or after appointments, standing, sitting, kneeling or staring at the ceiling.

I have written long hand on legal pads, on old manual typewriters and up-to-date laptops and desk tops. I have talked into tape recorders, then transcribed the results. Each writer has to use the methods/modes that work best for him or her.

I used to do elaborate outlines early on, because I read that some highly successful writer — don’t remember who at this point — insisted that a “real” writer, or “serious writer” had to outline, needed a map to keep from running off the road or over a cliff.

I also used to sit and wait for inspiration, often listening to what I thought was muse-inducing music. But years of working for newspapers cured me of that. I was forced to write with, or without, inspiration. Rather, my inspiration became the next deadline.

Now, I rarely outline. I prefer to let a story gather weight in my head. Particularly with fiction, ideas come and hang around; I hear dialog, characters talking. It’s like I’m overhearing situations, story lines, confrontations, power struggles, characters living in the worlds developing between my ears.

I have learned to listen more intently, to follow their lead, rather than mostly imposing my will on them. It is like the point guard on the basketball team learning to let the game come to him or her, rather than forcing things, creating awkward situations on the floor.

One of the habits I’ve developed that seems to serve me well is often difficult not to break.  It is taking the first draft of whatever I’m writing — a novel, short story, work report or poem, — put it away for a period of time, usually two weeks or more. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and a more critical attitude.

That surely is when the real work begins. Once you’ve gotten the story or idea out of you, you have the blue print. Now, you can set about shaping, molding, honing, making it better. Writing is really thinking, and re-writing is re-thinking.

What comes out in that first draft is the raw material that, with focused, thoughtful re-thinking and revision, can become the masterpiece that might surprise even you.

I am at that point right now, trying to stick to that tried-and-true habit. I had given my self a deadline of Thanksgiving to have a complete first draft of a new novel I’ve been creating. I did that and put it away earlier this week.

It’s only been a few days, but it’s driving me crazy. I want to get right back to it and read through it, tamper with it, test it. I want to know whether the months of effort I have spent on it have been “much ado about nothing,” or “sometimes a great notion.”

I keep telling myself I’ve got to stick to the plan, since it has served me well many times in the past. But this time, perhaps because I feel myself getting older and am not sure how much time I have left (and there are so many projects on the runway, on the taxiways, and some still inside the hangar) I want to rush the process.

Right now, the book is titled:  “I Owe You: a novel of love and revenge.” Although it contains some suspense, it is different from the detective stories and thrillers I have been working on in recent years. I really want to know if it is up to snuff.

I am trying to take my mind off of it, and let it simmer for perhaps a month. It needs proper time to rise, before going into the oven. I had hoped writing this blog post would help me direct my thoughts in other directions. But that doesn’t seem to work for long. When I turn to other projects on my growing list, my thoughts soon return to the first draft of that novel.

I think I should get away from the key board and try to watch some football. Maybe that will work. I just wish the Atlanta Falcons were playing better these days. Interceptions and fumbles by the home team don’t do much to lower my anxiety.









God Wants Full Custody

The true path to right living: God must be The Boss

Original Man

A sign outside Conyers Church Of Christ, in Conyers, Ga., not far from where I live, got me thinking and thinking and thinking.

It was so clever, brilliant really — and so true.

It said in bold letters: “God Wants Full Custody, Not Just A Weekend Visit.”

Wow! Simple, yet powerful. It works on multiple levels, and in language we understand immediately, since “custody” is an ever–present word in our society these days.

There are newspaper and magazine headlines aplenty about custody battles among Hollywood stars and other celebrities. And those addicted to the myriad detective, true crime and forensic-evidence shows on TV are well acquainted with the legal term “chain of custody,” which defines whether rules of evidence-gathering and storage have been followed properly.

Loosely speaking, having custody of something means having possession of it with considerable control over what happens to it.

That sign is an awesome reminder that God wants full possession of us, wants us to surrender ourselves to His will, in such a way that we defer to Him in every way, in every matter, every day.

In the movie, “Get On Up,” a “biopic” of the life of soul singer James Brown, there is a scene at the end, in which Brown’s character — after reflecting on a life filled with crushing defeats as well as soaring triumphs — turns to the camera and says: “I paid the cost to be the boss.”

It was a moving, defining moment. It made me want to cheer after nearly two hours of watching Brown ‘s struggles, as he rose from abject poverty, abandonment by his mother and trouble with the law to become one of the most celebrated entertainers in the world.

But that sentiment, which might seem so right, is dangerous. It is poisonous, as deadly as Cyanide, Ricin, Sarin, or Anthrax. Actually more deadly. It is an anathema, directly opposed to the Word of God as recorded in the Bible.

As Christians know, God is the Boss. He, not us, has paid the cost. As the Bible tells us, His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, himself fully man and fully God, died on the cross on our behalf to pay the debt for the worlds’ sins. A debt we — not one of us — could ever pay.

Yet, is it difficult, even for many Christians, to live every day as if we know God is boss. It is difficult to surrender control, to not figure we can handle things ourselves. After All, we’re smart, or at least educated, and we try to be good people. We help others. We’re good to our parents, spouses, or significant others, our children and those we encounter each day.

It is not easy letting God take control of EVERYTHING, even the smallest things, but especially the big things, the ones we worry about most. A wonderful movie I saw recently — “War Room” — handled this issue well. One of the female characters was frustrated because her husband, a highly “successful” pharmaceutical salesman, was so busy trying to be successful, to make all the money he could — any way he could — that he had become an arrogant jerk, who ignored his wife and young daughter and had little time for anything that didn’t seem likely to raise his business profile.

As a result, his family was miserable. There was plenty of discord, and every second the family spent together was as tense as scouts trolling a mine field. There were always arguments and sharp words across the dinner table. The wife would sometimes snap back, trying to defend herself, or get her husband to see the error of his ways.

As a real estate agent,  the wife encountered an elderly widow, who was putting her house up for sale. The older woman had been widowed when her husband, a career soldier, was killed in war. The older woman confessed to the main character that she, too, had been frustrated with her husband, had been bitter and blamed him for treating military life as his real wife, rather than embracing her in that role.

She said she found no peace until she took the matter to God, started praying every day for Him to show her how she could have handled things differently, and how she could ease her troubled mind and heart. The answer, she explained, was that she should have stopped battling with her husband, should have let God work on him.

That advice convinced the younger woman she should take the same approach, and she did, praying daily for God to watch over her husband, to help him see where he was headed, and help him reclaim his love for his family. The couple’s young daughter saw her mother’s new approach and decided to quietly follow it, too, petitioning God to help her mother and father “love each other again.”

The results were remarkable.

Taking that approach is not easy, especially for men who grew up in a society where most of the noise around us tells us that a man has to be strong, doesn’t totally submit to anyone or anything. Doesn’t expect others to fight his battles.

One of the strongest lessons the culture taught me as I grew up is that “a man handles his business.” Anyone who doesn’t handle his business, run his household, pull his weight, is not a real man.

Overcoming such pervasive teaching is difficult. It takes a lot of prayer, meditation on the words of God, and interaction with other men who are serious about making that journey, too.

It is not just a problem for men, however. Submission is tough for many women as well. It goes against the human will. It is seen as weakness, losing control. The human mind fears a loss of control.

Finding the desire, the willingness and the strength to let God take control — or as the familiar saying goes — to “let go, and let God,” is one of the greatest challenges of being a Christian.

It requires uncommon trust in God, in The Holy Spirit. Especially in this world where we see so many people surrender full control to some professed “holy man,” who makes good speeches and is able to convince them to follow him and his “blessed prayer cloths” to paradise, only to discover he is a complete charlatan. Many have been led to their deaths, following such crooks.

That Church Of Christ sign works on a simpler level, too. It reminds those of us, who — supposedly — have bought into following Christ and accepting him as lord and savior, that just popping in to see Him during a weekend worship service won’t cut it.

God welcomes drop-ins and visitors, of course. But, at some point, we all need to discover that the only true, redemptive path is inviting Him to adopt us into the family that is called by His name, giving him complete authority over our lives, and obedience to his will.

He doesn’t want part-timers, or Christians in name only. He wants full-time believers, who understand the blessings that flow from letting Him call the shots.

Remember: God doesn’t want to share custody of us with anybody, or any thing.


Why Refunds Offered On Harper Lee’s Book


Michigan bookstore critical of the publication

of  ‘Go Set A Watchman’ as a ‘new novel.’

When I first saw the article on the website, Galley Cat, which chronicles happenings in the book and entertainment industries, I didn’t quite know what to think.

I had certainly been aware of the incredible hullaballoo over the publication of a so-called “lost manuscript” of Harper Lee’s that was being called both a prequel — because it was written before “To Kill A Mockingbird” — and a sequel, because the action in the book takes place some 20 years after the events of the earlier work, which is recognized as one of the world’s most- beloved classics.

The Galley Cat article reported that Brilliant Books, an independent bookstore in Traverse City, Michigan,  was offering free refunds to its customers who had purchased “Go Set A Watchman.”

The reason, according to the report, is that the store owners viewed the promotion and sale of the book as Ms. Lee’s major “new novel” as something bordering on fraud. Although they did not use the term “fraud.” They were upset because they see the book as merely an early draft, not a finished novel.

They did make clear they consider the publication and all of the hype generated around it — which undoubtedly benefited sales — as “disappointing and frankly shameful … This is pure exploitation of both literary fans and a beloved classic (which we hope has not been irrevocably tainted.)”

Biting words, for sure. But they didn’t leave it at that. According to Galley Cat, they offered an earlier example of a similar situation, involving author James Joyce and his literary classic, “The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”

“This situation is comparable to Joyce’s stunning work … and its original draft ‘Stephen Hero,'” the quote in Galley Cat says. “‘Hero was initially rejected, and Joyce reworked it into the classic ‘Portrait.’ ‘Hero was eventually released as an academic piece for scholars and fans — not as a new ‘Joyce novel.’ We would have been delighted to see ‘Go Set A Watchman’ receive a similar fate.”

After I fully digested their argument, I could clearly see their point, and I cannot say their way of looking at the situation is wrong.  “Go Set A Watchman” has been over-hyped, has been skillfully positioned to explode onto the literary scene, through the use of mystery, timing and hints about the aging author’s physical and mental abilities — and whether she could make a sound decision about the work’s publication.

And it worked to an extraordinary degree. There were said to be preorders for the book totaling more than a million copies weeks before the actual publication date. It has likely sold millions more, worldwide, since then — and is still on several bestseller lists.

The fraud — and I do use the word loosely here — was so successful because we, the reading public, were willing participants. “To Kill A Mockingbird” and its main characters (especially Atticus Finch and Scout) have such a place in the literary heart of not just this nation, but of lands across the globe) that both fans and skeptics found it hard to resist a “new novel” by one of the world’s best-known writers, who had vowed decades ago that her first book would be her last.

Now, there is even more controversy, because so many of those fans simply can’t see the book for what it is: an early draft that, with rejection by a publisher, and then being re-imagined and rewritten, became a truly remarkable book. That early draft, probably should have remained “lost” in the dust bin of history.

Blogs and other online sites are filled with comments by those saddened that Atticus Finch goes from being a beloved, bold champion of justice in “To Kill A Mockingbird,” to being a racist-leaning, aging and disappointing father in “Watchman.”

They act as if the second book is, indeed, a sequel and that it shows the natural progression of the story. Some say they are horrified, or feel cheated. “How can she (Ms. Lee) do that?” they wail.

They do not understand the writing process. According to several reports, the manuscript for “Go Set A Watchman” was rejected by a book editor, but he suggested that Ms Lee try rewriting it from the point of view of the young girl, Scout, rather from that of the adult Jean Finch, through whose eyes the story of “Watchman” is revealed.

When a writer decides to do a complete revision of a work, often he or she re-imagines the story, changes locales, dates and times; old characters disappear and new ones emerge. Sometimes, the new work bears little resemblance to the old. It is, in fact, a new creation. Old characters can remain, but often their personalities are different, as are their motivations. Even the theme driving the work can be vastly different.

It makes perfect sense to me that a very young girl living in a small, Southern town, such as Scout, would look up to, and view — perhaps adore– her lawyer-father as her champion, a man who can do no wrong. But that a grown-up Scout (Jean), who has lived in the hurly-burly and urban clatter of Manhattan might see her lawyer-father with more exacting eyes.

Fans of Harper Lee should be happy that the original manuscript was rejected (although I’m sure that wasn’t the outcome she hoped for at the time.) If that work had not been rejected, it is highly unlikely we would have been able to enjoy “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which is, hands down, a superior work.

I want to say here that “Go Set A Watchman” simply does not work as a novel. While there are several skillfully written scenes, the book does not hold together as a work of fiction driven by a central dramatic action or actions that propel it forward. The dramatic device that makes “Mockingbird” such an interesting work is the trial of the black man accused of raping a white woman. In “Watchman,” that incident is only mentioned in a short summary, which robs it of its dramatic impact.  There is simply too much “telling” and not enough “showing” in “Watchman.”

The book seems to be more treatise than novel, with its often heavy-handed moralizing about race relations. It doesn’t approach the art and skill of a well-crafted novel.

 It is also clear why that early editor rejected it, and suggested that Ms. Lee tell the story from the point of view of the young girl, Scout. In”Watchman,” Jean Louise, although reportedly a woman of about 26  years  of age, is incredibly naive about the political and moral leanings of her father, other family members and the mores of the small town in which she has spent the majority of her life. That naivete is even more implausible given that she has been living and working in gritty, worldly New York City for, at least, a few years.

Her sense of surprise, shock and horror when she discovers the strong anti-integration stance of her family seem too much of a surprise, and are overwrought, as well.

I wondered then why the author had agreed to its publication, but I was thinking through my writer’s lens. Many writers, including me, of course, are jealous of the early versions of their work as they craft them into stories they are eventually ready to share with the world. We are, so often, a self-conscious lot. And our early drafts can seem embarrassingly bad to us. So much so that we believe anybody who gets a hold of them will think us stupid, naive, or both.

I am sure Harper Lee has her reasons for approving the publication of what is clearly only an early draft. I don’t know those reasons, but I can assume that at this point in her life and journey as an American icon, she is a lot less vain and uptight about her art — and how it is viewed — than so many of the rest of us.


Leave Stone Mountain Alone


Many want to wipe away

all vestiges of the Confederacy

In the wake of racially motivated shootings at an historic black church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine members of the congregation — and hot on the heels of several, questionable, police-involved shootings around the nation from which unarmed black men lost their lives — there is a movement afoot, locally, to erase all vestiges of the Confederacy from Stone Mountain and its surrounding park, one of the biggest tourist attractions in Georgia.

There is a petition currently circulating on the internet asking that supporters sign on, in an effort to get the powerful Coca-Cola Company to “drop its sponsorship of Stone Mountain” and “Stop Bankrolling White Supremacy.”

The appeal also states: “On the evening of November 25, 1915, a group of men clad in robes and hoods ascended to the top of Stone Mountain, the largest mass of exposed granite in the world, 15 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia. Once on top, the men ignited a flaming cross, signalling the second coming of the Ku Klux Klan, which had been dormant for 40 years. The events of that night set decades of white supremacist violence and terror by the KKK in motion, with Stone Mountain at the center.

“One hundred years later, and the mountain has been transformed into Stone Mountain Park, Georgia’s number one tourist attraction. The park — which draws an estimated 4 million visitors per year, and includes Coca-Cola as one of it’s biggest corporate sponsors — features several confederate memorials, including a reconstructed Antebellum Plantation, a ‘Confederate Hall,’ and a Civil War Museum. The most famous and prominent attraction, however, is the face of the mountain itself, which is carved with the image of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis riding on horseback.

“Work on the carving began in 1916, but was delayed for decades until the 1950s when the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum. Segregationists in Georgia hoped the monument would serve as a reminder of White Supremacy, and in 1958 the state of Georgia purchased the mountain for $2 million, paving the way for the sculpture’s completion. It remains there today as a reminder of our state’s brutal history.

” The recent spotlight on Confederate symbols across the south, combined with the growing backlash against the Movement for Black Lives, has made it clear that there is no place for symbols of hate and division on state property. By investing millions of dollars into the park through sponsorships, Coca- Cola is condoning the racism and hatred that these symbols represent to so many people.”

Several members of the community — from those on the local Hip-Hop scene, to Atlanta politicians such as Mayor Kasim Reed and City Councilman Michael Julian Bond, have called for changes to the face of the mountain. The changes range from erasing the current sculpture, to adding images of Atlanta Hip Hop duo, Outkast (and a souped-up Cadillac,) or the likenesses of former president, Jimmy Cater, and slain civil rights leader, Martin Luther King. Jr.

On the surface — aside from the inclusion of Outkast and the tricked-out Caddy — these changes might seem like the right thing to do. After all, as the seemingly popular sentiment goes, why should we, black folks and members of other minority groups, continue to be affronted/assaulted by these obvious symbols of a past that held mostly tyranny and oppression for us? Why shouldn’t we wipe the slate clean?

Why not?  Because we can’t. We can’t change history, we can’t change the past. It is what it is, and it has helped make us — all of us — what we are today. Trying to erase it visually, so we don’t see it, is shortsighted. As painful as it might have been for many of us, it happened. But we are able to debate its affects today, and how we should deal with it going forward, because we have overcome it.

It can only hurt us if we continue to allow it to imprison us, continue to let it define us as victims of the intentions of those who meant us harm. But those intentions that once held the power to kill or imprison or beat or legally rape us, have been reduced to mere symbols. Symbols that we should keep around — in their proper places — so that we, and those who wished us harm, can never forget what happened.  That’s one reason why there are Holocaust museums and solemn observances.

Remember the old saw: Those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it?

Stone Mountain Park — by Georgia law — is a living memorial to the Confederacy and the Confederate dead.  A museum.

A museum is where such symbols should be. Not flying atop the State Capitol or in front of any official government building.

There may be some who look to the mountain and its carvings and long for a return to an era when their forefathers believed that white was right, and white supremacy would rule forever. But — I believe — there are many Georgians and others who enjoy the park and see the mountain and its carvings as mere symbols, a measure of just how much we’ve overcome, how far we’ve advanced, and as encouragement that we can keep on overcoming.

And remember, the boys astride those mighty steeds didn’t win.