The View from My Place: Sticks and stones will break my bones – Bennington Banner


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Sticks and Stones may break my bonesBut your words will never hurt me — Alexander William Kinglake, 1830Everywhere I go I hear it saidIn the good and bad books that I have readSay the word and you’ll be freeSay the word and be like meSay the word I’m thinking ofHave you heard the word is love? — The BeatlesBy the time you read this Russia’s Vladimir Putin may very well have given the order to conquer Ukraine. Should this severe act of aggression begin, it will be the second time this megalomaniac has invaded another country. The day will come when the rest of the world will need to deal with this small, selfish, insecure little man.While our nation, and the world, is on high alert over the prospects of another global conflict, the radical right of our nation is all riled over words. In my previous column I addressed their latest campaign to ban books in our schools and libraries. Their actions beg the question: “What are they afraid of?”We’re talking about words on paper. Words on paper are now the newest concern that some want to use to continue to further divide our country. In the past, abortion was used to keep us at each other’s throats, but it appears now that the Supreme is going to resolve that issue for the worse. Once the court has overruled Roe v Wade what will the radical right have left to divide us? Words. Words are their newest faux concern to be used as a vehicle of hate and division.There’s an interesting meme floating around that reads: “The people who threw rocks at Ruby Bridges for trying to go to school are now upset that their grandchildren might learn about them throwing rocks at Ruby Bridges for trying to go to school.”Just this week the governor of Florida indicated that he would support a bill that would prohibit teachers from talking about gender identity. It quickly became known as the “don’t say gay” bill.Americans have always seen themselves as tough, freedom loving, independent and fearless people, but now those who profess to be concerned about “cancel culture” are terrified of words. The teaching of Critical Race Theory has many insecure folks freaking out that our true history might be taught to our children versus the whitewashed version we’ve been taught for generations. CRT, as it’s become known, is not taught in schools K-12. It could be taught at the college level, but we won’t let facts get in the way of the new mantra.Yes, what a terrible thing it would be to teach our kids about our real history. Heaven forbid that kids should be taught how America was built with slave labor. How alarming it would be if students learned that the European explorers who landed here slaughtered the natives who were here first. It’s inconceivable that the truth of the brutal murder of Native Americans by white settlers, who were the invaders, be taught in our schools.The day comes in every child’s life when they learn that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are fictitious. They find out on their own, just like, if they have inquisitive minds, they will learn the truth of the birth of our nation, how our nation came into being, how, for their own benefit, white people enslaved Black people and how slavery impacts our lives today.Have you ever stopped to wonder how and why these divisive issues come into our lives? It’s no secret that a divided population is easier to control and manipulate than a unified one. Consider what would happen if ALL Americans came together to talk about who is actually running the country and what their agenda might be. The more people can be distracted with words, with race, with religion, abortion and just about anything, the less likely they will be focused on the rich and powerful.It’s the shiny coin plan. Toss a shiny coin into the street and watch the people attack each other over the coin instead of focusing on the man who tossed it; the man who strives to keep them poor and distracted. Inflation is another example. We are currently experiencing the highest inflation in decades. The inclination is to blame the president, which in some cases is fair. There are many factors that create inflation, a primary one being oil prices. So who sets oil prices? You and me? No, the price of gas is determined by the crude oil in the international market. Who decides how much crude oil to produce? The oil barons, those who toss the shiny coins.The only way this ends is if we stop giving in to fear. We have to trust ourselves and our kids with whatever information that THEY need to become who they want to be. If you’re truly about freedom then let our kids decide what freedom means to them. Give them knowledge and don’t fear the outcome. You do that and we’ll be a healthier, more united society. Remember, the word is LOVE.

Bob Stannard is a longtime Banner columnist, a former state representative and lobbyist, and a lifelong lover of the Blues. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bennington Banner.
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