|Vol. 10 No. 1
JANUARY 8, 2015
Publisher & Editor
Lisa Peyton-Caire, Eileen Hocker,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran, Theola
Carter, Fabu, Lang Kenneth Haynes,
Heidi Pascual, and Donna Parker
Webmaster: Heidi M. Pascual
Love Thy Enemy
The King Holiday is probably the most thoughtful holiday that we have in America, at least for me. It is a time to reflect on ideals that make us
Americans, ideals that allow all of us to pursue the American Dream.
When I did a phone interview with Diane Nash, the keynote speaker for the City-County King Holiday Observance, she talked about nonviolence
and the core value that you love your opponent as you love yourself, a very spiritual value. And it made me reflect on my father who died back
in 1989. He was a good man.
He and I used to have spectacular disagreements on holidays as the dinner dishes were being cleared. My dad was an old-time conservative
Republican from Waukesha County and my political philosophy changed to one of progressive politics after attending UW-Madison in the early
1970s. While my mother would get nervous — and other siblings would join in from time to time — and our voices would get raised in
passionate discourse, unfailingly we would hug and express our appreciation for each other afterwards.
This was my father whom I loved and admired and no ideas were going to get in the way of us recognizing each other’s humanity. And these
discussions and disagreements were ways for us to remain engaged with each other, to stay connected although we lived in opposite sides of
the political spectrum.
My father was a very conservative Republican, but not with the “Tea Party” connotations that it has today. He and my mother came of age
during The Great Depression, an economic downturn so severe that everyone knew someone who had been personally affected by it. And my
father served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific that was hit by a kamikaze, hitting the aircraft hanger where my father had been moments
before, killing many men whom he supervised and injuring my father with shrapnel. I feel that these experiences instilled in him an
understanding that “but for the grace of God go I.” There was a certain element of luck and chance in life and so my father could have empathy
for those who had not benefitted from luck and chance the way that he had.
It didn‘t matter “what” someone was, he would always welcome people into his home. While he was fastidious, he was also a generous man.
And while he might vehemently be opposed to someone else’s views, he would not look upon them as an “other” and deny their humanity. He
allowed me to become what I was destined to become even if he didn’t agree with everything that I had in mind.
I worry these days that our society has drastically changed from those days. We do not have the occasions to engage those who are different
than us if we choose not to do so. Most of us have grown up in the age of television and so we have met people unlike ourselves through the
celluloid images of the little screen. We live in segregated communities by race and income and increasingly political orientation. Those in
higher income brackets can earn their money through dividends and capital gains and not be forced to interact with those different than them in
order to make their money and yet make decisions that impact those whom they would never have the chance to know.
We have placed ourselves in a position where we would never realize how luck and chance have influenced our lives and how these factors
have impacted the homeless person on the street or the family waiting for food at a food pantry. We have placed ourselves in the position
where we view the world with “digital eyes” and can easily view those different from us as “other.” Eventually it is this skewing, segregation
and isolation that will destroy us as a country and eventually as the human race.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood these things some 50 years ago. He repeatedly emphasized that he loved his enemy. He embraced all of
humanity. While nonviolence was a way for people to understand the just cause of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King understood it as a call
for the salvation of humanity. On this special holiday, I hope people hear his words and understand his wisdom. Remember! Celebrate! Act!