Hiroshima anniversary a time to consider sanity of our leaders
Nearly 68 years ago an age in human history abruptly ended. At 8:15 a.m. (Japanese time) on Monday, August 6, 1945, military planes flying over Hiroshima dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare.
When the vast mushroom cloud disappeared, four square miles at the heart of the city were destroyed or severely damaged, 66,000 people were killed and 69,000 wounded, over 39 percent of the city's population.
That powerful explosion thrust the nuclear age, along with the frightening realization that unlimited destructive power rests in fallible human hands, upon humanity.
The dilemma in the nuclear age has been: Who will control the unlimited destructive power? In a world in which ruthless dictators of rogue nations regularly issue terroristic threats and a global war of terrorism carried on by a network of fanatical extremists is an ever-present reality, this is a paramount question, for the fate of humankind rests upon it.
In 1951, Homer W. Carpenter wrote, "...in the overall consideration of things, it is the mind of the person who sits at the controls that is of first importance."
As a nation somberly reflects upon the anniversary of that momentous event, it is of primary importance to remember that, with such destructive power available, the world will be safe only as long as sane minds guided by moral restraint are in control.
Fix the tax system
Senator Mitch McConnell visited my workplace a few weeks ago to make some comments and take questions from employees. On tax reform, he expressed a desire to repeat a 1984-style flattening of the income tax code every 25 or 30 years to counter Congress' history of turning such a flat income tax into the 75,000 pages we have today. I questioned him on the logic of repeating this cycle over and over, versus doing away with the income tax in favor of a consumption-based tax system. His response was that we would never get rid of the income tax and occasional reform was the best they could do. Well, senator, I do not vote for anyone who is satisfied with the broken status quo. We need champions in Congress to do the right thing despite the political risks and to explain the hard truth to the American public.
The senator was later questioned about his position on NSA surveillance. He answered that the terrorist incidents avoided so far were justification to continue this program of spying on all Americans. Well, senator, I don't trust the NSA to limit the use of this data to preventing terrorism. You say you oppose big government, but are willing to sit by while big brother attacks my personal liberty?
I, for one, will be shopping around for a new senator next year.
I had to reread the commentary by Patrick Schneider II discussing his "perception" of the "lower bar" our society is setting for ourselves. He mentions that "a once good and godly country has become godless, soft, obese and broken." Apparently, he needs a historical update. Does he want us to return to the godly country that took the land from the Indians, kidnapped men and women from Africa and forced them into slavery or the killing of our brothers during the Civil War? Was our country so "godly" when we forced black men and women to sit in the back of the bus, drink and eat at separate facilities and denied them education? With regard to his statement that he would have rather not given out birth control pills so liberally, he must then be defending the deaths of women in childbirth forced by their religion to do their duty by having children whether wanted or supportable. He must also condone unhappy or unfulfilled marriages passed on to their unhappy children.
The "lower bar" he thinks we are accepting is actually an accurate reflection of our society since we landed here. Every generation since time began thinks that the next generation is going down the toilet. It really is not the toilet, just the fear of change and the selective forgetfulness that happens with each consecutive generation.
Stop the fracking pipeline
Thanks to the Herald-Leader for sharing the important story about the Bluegrass Pipeline. The public should also understand that this pipeline will transport over 400,000 barrels of NGLs (byproducts of fracking) to Louisiana for export to foreign countries where they will be used for things like plastics manufacturing. The pipeline will provide no energy to anyone in the U.S. and it will not create long-term jobs. It will encourage more and more fracking because it will enable better access to foreign markets for NGLs. There is no reason, other than corporate profits, that this pipeline is being proposed. The company's safety record is poor. Recent explosions in West Virginia and Louisiana attest to that. While the company says that pipelines are safer than transport by truck or train, this is not completely accurate. While the rate of accidents for truck and train transport is higher, the volume of NGLs released in any single pipeline incident far surpasses the amount released in a truck or train accident. Clearly, neither means of transport is safe and the public should not be forced to accept either scenario. Learn more about the risks associated with this pipeline at www.stopbluegrasspipeline.us.
Read to Succeed
I recently read a quote from Michelangelo: "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." It reminded me of what I have seen the past 14 years in the Read to Succeed (RTS) program through the Lexington Leadership Foundation.
Volunteers of all races and economic backgrounds have come together weekly in various locations around Lexington to help at-risk children with their reading skills. They see the potential in children and want to help.
I especially want to commend one volunteer who saw the potential in a boy who entered RTS as a first grader. His reading skill was that of a pre-schooler at best, barely recognizing his alphabet. He seemed beyond the help of our program until Pastor Alfred Glasper of Gethsemane Church of the Nazarene committed to helping this young boy read. Now he will enter middle school this fall reading well.
This success is the direct result of the time, attention and perseverance of one man to help a child in need. Gethsemane Church of the Nazarene is one of seven RTS sites scheduled for the fall. Each is involved in this same life-changing work.
Every child in Lexington, regardless of economic background, matters to our city and each one has great potential in life. Let me encourage you to get involved with RTS or another program in Lexington which helps meet our children's needs.
For more information about RTS call 859-277-3087 or go to: www.lexlf.org/Read-to-Succeed