Our daughter once said, “Dad, you are like like Forrest Gump, you keep showing up where history happens.” That was in the summer of 2008, after we had been interviewed by then-Senator Barak Obama and his wife Michelle. It was a stop in Columbus, Ohio on his campaign. My wife Jane, and I were Legislative Advocate volunteers for AARP and the Obama Campaign contacted AARP wanting a retired couple of modest means to chat with Senator Obama about his tax policies. After being vetted by the Campaign staff, we met with the Obamas at an Assisted Living facility on Karl Road in Columbus, where for about a half an hour we chatted with the Obamas and then-Governor Strickland. Then we sat on the dais behind the Senator during his press conference. Needles to say, we were impressed that he had really listened to us and even quoted from our conversation in what he said.
Jennifer had known that as a young seminarian, I had participated in the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, so she identified me as Gump-like. She knew that these milestones marked meaningful stops along our life’s journey.
Today, we are all showing up “where history happens.” The Trump administration, by its fascist, white nationalist bent, is turning America back to its liberal past. The recent deaths, at police hands, of African-American men, most notably George Floyd, has our country gazing over its left shoulder.
Milestones pop up regularly for individuals and even families as life’s journey extends. This time though is not a mere milestone . We have happened upon a tipping point in our nation’s history. To change the metaphor, we are at a major crossroad. Baseball catcher and philosopher, Yogi Berra, advised ‘if you come to a fork in the road, take it.’ If we do not take this left fork, we shall be citizens of a failed State, diminishing in status, effect and the commonweal.