Living In The Grey Zone

Grey is a color that I have become more accustomed to as I have aged. I look at photos of myself, several years ago, and starring back at me is a young man with black hair and a black mustache. I possessed several grey hairs…here and there…but they did not dominate the real estate. These days when I go to my barber I watch as the grey hair is shorn from my head and as it takes it’s leisurely journey to the floor of the Barber Shop. I look around to see if there is any other great piles of grey hair…or if I have won the prize.

I recall more than one conversation that I had with my friend, JoAnn, regarding living in the Grey Zone. Much of my career at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale contained my navigating various shades of grey. Simply understanding what the supervisor wants as compared to the manager as compared with the administrator…is a herculean effort. Once I became the president of the civil service council and met monthly with the Chancellor of the University…I understood what a politically precarious position that university politics afforded campus administrators. There is no politics that is more cutthroat than university politics.

LIfe brings daily conundrums. For instance…we Christians believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that he died on the cross for our sins and than on the third day he arose from the grave and ascended back to his Father in Heaven. Were you there to witness the events that the Bible tells us of? The Bible is a wonderful book of stories that are inspired by God…but written by men who were influenced by the culture and the bias and norms of their generation. The Second Amendment calls for the right to bear arms in order to have a well trained militia. Did our founding fathers intend for everyone to be a member of the militia?

Democracy is our proudest accomplishment in the United States of America. We are the Melting Pot of the world. Emma Lazarus wrote the New Colossus:

‘Not like the brazen Giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles, From her beacon hand

Glows world wide-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep ancient lands your storied pomp!’ cries she

With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breath free, The Wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

Yet we rejected the more than 900 passengers on the M.S. St. Louis. These were Jewish refugees at the on-set of the Holocaust. We locked up tens of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II in camps. We brought untold Africans to our country to be our slaves…and they still are yet to be to free from intimidation and the same rights that are afforded to the majority white citizenry.

QAnon’s followers believed that they were rescuing our country when they stormed our Capitol and broke the windows and battered down the doors of the ‘Peoples House.’ QAnon began as a Live Action Role Play on the internet. It began as a computer game and was subsequently taken to a deadly serious state by thousands of Americans. It is clear that when some refer to our Capitol as their house…they are not speaking about all of us…

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