NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Friday February 26th 2021

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Path of the Lemming

Raise Your Voice

By PETER MOLENAAR

Gardeners in the Phillips Community are probably familiar with the vole. Like all rodents, voles are highly intelligent within their own realm. However, within the span of a day, one of them might take down every red beet sprout. “Oh”, they smile sheepishly, “I couldn’t help it”, before scurrying back to the hole. Sadly, compassionate gardeners are compelled to purchase traps. I purchased mine from Welna Hardware. 

Living low in the northern tundra is a species of vole called the lemming. Lemmings are famous for their periodic mass “suicides”. 

Are there bigots in our neighborhood? Actually, I did meet one once. The poor white man was ranting about a display of Native regalia at the American Indian Center, and was disdainfully whining about similar expressions in Africa. Hey, I have a Sudanese immigrant friend who celebrates his traditional regalia in a series of smart phone photos. He is an engineer in the field of medical devices who, once invited to join a Native circle dance here, did so without missing a beat. 

38th and Chicago… 

On a hot day in the early aftermath, Native women danced in full regalia. Fists clenched in the air, they declared: BLACK LIVES MATTER! 

Who does not love the bigot? Our simple neighbor would do well to ponder Cahokia, an ancient city in the land now called Illinois. These were the mound builders who organized commerce on a vast scale. Perhaps some knowledge of Tenochtitlan, once the biggest and “most beautiful city in the world”, would nudge his consciousness. However, some educators suggest a “hands on approach”, i.e., task the bigot with building a canoe from birchbark! 

After all, the free and full development of every individual is in the national interest… is it not? Ijeoma Oluo has written the book: Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. 

Unfortunately, Nixon deployed the “southern strategy”, and Reagan began his campaign in a Mississippi town where three civil rights workers had been brutally murdered. Later, the Bush clan whistled tunes such as “state’s rights”, and more recently, Trump blamed Obama for the loss of the “American Dream”, all the while making mediocre white men feel good again. 

January 6, 2021… 

Quite possibly, the orange one has led the lemmings over the cliff. 

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