Letter to the Editor: A calm election outcome is possible

We are two native-born historians from Delaware. Over lunch, as longtime friends with different skin colors, we thought we would like to give our opinion to those folks who are living in our country — to take a deep breath — before reacting further to the frenzy which is surrounding us concerning this election season. We are not speaking as Democrats or Republicans, black or white, Latino or Asian. We are endorsing “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” for everyone.

After 9-11, we are living in a World War III setting, where we have lost our sense of security and innocence. It is a new world filled with terrorism and anger. Burning neighborhoods, shooting and stabbing people and stealing private property do not solve the problems, but only create heartaches for people in this country.

People should know the history of this country and understand the process of how we arrived to become considered the greatest country on earth. We must understand what has happened to advance and/or curtail the progress of some groups of our people. Otherwise, we will repeat the injustices.

“A generation who ignores history has no past and no future.” – Robert Heinlein

In many instances, our educational system has promoted historical revisionism, illiteracy and historical amnesia, which undermines the value of American citizenship.

It is possible to change the attitude of the people around us, if we think first before speaking. We can say that we don’t always agree, but we need to learn how to get along, even if we don’t agree — except concerning life-and-death matters. Please realize that we can’t change everything the way we would like it to be, unless we become active voters and reasonable and caring neighbors.

One person can make a difference. One man was mentioned at lunch, that the other of us had not heard of — Julius Rosenwald, a wealthy Jewish man, who was one-time part owner and president of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and trustee of The Tuskegee Institute. His Rosenwald Fund, encouraged by Booker T. Washington, donated more than $4 million in matching funds, to build 5,000 schools for African American children in the rural South in the first half of the 20th century!

We should each strive to be a contributor to our own family and the families surrounding us. If not, and by acting selfishly before thinking, we will be a drag on the quality of life in America.

Although this election season has been tumultuous, let us remember the wonderful idea presented by President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

We close with the timeless words of Frederick Douglass, a former slave (who had escaped in 1838), who was an orator and statesman, and who served in the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. This is the motto as it appeared in Douglass’ weekly publication, “The North Star”:

“Right is of no sex,

Truth is of no color,

God is the Father of us all and we are all brethren.”

Kay Wood Bailey
Historian
Wyoming

Syl Woolford
Historian
Newark

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