After our annual family reunion at the Oregon Country Fair last week, my wife and I had a chance to spend some quality alone time with our almost eight-year-old grandson. Friends allowed us to use their mountain cabin in the Cascade mountains near Sisters, Oregon; snuggled amidst tall pines, snow covered peaks, and crystal-clear mountain streams, it was spectacular. On the rear deck was a hot tub in which we soaked in the cool early morning chill and under the sparkling night sky.  My grandson showed me how to shoot a BB gun, and I showed him how to cast a fly line; we kayaked, fished, swam, and stalked deer.

I hadn’t read a newspaper or watched TV in over a week, but the Black Butte general store had a copy of the previous day’s New York Times… I thought how wonderful to welcome tomorrow morning with the paper. The front page featured news about: a deranged man who opened fire in downtown Dallas killing five police officers; the bleak state of race relations in America; and Donald Trump’s mobilization of a disaffected, largely white audience, who were fed up with their powerlessness, and bringing them together by promoting racism disguised as ultra-nationalism. This escalating, divisive rhetoric in this Country is posing potential violence.

Cleveland, Ohio is now hosting the Republican National Convention. Ohio has a lenient, open-carry gun law, that a number of groups plan to exploit by flaunting their military assault rifles in the name of protecting gun rights and free speech.

These times concern me and by the time I finished the paper I was sick to my stomach. I trashed the paper and thought how stupid to choose to escape from this pristine fairyland to such demoralizing rancor. Instead of arming ourselves with weaponry, we need to be arming ourselves morally. We are all Americans, let’s make decisions based on what’s good for most of us, the common good, and come together in ways that reinforce our precious rights and freedoms.

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