Happy Fourth?

Usually, in July, everyone is gearing up for the festivities: parades, cookouts, pool parties, fireworks, and vacations. However, there’s nothing usual about 2020.

In these murky times, it is impossible to forecast almost anything. Well, maybe the weather. The summer heat will be blistering. The embers of 5/25/20 will remain hot.

For baby boomers who witnessed the Watt riots in ’65, assassinations of President John F. Kennedy in ’63, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy in ’68, there is a sense of déjà vu.

The police brutality in Mayor Richard Daley’s Chicago during the ’68 Democratic convention remains vivid. After Dr. King was slain in Memphis, the National Guard rolled down the boulevards, and tanks surrounded my Nashville campus for a lockdown. Nearby campuses saw buildings torched in rage.

We must and somehow survive the election of 2020, or we will need to find a national slogan other than E Pluribus Unum.

The Civil Rights movement, the student revolutions, the antiwar movement lumped together to create the radical ’60s. Then came hippies, dope, bringing the troops out of ‘Nam, and the music of Woodstock.

The boomers graduated and started families. The world changed again.

The turbulent ’60s did not play out against the backdrop of a paralyzing worldwide pandemic, against a crashed economy, and all in a high-tech world.

This presidential election looks like one of the most polarizing in history.

Has nothing changed? It has. Unheard of in the ’60s, mixed marriages and multi-colored families are now everywhere. Black men and women are at every level of government and business, and some exist at the highest level of wealth in America.

Still, that there is great disparity in all of America remains a fact.

Now what? Can we plan for school, holidays, travel, sporting events? It’s hard to find terra firma. People feel anxious, depressed, frightened, weird.

What can we do?

Grieve. For lost childhoods, for Black men with targets on their backs, for unseen viruses.

Insist on weeding out filthy cops who soil the vital majority of good ones.

We must inoculate ourselves against brutality and racism, and extremism and polarity. We must find an inoculation from COVID-19.

Can we find our way back to patriotism this Fourth of July?

We must and somehow survive the election of 2020, or we will need to find a national slogan other than E Pluribus Unum.

For nearly 40 years, People Newspapers has worked tirelessly to tell the stories—good, bad, and sublime—of our neighbors in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. To support our efforts, please contact [email protected] for advertising opportunities. Please also consider sharing this story with your friends and social media followers.

Len Bourland

The views expressed by columnist Len Bourland are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of People Newspapers. Email Len at [email protected]

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