America more like salad bowl than melting pot
To the editor:
On a picturesque spring day in April, one couldn't help but absorb the wonders of nature produced by our Creator: the warmth of the sun upon one's skin, regardless of its color; birds of various varieties playing and harmonizing as one; and children of different nationalities playing together at the park with one sole purpose in mind, to have fun and enjoy their moments together.
Many thoughts ran through my mind as I watched my biracial granddaughter interact with the other children. As I observed them playing, laughing, hugging and tending to each other, I thought how much of a better world this would be if, as so-called civilized adults, we would learn from our progeny. They even broke bread together as they shared their lunches.
Later that day, I decided to walk to the grocery store to purchase some fresh vegetables to complement the rainbow trout that my biracial stepson, his Hispanic friend and my African-American self caught the previous day. I couldn't help but notice that despite the diversity of the fishermen that day, we all shared some degree of camaraderie, civility and kinship. The way the fish were biting, they didn't discriminate either, and we all enjoyed a provision from our Creator.
As I proceeded toward my home, I noticed a rolled-up circular on the ground with the words "Save Our Race" in bold print. As I continued to walk, I noticed another circular a few paces away. This time, I picked it up with the hope of it being a biblical tract about saving "Our Race," as in the human race. Instead, to my dismal surprise it was literature provided and distributed by "Virgil's White Knights of the KKK."
As my granddaughter and I watch television, I see her absorbing as much as her young mind is able to take in. I pray that her mind doesn't become impaired and her vision isn't narrowed by the likes of Virgil and his followers. I have vowed to instill in her to view the world and people for whom they are, to judge people for the content of their character and not for the color of their skin.
It's disturbing that such hatred exists in 2011, when we have a commander in chief who is biracial, and when this country of ours has young men and women of all colors willing to pay the ultimate price to give "Americans" the right to freedom of speech — even if that speech promotes hate and division among those of us who strive to experience and live as "One nation under God with liberty and justice for all."
Some say that America is the great melting pot. Personally, I like to think of it as a salad bowl. As with a salad, you take several different ingredients, the more the better. Although each ingredient exudes and maintains its own identity and flavor, combined with everything else, it tastes great.
Responsibility for sidewalks should lie with city
To the editor:
Here we go again. City council members are starting up the old issue of sidewalks; who's responsible to replace them, how to enforce it. I, as a property owner in the City of Hagerstown, get very upset and frustrated every time this issue comes up. I'm not sure who the brilliant soul was, or is, who decided that property owners should be responsible. That person doesn't have a lick of common sense.
The sidewalks are open to the public, are there for the convenience of all residents. I feel that it's time for the city to use our property taxes to pay for these sidewalks. Please understand I'm not suggesting they raise taxes, but cut where they need and utilize the staff they have. I pay more than $3,000 a year between county and city taxes. I have lead paint fees, insurance, two mortgages, rental license fees and credit card bills (used for upgrades mandated by the city), plus I try to always donate to charities.
When is enough enough? If I am forced to replace my not-so-pretty but functional sidewalks, it will force me into bankruptcy and foreclosure. I will have no choice but to walk away. The city will have two more empty buildings and five families will be homeless, including mine.
So often, it seems like these people are living on another planet. We are in a recession; gas costs nearly $4 a gallon; I haven't worked a job in a year and a half; and the future looks bleak at best. It's all I can do just to keep the bills paid. I'm sure lots of people have the same situation, and I think we need to get the city to understand — not now, not ever.