Do you ever wish life weren’t so complicated? Do you wish you could move to a small country town where everybody knows each other and where the biggest problems the local school has to deal with are bubble gum and bobby socks?
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. The “Good ol’ days” are a siren song unequaled in our minds. But is there anyplace that time truly has passed by? Or are we all human and are all human problems to be found everywhere?
I do not deny that different physical locations can be more or less hazardous to your health, but we are told not to fear that which can destroy the body but to fear that which can destroy the soul.
Two stories this week, one a little better known than the other, indicate that there is no safe city, no quiet backwoods town where it is just safer in America.
First, the Jena story. By all rights this is a classic southern country town that would be at home on the stage of Happyville. But as any other place where humans live together, there are problems. There are many mistruths and misconceptions swirling around this story, and I considered writing a play-by-play timeline of what I heard and what I thought as this story unfolded for me. In my searching, this article appears to be the most complete exploration of the entire story and the feelings around the town. After reading the article, I have this to say to Mr. Jackson: Go home. You are a race-baiter and hate-monger, and you do none of the citizens of Jena any good by being there. They are aware of the problems in their town and while recognizing that much progress has been made since segregation, they are also very cognizant of how far they have yet to go.
Second, the story out of Sampson County, North Carolina, of a girl who was told that wearing a t shirt with the American Flag on it was against the rules. This is another small town where the last thing an “outside” would expect would be people arguing about suitable expression, especially regarding Old Glory. The school district has since changed position and gone all the way over to the other side: all flags are allowable now.
Solomon said “there is nothing new under the sun”. All humanity experiences similar problems, born of our fallen natures. All humanity shares the same nature, and this nature of sin is the reason that so many liberal policies are doomed to failure. It is the reason that government answers are so often bigger problems themselves. It is the reason the conflict of human nature creates a better, safer equilibrium than assuming the best in each. Adam Smith, the economist whose work Marx was attempting to rebut in his socialist experiments, claimed that out of selfishness man would find the most stable and free society. Small-town America is not free of greedy or envy. Mayberry county still needed a Sheriff.