When will we ever learn?

“…..it feels like we’re on the Eve of Destruction” …words from a song sung by Barry McGuire many decades past when I was a teenager.

This song just keeps replaying in my head each time another incident like this plays out in our country. 

I wonder when it will stop being an “us versus them” America. I am sad it is still happening in today because it feels like “we” are regressing. Another generation wanting to prove there is still racial inequality in a country where there is no room for tolerance-still.

The other words replaying in my head are from President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. I have copied it in its entirety because it is good to review historical documents in my humble opinion. The occasion was the dedication of Gettysburg National Cemetery in November 1863, the scene of the worst loss of life on American soil during the Civil War in the first days of July 1863. Union casualties in the battle numbered 23,000, while the Confederates had lost some 28,000 men. It set the stage for the end of the long bloody war of the Union vs. the Confederacy in the United States.

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth”

Now, it is 2016 and I am no longer a teenager, instead approaching the end of my 60th decade, and I am writing after listening deep into the night about a peaceful demonstration gone awry in Texas, citizenry protesting, as is their right to do so, some Police officers killing black citizens in both Louisiana and Minnesota. It  still has to do with racial inequality…Police vs. angry citizens erupted into a gunfight played out on the streets of Dallas, just three hours north of where I live. Now there are more dead…

These latest incidents touch me to my very core. “When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?” those words from a Pete Seeger song, also from my teenage years and still relevant today.


© Nancilynn

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