Dear Shannon Mattix,
I read your letter to the editor that was a featured story on the News & Review. I want to thank your father and your brother who served in the military.
While, I respect their service, I had a few things that I would like to add to your list while asking the state for your tax refund.
Mr. Mattix, It’s quite alarming to me that you find that in your defense of the military you failed to mention that our own president spent his entire college career deferring his service you take so seriously on the basis of medical reasons. While, I am almost positive the Donald J. Trump is as honorable as the above mentioned people, I fail to see the comparison – as you said, your father and brother both served this great nation.
Mr. Mattix. While, I admit, it is alarming that so many people have taking both sides to this issue – to kneel or not to kneel – I have to ask, was your defense in regards to just service men or for the man you helped get elected?
You see, my family too, served in the military. While, I know that all three of my grandfathers who are no longer with us, held the constitution in the highest regard. Like your father, two of my grandfathers served during WWII. I heard plenty of stories from at least two of them. The third, served a tour in Germany but well after the war. All of which resonated compassion and honor for not only their brothers lost but for all issues that were occurring back home and what had happened in their lifetimes. They believed that injustices were part of our social structure – and often times needed brought to everyone’s attention.
The issue is greater than what you have been lead to believe. I too, have had my ear to the ground – and, I have talked to the people in the streets, from officers to soldiers, to those who serve our great state all the way back down to our own community. The word is – there are injustices in the world.
You see, not everyone is like you and I. We were raised in a community where our names and our statuses in our community were granted not only because of our work but because of the families and names we’ve been given. We’ve lived in the safety net that the majority of Americans only see on television sitcoms – where everybody knows our names.
Real America looks very different. I highly recommend checking out some of the inner city school systems. Indianapolis, for instance. I know that while I lived in Indianapolis, I saw classrooms so large that they had to convert gyms into multi-classroom. Students shared a single book between three or more kids. Part of the daily school program was picking up free donated clothes or hygiene products.
Real America looks very different especially if you are black or latino. Let’s not even discuss being Muslim. Let’s just stick to what is right here in White County.
Now, before this gets too far. I have never accused our local officers of racism. Although, speaking as someone whose uncle was a Sheriff Deputy for White County before his passing, I have the highest regard for our local law enforcement.
Our officers train for issues that most of us are not even close to being ready for. Our officers are skilled at killing someone if need be. And, as I have worked with many of the officers in our community they will tell you that race has little to do with their job. That isn’t to say that racism doesn’t exist. We’ve all had this discussion from time to time. There are bad people in every profession. But, it is time to acknowledge that we need fundamental changes in the judicial system – including police officers.
Maybe we can have that conversation one day.
But for now, let’s get back to clarifying the other requests i would like to add to your request from our government for our tax refund.
So, it is with great concern that if we are going to ask for our money back, we need to also add that this entire plan to rebuild interstate 65 with the eventual plan to privatize the road. Or, how about all the money our federal government has jacked around with public education? What about the cost of investigations that have led to zero criminal charges against Hillary Clinton? Or, as you mentioned since you are so supportive of our service men and women, what about the cost to the taxpayers paid so that Bush Jr. could attempt at finishing what his father started?
You see, as I am supportive of the Red, White and Blue, I am also a realist. I will get up and salute the flag as I have done for my entire life. But, I know, and will never forget, the stories my grandfathers told me. Stories of men and women who were not allowed to drink from the same water fountains. Stories of men and women who were hosed down in the middle of the streets. I will not forget the stories I have seen or heard from the people that share this planet. And, I am humble enough to admit that these are not the same circumstances that African-Americans are facing today. We’ve come a long way from those days. But, racism is still very much alive. Injustices still are at the front of every young black man or woman’s mind.
Mr. Mattix. We can almost always be sure that we will never agree on nearly every subject – when it comes to this great country. But, surely, you and I can agree that we can and should do better than where we have been.
So, here’s to starting a program to make sure that we end this fight. We need to open dialog between the inner city neighborhoods. Encourage communication between black neighborhoods and police officers. There are already programs going into place all over this country. And, the funny thing is – they are working tremendously. So, if you are able to get that refund for all of us. Please donate mine with the intentions to fund programs across the country in this way.