Friday, January 23, 2009

Hope? Even for a Novelist...ahh Skeptic? by Robert W.Walker

I don't as a rule get into politics here or in argument with friends, and this is not meant to be either political or an argument but just an observation.

Sometime back before the OJ Simposon trial of the Century as they called it, OJ's first brush with the law--I felt that the verditct and the trial itself tore asunder what progress we in America had been forging in race relations; I meant it ripped it right up and I felt set race relations back by at least forty or fifty years -- right down the toilet. No matter where you stood on the outcome or the verdict, you could not ignore the poor result for the "fabric" of our society during that time.

As I watched the new president's Inagural speech, and as I watched the amazing crowd, not only for its size but for its sense of respect for the occasion and one another (I understand not one crime or fistfight broke out), I was struck by the atmosphere of comraderie and caring that people exhibited. Mr. Obabma's words were inspiring but so was the sight -- spectacle -- of so many people on the Capitol Mall in good spirits and filled with a sense of hope and purpose amid so much to be depressed about! Years ago my son naively said to me that one day all mankind would reach a "state of grace" with one another where differences would be celebrated and honored; where sexual orientation, color of skin, religion, alllllll of it would be celebrated and approved by all as proper and all right, and that you don't have any reason for the kidns of awful divisions among us that create war and pestilence and ignorance and disease and all the suffering that comes with the kind of thinking that is wrapped in hatred for hatred's sake.

I quietly kept my laughter to myself about my son's naive dream of such a day. I did tell him that ignorance would always be with us, fear would always reside within us, because while there is evolution there is also what appears to be de-evolution, which we see every day in the news coming out of every part of the world. Sadly, I see it at the local grocery store where I live as well; it doesn't just appear out of the Middle East or the Gaza Strip or North Korea.

It can come from down the street where an 8 year old shoots his 2 year old brother with a huge shotgun in the home, one that was hidden under a mattress and unloaded in a home not fit for a dog to live in given the conditions. Mom and Dad went out to buy cigarettes, left kids in hands of grandpa. Result 2 year old is dead. Family services now take a thrid child out of the home and the shooter is in custody.

Sadly this scene is not rare in American life. Ignorance, stupidity, injustice, prejudice are all my enemy and as a writer these are the walls I want to tear down, Mr. Obama. It was wonderful to see the kind of hope and unconditional trust so many Americans placed in our president just the other day, and maybe my son is right--that the real design is for all mankind to one day appeal to one another on the basis that we are all worthy of one another's hand and heart.

I remain skeptical because, after all, I am a writer and have read too much history of crime and found that the history of mankind is a crime in and of itself. However, we all of us need hope and we want it, even the skeptics among us.

Shalom and Happy Writing my Brother & Sister Writers

Rob Walker - free eARC of DEAD ON awaits you at
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Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, it is hard to hope these days, but thinking of the alternative is not pleasant.

Morgan Mandel

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Rob - you don't fool me. You may be a skeptic, but you're a hopeful soul.

And there is not one word in your piece about Aretha's hat! You devil.


Gayle Carline said...

Rob - I'd oh-so love to be the optimist your son is, but of course I have 50+ years of life to temper my hopes with reality. Still, I remember the strides we've made forward. Being in an interracial marriage has given me an interesting perspective on it all. Although my blog is usually reserved for talking about writing, I did have to address the inauguration and what it meant to me. You can read it here:

Let's keep your son's hopes growing!

Lesa said...

Interesting comment, Rob, about history of mankind is a crime. Louise Penny's latest book, A Rule Against Murder, included the comment by a sculptor that God is a serial killer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for you comments, everyone!
I am not so sure I could put the onus of mankind's stupidity and terror mongering on God as I believe it is in us (our stars) and we have choice in this life. I could have become a criminal rather than write about crime; could have become an alcoholic like so many of my forefathers (runs in the family), but I chose other directions. Those we hear about now creating hate crimes also make choices--horrible ones but there you have it. Do we blamed God for the birth of a neo-Nazi or for Hitler? Do we blame outside forces as reason to kill? and take life so lightly? Sad but it seems with each step forward, we have those among us who back-slide three.
thanks again for coming by ACME --
Rob Walker