Copernicus

Copernicus: (n) Polish astronomer

I wonder what people would say about Ludwig von Beethoven if he’d never written music.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Absent being able to consider his art, any relatives who passed along an impression of him would be offering trivial details:

“He belched a lot—he always had a problem with gas.”

“I think he heard better than he pretended.”

“He had a bad temper.”

“He disrespected women.”

“He was kind of crazy.”

“But overall, a nice guy.”

You see, if you don’t create an entity separate from your everyday life that can be set apart as evidence that you thought about something other than yourself, then the memories of you end up being whether those who knew you were inconvenienced by your personality.

Beethoven wrote symphonies—so people don’t talk much about how grumpy he was.

Abraham Lincoln helped free the slaves, so if he ended up being a little bit gay, who in the hell cares?

John Kennedy helped us come through the Cuban Missile Crisis, preventing World War III. We will allow him a couple of boinks with Marilyn Monroe.

Copernicus pissed people off because he told them that if you looked through a telescope, you would discover that the Earth and planets in our solar system actually revolve around the sun, instead of everything circling the Earth.

It made people angry.

Was it because they wanted the Earth to be important?

Was it because they hated the sun?

Or were they aggravated because they couldn’t afford a telescope?

We may never know—but Copernicus was right. And even though he may have made an amazing goulash, we will never know—because he will forever be known as one of the first dudes to tell us the truth about our little Universe.


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Civil War

Civil war: (n) a war between citizens of the same country.

If you know something is right, the best way to live is to go ahead and do it. Putting things off that we know are inevitable just makes us look stupid in the long run.

When the politicians involved in the American Revolution got together to form a Constitution, all of them, in their own ways, knew that slavery was wrong.

Some didn’t care.

Some believed it was more right than wrong.

But the main authors of the Constitution, from Madison on down, were fully cognizant that it was absolutely ridiculous to think that one man could own another
man. Matter of fact, they constantly lamented to one another that they “wished there was more they could do.”

It was their habit to free all of their slaves upon their death. So from 1776 until 1860–a span of eighty-four years–there was an ongoing debate about whether anything of significance could be done to curtail slave trading in the United States of America.

Laws were passed and ridiculous compromises achieved, but in the final fifteen years leading up to the American Civil War, it was obvious to most deeper-thinking Americans that this issue was going to lead to a battlefield where blood was shed.

It doesn’t make any difference if you’re talking about conflicts between a man and a woman, arguments within a family, or in the case of the United States, an open, seething contradiction, stinking right under our noses.

The longer you put something off, the more intense the division and painful the solution.

The Civil War could have been stopped when we started the nation.

It’s just too bad that the forefathers were more concerned about the right to bear arms than about the eternal need to free the slaves.

 

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Arab

dictionary with letter A

Arab: (adj) of or relating to Arabia or the people of Arabia

I grew up in Ohio.

My formative years were spent in a small village in the Buckeye Nation, surrounded by bigoted people.

They did not like black people–not because of proximity or personal contact. It was simply a tradition that had been passed down from one generation to another, and even though some of their ancestors fought to free the slaves, they didn’t especially want these “freed men” to live in the same neighborhood.

I was surrounded by intolerance. My family would probably argue the point, but only because we love to rewrite history once it’s been corrected.

But truthfully, the average person living in Central Ohio in 1965 believed many erroneous things about “colored folk,” including that they smelled differently, they were less intelligent, and they certainly should not date sons, let alone daughters.

Here’s an interesting fact: that isn’t true today.

The reason it isn’t true is that gradually the minority of the people who were more loving and giving wore down the intolerant, or else they buried them in the cemetery or changed their minds.

But as long as we believed that there were more “good Buckeyes” who were color blind than “bad Buckeyes” who were not, no progress was made.

The same thing is true for the Arabs.

They are experiencing a very strong backlash to extreme fundamentalism in the religion that they hold dear.

Here’s a fact: until the good ones who love people outlast and eventually outnumber the ones who don’t, and take the words of their holy book and punctuate the verses that are more inclusive, they will be characterized, universally, as dangerous.

There’s no way around it. If my close neighbor who shares my mosque flies airplanes into buildings, I become a suspect.

In my community of 1,500 people, having 60 folks who were open to having black people living in the town was not sufficient to warrant referring to our citizens as open-minded.

Truth had to win out.

So here’s the conclusion, and I speak this joyfully and hopefully to my Arab brothers and sisters:

Wear down your bigots and outnumber them.

It’s the only way to regain the beauty of your cause and an acceptance of your true mission.

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