As incredible as it sounds a six letter word is attempting to change our whole culture. That word is racist. Most of us had never given the word a thought until the media latched onto it. Now it is headlines every day, every hour, every opportunity.
Words speak to something within us, propelling them into meaning. I checked the Thesaurus to find out what racist actually means. Simply put the noun means "a hater or intolerant person." Used as an adjective racist means "prejudiced." I searched those meanings and found for hater "man-hater, woman-hater, bigot, misogynist, Anglophobe," etc. Anglophobe was not in the dictionary or Thesaurus and I am reluctant here to take it apart. Among the meanings for intolerant were "not tolerant, not forgiving, considerate or patient, a little person, ultra-nationalist, super-patriot, dogmatist, fanatic."
The adjectives for racist included "biased, jaundiced, warped, twisted, dogmatic, sexist" and a host of other damaging and derogatory words.
Is this what we have become? If so, this little six letter word is as dangerous to loyal Americans as a gun, as divisive as a machete, as frightening as a bad dream and as damaging as a head-on collision. Common civility is being crushed by anger and toxic words. Racist is not a word which can be calmly spoken. It has become a destructive way of tearing down anyone who refuses to bow to the speaker. It is a malignancy in the very heart and soul of all that made our country the place we can all love and call home.
Our world is changing. It seems strange to hear well-heeled, beautifully dressed, highly educated people from prominent, wealthy families who have made it in America complaining and denigrating our country. Their lives are nothing like what most Americans have experienced. Before one of them becomes my candidate I want the person to spend time in a place where people manage without the things we think are essential. They can do it right here in America or go overseas. That is where I learned to love America. Spending time helping the helpless can change the whole tenor of our lives.
I might have more respect for these who are seriously advocating change if I heard they were right now physically helping change the conditions of those hit by flooding, if I knew they had spent time in a poverty area of the world. Washington needs people like that. Instead, we are told where the office-seekers are from or where they were educated as if that had significance in making them a better candidate.
I tried to quantify what the candidates have said in speeches by using the yardstick of the past: They were mostly hard-working country folk, living on the poor side of wealth, enough to eat, clothes to wear, friends and family, life and death, good times and not so good. Work was a good thing, helped us feel good about ourselves. We had a free but limited education. If we wanted more, we had to pay for it. We were expected to respect others even when we did not agree with them. Most disagreements ended but not with a fight or a bullet.
Instead of thanking God for the privilege of serving, the candidates seem egocentric, self absorbed, perhaps believing they can do more for America than God has already done for us. It will not happen. God will not give His glory to another.
Americans have been blessed of God. How long those blessings will continue is my concern. There is an anti-God, anti-Christian element working hard to push Him aside. Gratitude is in short supply. Let's put the word racist to rest, rid ourselves of its power, make an attempt to change it to gratitude for all we have in our country.
Myrtle V. Thompson, 91 is a retired missionary, educator, writer and Bible Teacher.