Many of you who have read my blog, “Been Franklin,” over the past few years have certainly formed various opinions about me and my character. Some have called me a racist, others just a monumental asshole. And other epilets to numerous to mention. Based on what I have written in the past, you could be right. I am not, however, writing this to defend my whiteness. I am white, or as white as my skin tone makes me unless I get into the sun for any length of time. I have to admit that it does a pretty good job of hiding my Native American Heritage. Which by the way is real, but has never been used to advance myself or my family, and is based upon a family history only two generations removed.
Also, I am not anti- LGBT, or whatever the anacronym being used these days. It changes so often it’s hard to keep up. I have a Half- brother who is Gay and a Half-sister who is Trans. I don’t know my brother all that well, but I understand he’s a fine fellow and quite happy with his lifestyle. My sister, on the other hand, is a pain in the ass. Not because she’s Trans, but because she just a pain in the ass. I also have two other sisters. One is a half-sister, and the other is my natural sister. My half-sister is a mother, and also quite an accomplished woman. My natural sister is a California Lawyer (need I say more?). I haven’t talked to her since the death of our father and mother. I wish her the best and have developed a genuine understanding of the Jewish Rabbi’s blessing, “May God bless her and keep her . . . far away from me. Needless to say, my family is not typical of the American Family, but hey, it’s mine.
I’m sure that some of you reading this are already asking; If you’re not defending your whiteness, what are you doing?
A reasonable question, I suppose, with a slightly complicated answer. Now that I am on the downward slide toward seventy, with piss poor health. I and running the daily risk of dropping with either a brain aneurism, a stroke, COPD, and a host of other possible ailments, I’ve been forced to reflect upon myself and the things that I have said and done over the years. Am I sorry for saying them? Not one damned bit. Am I selling out to the zanies that are suddenly cropping up all over the country to destroy homes and businesses that people have spent years building? Many of them being people of color. The very people they say they are protesting for. No, I’m not. I am, however, astounded that those government bodies that were elected by the ordinary people are copping out and giving in to these morons whose only purpose seems to be nothing more than to create utter chaos. And this scares me.
You see, I grew up in a time when on Saturdays you could go to the local theater and get in for a dime, and then spend a quarter for a drink and the biggest Dill Pickle you ever saw. If you were careful, the drink and pickle would last you through three coming attractions, two cartoons, a serial (usually a western or Flash Gordon), and a feature film. When mom’s and dad’s allowed you to skin your knees or get banged up because you were doing something stupid. When our heroes were John Wayne, Hopalong Cassidy, Sky King, or Flash Gordon. We were allowed to run around the neighborhood until the street lights came on. Which was usually around 8:30 or 9 during the summer. We, and our parents, weren’t afraid of child molesters, predators, and every kind of evil there is. I suppose it was there, but as a nation, we generally were unaware of it. It was a time when you could walk away from your home and not have to worry about someone breaking in and stealing everything. Every parent in the neighborhood knew which kid belonged to who and where they were at. Then the world changed.
The Vietnam War came, and those of us who were kids were suddenly thrust into carnage and the realization that America was no longer the Shining Beacon of Peace and Freedom on the hill. For those of us who returned, we returned to a country that spat on us, called us murderers and baby killers to the point where we were unwilling to admit that we had served our nation. Then years later, when the public’s attitude and thoughts changed when their children served at a time when America was attacked, they began thanking us for our service. So much so, that after a while, the thanks became meaningless, and we wondered why they bothered at all. During all of this, we attempted to make lives for ourselves. Move forward, have our own families and kids, only to find out that everything we did to raise our own children was all wrong. Most of us adapted, many didn’t, many came back broken suffering from PTSD or some other kind of mental disorder. Some committed suicide, many ended up homeless. But the one thing we all knew was that no one truly understood.
As time passed, we, the kids, started to take another, more serious look at America. What we realized was this, despite its failings, and the many pimples that pockmarked its history. There was the Civil War, which brought an end to the institution of slavery, Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights movement, which changed the Jim Crow laws and brought about a peaceful integration of Blacks and Whites. Desegregation, equal education, and the ability for people of color to change their lives for the better, instead of being forced to sit at the back of the bus or drink from different water fountains, and eat at black only establishments, interracial marriage. All of it was change, painful and frightening, but change, never the less.
As for me, I’m old enough now to appreciate how my grandfather and father felt as they grew older in a world that had become unfamiliar to them. I have watched as those Freedoms and Rights that were guaranteed us in the Constitution are very quickly evaporating like a puddle in the hot desert sun. I watch as people are ridiculed for speaking their minds or are forcibly attacked for even attempting to. Tech companies banning comments that they don’t agree with to include a President, who, in my opinion, shouldn’t even be using them to govern a nation.
I am afraid that when I do finally cash in my chips, my children and grandchildren will be forced to live in a nation that stupid people have taken control of, forcing them to live in fear. I am afraid that they will be forced to live in a country where murder and perversity are the order of the day, and law enforcement no longer exists to protect them. Yes, there are corrupt cops, and things need to change, but the good cops outnumber the bad ones, and they’d be the first to tell you that things need to change. But a nation with no law is a nation no longer, and someone needs to stand up and put a stop to all of this.
My biggest fear of all is knowing that when I do die, I will never know the future of this great nation or if it survives.