I will admit to you right up front that I really struggled to think of what to write in today’s post. It’s Pearl Harbor Day, of course; today marks the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that resulted in the deaths of 2400 Americans and the United States being thrust into World War II. It marks the shift in my own family history as my parents, who already had children, eventually were drawn into that same war when my father went into the Navy and served aboard a mine sweeper.
All of this happened before I was born. And as I read about Pearl Harbor over the past few days, I thought about where our country is now, what shatters our imagined peace and what we do to fight back.
Is the world a better place than it was at the dawn of World War II? Yes, there have been advances that help people: medicine, technology, exploration. As human beings, though, we don’t seem to be anymore peaceful or willing to understand different philosophies or political ideas than at any other time in history. The United States, in particular, clings to ideas about arming our citizens that haven’t proven helpful but certainly have allowed the proliferation of firearms in a way that helped place our country as the record-holders among western industrial nations for death by gunfire. The chasm between western nations and Islam gets wider and deeper every day. Here at home in Minnesota, Black Lives Matter has been active trying to reconcile the experiences of African Americans with what police departments and the media offer as truth. There is friction everywhere.
And I am sitting here in front of my computer trying to drown all of it out for just a minute with holiday music.
While the world continues to be in a mess, and while we think of our own losses from earlier times, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to listen to holiday music and clear our minds before the new year. Because we have a lot of work to do in 2016. Like John Lennon once sang, “And so this is Christmas and what have you done?”
Have a listen.