Notes from around the Human Experience…
NO, I GUESS WE CAN’T ALL JUST GET ALONG: Few, if any, throughout human history have lived in racial harmony. As a species, we have always distrusted those different from us and history is generally one long litany of intolerance and hatred, from crusades to slavery to this past Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
And as long as humans that are different from each other insist on living together, we never will. Suspicion and even hatred of those different than us are too ingrained in the human psyche. It’s the way the world is built.
Well, Aren’t We Little Miss Mary Sunshine Today: But we can do better than this. We can do better than witless gatherings promoting white supremacy and we can do better than driving cars into throngs of people.
Dry, Technical Matter: You would have thought that 150 years after the Civil War that we would have made more progress than this. You would have thought the KKK and its descendants would have disappeared. You might have thought that both black and white lives matter rallies would be unnecessary. You might think we would have evolved to the point where we realized all lives matter, that everyone being allowed to get the most of their lives is required to make our collective human experience work.
You would be wrong. We haven’t. Not even close.
Let’s Try This: Here are a couple of things we can do to help our country out. They’re small things, but if 320 million Americans did them, the results would be stunning.
Leading Off: First, let’s stop hyphenating our American identity.
We have some modest experience here. We have Mexican, English and German blood, and have relatives who are, among other things, Jewish, Indian and Cuban, which nicely countered my all-white Lutheran church. No one in our family thought of as anything other than American. We won’t truly have an America until we are all Americans with no hyphens.
And In This Corner: Here is something else we can do:
Stop paying attention to racists and hate groups!
There are so few true racists out there that in a country of 320 million people their numbers are statistically insignificant. A few thousand at most. By paying attention to them we are issuing them the relevance, attention and legitimacy they are looking for but are not entitled to. If we stop pestering them at their rallies there will be nobody there but them and eventually they will stop getting together.
Some Philosophy Crap: Friends, we rise as a country and we fall as a country. When we make people settle for a hyphenated identity what we are really saying is they are less American than others.
Fly In The Ointment: This is wrong. We are telling them they are second class citizens. When we tell others they are second class citizens we are telling ourselves we are second class citizens. And friends, when we do that we herald to the world America is a second rate country.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! One of mankind’s great treasures, the Sistine Chapel, is consecrated with its first mass on this date in 1483. Commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV in 1473, it is the second chapel to stand on the site. Michelangelo began painting the ceiling – one of mankind’s landmark achievements – in 1508.
Get Out Your Record Books: Guy Hecker, playing for the Louisville Colonels of the American Association has one the great hitting days in major league history on this date in 1886 when he establishes or ties eight major league records.
Hecker’s seven runs, six hits and 15 total bases were new records and his three home runs tied the existing mark. Since Hecker was the starting pitcher these were, and remain, records for pitchers, too, though Jim Tobin of the Philadelphia Phillies would tie the home run mark in 1942.
Batter Up: Five of these records still stand: most runs in a game by anybody and most runs, hits, total bases and home runs in a game by a pitcher. For a player to have a similar day today he would have to have eight hits, eight runs, four home runs and 20 total bases.
Yeah, We Were All Wondering About This Gaylon: The seven runs in a game is not on our list of records that will never be broken, but we are not holding our breath someone will ever score eight.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: Louisville, playing at home, defeated the Baltimore Orioles 22-5 after winning the opening game 13-6. With the wins, Louisville moves to 10 games behind the idle St Louis Browns.
Oh Yeah: Hecker is one of the most versatile players in major league history. He won the American Association batting title that year (.341) and is the only player ever to win both a batting title and an ERA, leading the AA wth a 1.80 ERA in 1884.
“I Was Fed Up…I Was Finished”: American soldier James Joseph Dresnok defects to North Korea on this date in 1962. Facing a court-martial for forgery and being AWOL, Dresnok ran across the Demilitarized Zone where he was immediately arrested. Though he once tried and failed to seek asylum at the Soviet Embassy in hopes of returning home, he eventually married and raised a family in North Korea.
Dresnok is believed to have died last year, though this has not been confirmed by anyone in a position to know for sure.
Quotebook: I work harder than anyone who has ever lived. I am not well and worn out with this stupendous labor, and yet I am patient to achieve the desired end. – Michelangelo, Letter to brother while painting Sistine Chapel
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The United States stopped quarantining astronauts returning from the moon following Apollo 14.
Today’s Stumper: Which pope commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – Answer next time!