Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good Ol' Boys and a Girl Next Door

Good Ol' Boys and a Girl Next Door

I walked into my office today and found a large Ziploc freezer bag full of books on my desk. The fist question that came to my mind was, "Who the hell put guided readers on my desk?" followed by, "Why?" Turns out they were not guided readers at all, but books that I had recently requested a friend to get for me. See why I shouldn't be so quick to judge? America's sweetheart and favourite girl next door gave the best advice when she sang in 1958: Don't jump, jump to conclusions. I am eager to become acquainted with the new editions to the stack of books on my coffee table which are patiently waiting to be cuddled with and devoured on the sofa, in the recliner, in public, on the floor and in the bed. My new crushes are

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool,

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,

Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge.

I have another excerpt to share from the book I'm reading now, They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. The idea of the KKK alone disturbs me. Where I grew up, the Klan were part of the local mythology. I remember Heath and Daniel, merely boys at the time, dressing up as Klansmen one Halloween and roaming the streets of White City trick-or-treating. Graffiti under the drawbridge, besides informing the world about how good Debbie Dunnigan was, illustrated the esteem at which the community's youth held the idea of the Ku Klux Klan. But I digress, my excerpt for today is:
Today, psychologists explain that people who join groups such as the Ku Klux Klan are insecure and feel a need to belong to something that makes them feel powerful and superior. Perhaps W.E.B. Du Bois, historian and civil rights leader, understood Klansmen best: "These human beings at heart are desperately afraid of something," explained Du Bois. "Of what? Of many things, but usually of losing their jobs, being declassed, degraded, or actually disgraced; of losing their hopes, their savings, their plans for their children; of the actual pangs of hunger, of dirt of crime."
Sound like any group of people you know? I'm afraid of comparing any group to the KKK because I think that my judgement may be too harsh. However, Du Bois' assertion does seem to describe the motivation of many current-day groups. Some groups (good ol' boys) within political and government organisations automatically come to mind, as do the recently-booted-out-of-power dictators and their cronies. People use fear, intimidation and force to cling to power because they fear the loss that might happen next.

Now to cleanse ourselves of the negativity which comes from even mentioning hate groups, corrupt leaders and the like, our sweetheart, Annette.

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