Monday, October 17, 2011

My Roots Run Deep

My roots run deep in America.  The bones of my paternal grandfathers are buried in Vinita, Oklahoma; Athens County, Ohio; Wheeling, West Virginia and Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania.  My mother was Cherokee and while the formal records of her family begin with the Dawes Commission Rolls, her people were among the pre-historic occupants of this land.
Even though, the McColloch Brothers were Indian fighters in Wheeling and perhaps, encountered my mother’s ancestors, my mother loved my father in spite of his family history and vice-versa.  Some of my ancestors were Christians and some were called savages.  Perhaps, accordingly, I have acted like both Christian and savage at various times in my life. 
I mention my ancestry, not to claim special dispensation, but to say that my family has a long history of “skin in the game.”  From the Revolution to Vietnam, we fought in this Nation’s wars.  In the Revolution, we knew the sweet taste of victory and freedom from an oppressive monarchy, yet, we also knew the bitter taste of captivity as we were driven from our homes and force-marched, like animals, to a reservation in present day Oklahoma.  The path to tomorrow was not always easy for any of my ancestors, but their accomplishments and their failures; their victories and their defeats; like those of millions of other families were the building blocks of this Great Nation, because through it all they came together as one people, desiring a better life for themselves and others. 
Now, we stand on the edge of the precipice.  Will we allow the blood and sweat sacrifices of previous generations to disappear into the sands of time, by allowing this Nation to disappear because we are divided?  Contrary, to what seems a popular notion that individuals can do nothing to change the direction of this Country, I think individuals, now as always, are the only group capable of changing the direction.  In fact, we need to stop expecting politicians to provide political solutions to a spiritual problem.  The direction this Nation is headed will change if individuals follow the divinely inspired directives to treat others as you would be treated and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
Clearly, not all Americans have at all times adhered to these principles, not even my own ancestors, but through the years enough Americans have embraced them to influence those who did not.  It has worked before and it will work again.


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