Today Obama commented on the Baltimore riots and those who have been “stripped away of opportunity…where there are no fathers” to offer “guidance,” where “manufacturing has been stripped away; and drugs have flooded the community, and the drug industry ends up being the primary employer for a whole lot of folks….” The president intimates that burning buildings, cars, and looting businesses is the result of hopelessness. I assure you, this is not hopelessness.
Drug addictions strip away opportunity, but a future is there if you want it. Robbing neighbors, burning cars, and destroying businesses strips away opportunity for the community as a whole, but a future lies ahead if there is a will to grab it.
Are you a young person fighting a terminal illness? If not, you are not without opportunity. You don’t have the right to be hopeless.
Having an absent father is heartbreaking when the father made the choice to leave. A one-parent home makes it harder, but not opportunity-less; just ask Dr. Ben Carson, Bill Clinton, Samuel L. Jackson, Gene Simmons, Louie Armstrong, Jackie Robinson — or the boy or girl down the street from a one-parent home, who WILL move ahead and make his/her opportunities.
Ask any among those whose “opportunity” has been “stripped away,” if he/she will trade his current opportunity-deprived situation with a person suffering from terminal cancer — a cancer that has nothing to do with lifestyle. Take your pick of any devastating disease. It happens to you. You, a person from wealth, or a blue-collar home, or the poorest among us, and yet you have never had an addiction, or lived an unhealthy lifestyle outside of the occasional double cheeseburger, with bacon, and a side of cheese fries. You made a choice not to hang with a dangerous crowd. You innately know the difference between right and wrong, because, you know, all of us do know the difference.
Your choice: live a productive and lawful life, or die soon of cancer. How fast will you find “opportunity?” In the blink of an eye? Probably.
You picked your friends carefully, and got yourself into a working environment at the first opportunity. You appreciated your minimum wage, and took pride in the job you did. You went to school, graduated, and either went on to higher education or entered the work force — and you liked it, yet the cancer found you, and you know that without a miracle, your life will end at an early age. This is opportunity stripped away, not what’s happening in Baltimore.
Enjoy this beautiful Tulsa sky, photo taken from my doorway at 8:17 p.m. last night.