Over in the goofy world of blogs, I’ve been vilified once again by my friend, Bernie O’Hare. There are lots of weirdos in the shadows, trolls who take strong positions attacking people they don’t know, lying and wishing they mattered. The trolls don’t bother me. They’re cowards; they don’t have the guts to identify themselves. I get a kick out of reading their blather and figure that infuriating them by making a difference in the lives of people who are voiceless must be a good thing.
But Bernie is different. He isn’t afraid to speak his truth. He’s damn smart. And he provides an important service, making no money on his volunteer work, which he does almost full-time. But he is often wrong. Or he looks at the world in a way that suggests he hasn’t been around a lot of people who call the shots.
So, yesterday he called me a prostitute. Why? Because I had the nerve to suggest that Allentown is better off today than it was a few years ago. He hates when I thank people for doing the right thing. He thinks that anyone who does better than he has in the private sector is a scoundrel.
I wish I made the rules. I don’t. The folks who call the shots are the folks who have most of the money. They need regular folks if they are going to make lots of money. They need their cheap labor. They need their apathy, their disenfranchisement. They need us regular folks to hate each other, whether it’s because they look different, or sound different or come from another place. They sure as hell don’t want us to organize.
So, I’ve made a point of figuring out who can help me. I’ve made a point of figuring out who has money and power AND has a sense of common decency. And I’ve found that there are lots of those folks who fall into that category. They want to do the right thing. They’ve earned their money honestly. Many of them want to use their wealth to advance the lot of those who have little.
Bernie wants me to tell them to go to hell.
Seriously, Bernie. Just try to make the world a better place without engaging those who have money and power. The world will never be a better place if people can’t find common ground. I think it could only be a good thing if someone who has stands with someone who has not, if someone who can stands with someone who cannot, if someone who is with stands with someone who is without. And if they do, I’ll be right there, thanking them.
There are lots of good people out there, Bernie. I’m sure you’re smart enough to know who they are. I just hope you’re smart enough to acknowledge it.