Franke: I’ve Had Enough Negativity
by Mark Franke
I am sick and tired of all the negativity, the vitriol, the hatred, the divisiveness, the assault on everything I believe in.
Having said that, I now feel much better. And I will make my small contribution to helping others like me feel positive, encouraged, optimistic and thankful to be Americans.
Sure, no matter what I write here will do nothing to cancel the Cancel Culture movement or find a cure for COVID-19. But maybe, just maybe, I can redirect people’s obsession away from the 24-hour news cycle which exists only to enrage people.
Let’s start with the pandemic. How many people do you know personally who have been diagnosed with the disease? In my case it is just one, a niece who works as a hospital nurse. She tested positive early in the pandemic and is fine now.
After 45 years of being associated with higher education as a student and administrator, I now have the privilege of being a volunteer at an elementary school. We started back up with most of our students in attendance. The students are thankful they finally are back to school with their friends. Two of my grandchildren attend this school so I have an “eye-witness report” on how happy the children are.
I also have the privilege of serving on the board of a faith-based health clinic. We provide free services and prescriptions to poor, uninsured residents of our area. We exist solely on private donations, no insurance or federal funds, and our donors have continued to support us generously during the pandemic. The name of the clinic is Matthew 25, which explains not only what we do but why we do it.
Let me shift now to the Cancel Culture mob and its platform of violent destruction. Fortunately, it can’t gain much traction here in northeast Indiana, but one should not place unqualified confidence in the leadership of any community to do the right thing when the pressure is on. We had a close call in my hometown, named for a Revolutionary War general unable to project what thought-police puritans two hundred plus years hence would think. There was talk, but only talk, of removing his statue from downtown.
The flag still flies from homes and businesses as I drive through my city, the flag of choice being the Red, White and Blue, and I even see the Thin Blue Line variation that honors our police.
Another of my volunteer roles is to serve as a local, district and state officer of the Sons of the American Legion (SAL). I qualify for membership because my father served in the Navy and was in the second wave on D-Day. Allow me to quote several phrases from the preamble to the SAL constitution, which we recite at every meeting:
- To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America
- To foster and uphold a true spirit of Americanism
- To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses
- To make right the master of might
- To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy
There are more but you get the point. Our fathers fought for these principles and too many died for them. We Sons perform community service by hosting Boys State, doing flag protocol instruction in schools and assisting with the American Legion’s oratorical contest in which high school students present speeches on the Constitution. I was privileged to serve as a judge at the national oratorical finals, coming away impressed with these young people who understand why and how America is what it is.
I am sure the woke generation will point to the number of times I used the word “privilege” in this column. I plead guilty. I am privileged and it has nothing to do with my skin color. If a German shell had hit my dad’s LST on June 6, 1944, I wouldn’t be writing this column now. In fact, I am writing it in an American Legion post, surrounded by veterans and those of us who support them. Don’t try to cancel their culture; they risked their lives to preserve it.
Too many people make a career out of screaming what is wrong with America. I’m not one of them. We’re not perfect but try to identify a nation that is.
There is a Chinese proverb that goes, ”It is better to light one little candle than to curse the darkness.” I hope I have done that today.
Mark Franke, an adjunct scholar and of the Indiana Policy Review and its book reviewer, is formerly an associate vice-chancellor at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.