By Carl R. ToersBijns
Life in the late 50’s and early 60's was simple as there was a limited amount of income coming in for a lot of families who lived on the minimum wage. The economy was fair and crime was low but the pay for those lucky to be employed was low. The cost of living was rising and the only way one could survive is to have both parents working so they can consolidate their income to meet their needs. Only a few families could afford to celebrate the holidays and then, on a very limited level. The cold war was looming and the air raid drills were real in school and in the city.
The holidays were always celebrated with vigor and blessings of all that we were thankful for either during the holidays or the entire year. Thanksgiving is a special occasion where we could express our appreciation for the good things in life and the ability to pursue our own version of happiness down the road.
Anxiously waiting, we could hardly wait for the arrival of Christmas. The economy was so bad, it was hard to earn a dollar and more stressful just to make ends meet as jobs were hard to find and parents were struggling to make ends meet. Living on meager wages, we stretched the food thus it was urgently important that we saved every bit of scraps we had and make a meal from the leftovers the next day's supper. Money tight and clothes worn out, we made sure we had what we needed to get by for Christmas as we wanted this holiday to be special as we just had a baby girl in the family and she was a treasure to say the least.
However, when it came, it was a simple celebration focusing on God, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit. Gifts were meager tokens of our appreciation for our blessings. We did not splurge or attempt to buy any more than we could afford. Times were tough and it was like that all over in America and not just in Ohio.
Growing up in the ghetto tenements of the south end of Columbus Ohio during the early 60's was ethnically challenging and a time for constant friction and controversy. Racial issues in our neighborhood continued to dominate our family's daily strife as the black and white environment we lived in was frequently falling short for reaching a harmonious relationship. Witnessing the racial wars and conflicts grew us closer together as we saw how cynical and ridiculous adults behaved related to the world being black or white. The deployment of the Ohio National Guard into our neighborhood heightened our awareness of how divided we really stood on life. Those who knew how to live in harmony were ridiculed and those who spewed hatred into every direction were martyred by their own in their respective neighborhoods.
Learning slowly the perils of mixing racial relationships in this side of town could end up inside a hospital emergency room waiting for the doctor to stitch you up after you just survived a razor blade attack on your body thinking to yourself "what did I do to deserve this".
Thinking more of the offspring’s state of mind and personal wellness than the impact on adults, kids these days endured much harassment and bullying inside the school and playgrounds.
Life in the 70’s was not so simple as before as there was the end of the Vietnam war that left many homeless and traumatized because of the conflict and shock they were involuntarily inflicted by and sadly left untreated to fend for their own with no help from the government upon discharge of service. The music was rocking with big name bands and the mood was laid back as the world tried to find peace with the nuclear war still hanging over our heads and communism spreading like wildfires in Asia and Eastern Europe.
Life in the 80’s was much different from the 70’s as things began to come together and the world seemed to have settled down a bit. The economy seemed to have picked up and more jobs were available and more plenty in Ohio and other places. Moving to New Mexico to follow my parents, it was a new journey that allowed me to leave all my troubles behind and start fresh with a new mindset that allowed me to gather my thoughts and heal my aching heart for all the misery and pain I had left behind to start anew.
The 90’s brought more joy and the families I once knew to be far apart were coming together as we saw a new direction and new hope for changing some of the things that had happened in the past. Stability was a main ingredient and the ability to launch new ideas and new challenges grew into a reality unmatched by anything in the past.
The coming of the new millennium brought more opportunities and happiness. Children, my children, were growing into adults and having families of their own makes the heart fonder of the good things that happen in life with faith and hope coming from above. The world seemed to get better and the air was filled with fresh feelings of hope and prosperity for many.
But the happiness was short lived as the morning of 9/11 revealed that America was again engaged in war but this time, the war had come to New York City and the Twin Towers were assaulted by radical Islamic terrorist flying two large commercial aircraft into the gigantic and elevated skyscrapers making them easy targets to hurtle into with loaded fuel and innocent Americans unaware that danger had came from above and brought them immediate hell, death and disaster.
Recovering from the Twin Tower disaster was most difficult for Americans. Their own sovereignty had been endangered by small groups of radicals preying on large commercial ports of entry and landmarks that represented America’s power and influence throughout the world and Christianity. No longer safe inside the own territorial borders, the new Homeland Security Agency promulgated policies that would invade the privacy of our lives forever as new technology advanced body [scans] searches and the detection of weapons and other contraband determined by the TSA coming onboard aircrafts.
Moving to the Grand Canyon state in late 2005 brought a new element of hatred into our lives. The subject of illegal immigration had invaded Arizona politics and statutory legislation as well as regulations.
Suburban and rural neighborhoods were once again divided and many left to avoid the persecution of laws that focused on legal and illegal residence status that had been ignored by the federal government for years if not decades and now making a political impact for those running for elected office.
Families became divided under SB 1070 as the law demanded ICE detainments and eventual deportations and compliance with the laws of the land. Congress offered no resolution as states drafted their own immigration laws to control their sovereignty and borders within their control.
Then almost inconspicuously, some of the old ideology from the 60’s crept back into our lives and on television and newspapers. The country elected a black president for the first time and the world [as we knew it] inside America rocked with a renewal of racism as many could not understand, accept or conform to the new ideology created by those born in earlier decades that all men are created equal regardless of race, creed, color or nationality and that anyone could be president if they get the electoral votes to win the office.
The likes of the infamous Klux Klux Klan were reborn geographically and demographically as the hatred spewed up everywhere with provocation to incite racial hate crimes through written dialogues and detestable language and social media cartoons. Muslims sought shelter inside their mosques as they became targets of a new generation of haters and degenerates. Gangs grew inside our large cities and crime took a rise that would fill our prisons to the brim of hell’s own periphery of insanity and madness. Black killing blacks and inter-racial killings that had no boundaries or honor.
There was also a significant change in the way we celebrate our holidays nowadays. Compared to the old ways where we focused on Christ, the angels and the celebrated music as our means to find happiness and peace with God, we are losing the bonds we established so hard in the past. Commercialism invaded our ideology of celebrating the holydays focusing on gifts and other self fulfilling presents that were meant to please oneself rather than others.
The spirit of giving had changed to the spirit of receiving and ignoring the giving aspect of a most worthy cause to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It appeared the word “reborn” had taken a new meaning as it again divided our neighborhoods through extreme ideologies and biases. Xboxes and large screen televisions invaded the homes as the Holy Bible was put on pause and stashed away in a drawer somewhere collecting dust and ignorance by those who chose to cast it aside for personal pleasure and addictive entertainment. Technology was swallowing life into a vacuum that would be difficult to recover from if at all.
After every Thanksgiving after 2001, the mood on the street never changed, it was naïve to believe that with Christmas nearing and only a few weeks away, there would be peace and joy throughout the world and angels singing hymns to bring the faithful gathers together for a song or two. Caroling in our streets during Christmas used to be a common event but is hardly happening anymore, anywhere in America today.
The economy was so bad, it was very hard find a good job and to earn top dollar for good work done. Life was becoming more stressful just to make ends meet as jobs were hard to find and parents were struggling to make ends meet. Savings accounts depleted and Wall Street taking a deep tumble into corruptive practices and financial troubles, the earnings of a life’s savings disappeared for many Americans.
The newly elected president in 2008 ended one of the Middle East wars and promised to end another in Pakistan. These senseless wars have been fought for decades and as these fine and honorable young men and women came home, they found empty hearts and pockets leaving them at the mercy of a struggling economy and high unemployment rate. Many experienced PTSD from the war and received no assistance for such service as they were discarded and many left homeless for service to their country and injured in the line of duty. Many came home broken in spirit and mind as they suffer irreparable harm to their wellness
After the elections of 2012, fifty states have filed petitions to secede from the union. A re-elected president ponders how to heal the nation. The citizens’ viewpoints are different than those elected in Washington DC and wish to rule their own way of life began to appear in society just like it did before the start of the notorious American Civil War. Although symbolic in nature, they represent the truthful feelings of the many as they struggle with the social and political conflict that impairs them daily to be productive and gainfully employed as the economy and debt has faltered to a new low each day we go on.
The world appears to be riding on the shoulders of Satan and Judas as it has been turned upside down in morality and tranquility. The lyrics sung in the past have been replaced with slogans of war, violence, corruption and power as the government struggles to meet the solutions to its humongous debt and our burdensome fiscal cliff is ready to fall off into the ocean and drift towards the economically dominant Republic of China that today holds our debt as collateral and owns what we once had as our own. Our national security and defense at jeopardy, we pray change will come from Congress and reshape our journey to financial and economic independence once again.
The spirit of Christmas has dwindled down to a silent wish for hope. Hope that America will wake up from this nightmare and turn it around with those same ingredients our founding father had to birth this nation. A dire need to re-birth America will require strength and courage by those elected as leaders as we journey and navigate these dire straights to hell.
Negativity is ascending as hope dissipates into thin air. It appears the electoral vote is now in direct disagreement with the popular vote and people are upset their candidates lost. So in the end I have a Christmas wish that would end all the fighting and all the misery inside our country and in our neighborhood.
My wish is to restore the faith in God that built this great nation. Allow the pledge of allegiance to return back to the classrooms and stop banishing the words of in “God we Trust” from the lips of our children. Let us find the courage to again place our hands crossing our hearts as our Flag passes by and represents what is the greatest nation on earth, indivisible and under God. Reestablish patriotism as it was once before and bring home our men and women in uniform and keep them safe with support to assist them back into civilian livelihood and become good civilians again.
My wish is to rebuild and rekindle our spirits that allowed us to feel good about ourselves and others as friend and neighbor rather than enemy or foe. Stop the fighting, the racism, and the hatred and become good neighbors again. Let our children live in peace and love each other unconditionally.
My wish is a return to good economics and stop sending jobs elsewhere around the world to allow us to prosper again and make us free. Free from the slavery that these conditions impose on us as we must follow involuntarily the whims of those in power that benefit from free labor of men and cheap products that need to be replaced often to increase the profits.
My wish is an end to these chains of entitlement feelings and give each man or woman an opportunity to work for a living and support those whom they love. Free those enslaved and dependent on government services and put them back into the hands of themselves so they may become self-reliant again and earn and learn the meaning of self-responsibilities, self-efficiency and self-support.
My wish is to heal America and bring us all back together again. Stop the violence and bring a level of sanity back into our lives. Allow each one individual the rights conceived by our Constitution and let no man or woman alter the meaning of our “Bill of Rights” to shadow and destroy the main fiber of our nation.
My wish is to stop the congressional bickering and unite this nation as a one party family that will heal all wounds and bring us together again and bring our nation back into a resolved condition and strength with reserves independent from foreign powers or influences.
My wish is to bring peace, hope and faith into our lives and allow us to be a nation whole once again and without the division we have today. Bring back contentment and allow us the bliss we so desire in God’s name and spirit and bring us together into one accord.