I started to write a blog last week about watching all the different issues in the world changing. They were issues from some Supreme Court rulings and the news was full of everything from shark bites to shootings in North Carolina. When I watch the news I am amazed at all the different topics and situations that are reported on. Usually I start the day by watching the news on the television and then I go to my computer or my I Pad and review some more stories. Sometimes even though it’s not déjà vu, I feel like I’m reading the same story that ran some decades ago. The world is so large and diverse yet seems to become small and repetitive at the same time. I know that I cannot change the events that may happen in China or North Carolina. So I try to focus on my small world.
I’m currently having some construction done on my house. This means that there are a lot of workers, at my home. There seems to be a different personality for each crew that works on the house. One of the first people that I met included an operator of a large backhoe type machine. He was a young Caucasian man who worked with the machine like an artist carving a sculpture. He was not only skilled at operating the machinery, but he was a very confident man without really being cocky. He relayed to me about his life’s journey and how he learned to operate a large machine. He had been to New York, California and many other states when operating the machine. His view of life was; that if a person worked really hard they could be successful, but they must be wary of the really wealthy people. He had been taken advantage of several times, especially in the big cities, so he has decided to come back to the country to work. As I listen to him while he spoke about those that are wealthy who use those are not, I reflected back to the last two depressions that the United States has experienced. It was the same story of the haves and have-nots.
The next person that I met was a Hispanic stonemason. When he arrived at my house I went to greet him and asked him his name. He stated that his name was George. I replied is George or Jorge? He replied that it was Jorge, but he used the name George because many of the people that he works for here in the United States did not like Mexicans. He said he found it easier just to take an assumed name so he did not experience as much prejudiced as when he used his real name. I smiled at him and said that I would call him Jorge and that I thought he should be proud of his heritage. He stated he was proud of his heritage but he needed to work to provide for his wife and two daughters. While he was at my house he worked very hard and long hours and did an amazing job. His story reminded me of a man called George Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell died recently; I think he was in his late 80s. He was a billionaire visionary who came to this country from Greece. When he got to this country he was working as a laborer. He also found a great deal of prejudiced directed towards him because he came from Greece. The foreman of the job didn’t really care to learn how to speak or pronounce his name and so Mr. Mitchell started using the foreman’s name of George Mitchell.
I also reflected about all the prejudiced that was experienced by the immigrants from many other countries including; Italy, Ireland, Poland and China. These immigrants became the foundation of the American population. They also worked hard labor jobs and found little respect. But they stayed and they adjusted and they prevailed. I think the fact that I lived in large city for such a long time that I just took it for granted that everybody seemed so accepted in America and that there were very few people who were still so prejudiced. But I think today just like 200 years ago there is still a large part of this country that is prejudice. And so I have to admire the men and women who experience the abuse but still keep fighting for that American dream.
Another one of the work crews had to make several visits to the house to complete the job. On one of those visits there was a Hispanic man in his 40s, who spoke very little English, but worked hard each time he was at the job site. On the last visit to my house that man brought his 16-year-old son with him to work. Like many Hispanic families in the United States, the young man seemed respectful to his father and he worked hard while at the site. He had been educated in the United States and he spoke both Spanish and English. What was very apparent to me was that he was learning from his father. This story is told over and over of a father teaching his son the skills that the father has. It was good to see both the father and the son proudly working together.
There were two cement truck drivers that arrived to pour the cement. One of them was an experienced driver and the other was on his first week at the job. The experienced driver continually complained about the inexperience and inaccuracy of the new driver. As he complained to me about the new driver I reminded the driver that we all start somewhere. We are all rookies at one point in our job and we all made mistakes along the way. This experienced driver found it hard to have the patience with the new driver. This reminded me of my own experience on the Police Department. Everyone is a rookie at some point in their life. And it is hard for those of us who have the experience to have the patience to teach our skills to the next generation.
Speaking of the police, one of the workers had a lot of complaints about his experience with police. He went on to explain that all police were corrupt nowadays. His thought was that the police have gone from being viewed as good guys to bad guys in just the last 10 years. My first response to his statements was that I wanted to rebut any negative views of police. But then I thought back about the police in the 1900s. And I remember reading newspaper report’s articles about how corrupt the police were how brutal they were. Both his and the reporters views back in the early 1900s are not completely right and not completely false.
I mention all of this because as much is it seems like the world’s problems are changing, I feel that they remain the same. There are good people and bad people, good deeds and bad deeds, all of which are decided as good or bad by the person telling the story.
In my small world I am always amazed on how history repeats itself. The haves and the have nots still continue to battle each other. A person’s (his or hers) nationality, race, religion still invoke different reactions from different people. There are still acts of extreme prejudiced and of extreme kindness happening every day. I have chosen to isolate myself from most of that action. But in the last two weeks while I’ve had work done on my house I find those same issues and problems visiting my doorstep.
As much as everything seems to be changing things remain the same.