When I was in law school (1979-1982), one of the weekly magazines I subscribed to was TIME magazine. Back then, there was no internet, satellite television, or national talk radio programs. If we wanted to know what was going on in our country, we had to rely on newspapers, magazines, network television — ABC, NBC, and CBS.
The recent riots have exposed a reality that those of us who are devout Catholics have always known to be true. What is that reality? That there is an epic battle that has been taking place since the beginning of time. While the battle has involved different types of weapons and different forms of communication, the participants in the battle have always had one thing in common — they have always been separated into two opposing camps.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the early years of television. As a young boy, I watched westerns and wholesome family shows that always depicted clean, positive, and virtuous behavior. Some of the family shows that I watched were The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mister Ed.
There’s an emotional roller coaster that people have been on since March of this year. That’s when our country was locked down because of the COVID-19 virus. During the first couple of months of the lockdown, the roller coaster took people down into the depths of uncertainty and doubt. Then it seemed as though it was heading toward what appeared to be a light at the end of a tunnel. But last week, the roller coaster took a sharp turn and catapulted toward a new abyss of fear and uncertainty.
I’ve written before about how my wife and I raised seven children — one boy and six girls. An interesting thing happened with some of my children. When they turned 18, they got tired of me telling them what I thought they should be doing and declared that because they were 18, they were now adults who could make their own decisions. The first time I heard that proclamation, I laughed and asked what happened on their 18th birthday that transformed them into the type of person who no longer needed to listen to their parents. The response I got was, “I’m an adult now and I’m old enough to make my own decisions.”
In August 1971, I started my freshman year at Limestone High School in Bartonville, Illinois. In May of that year, one of my cousins on the Williams side of the family — I’ll call him Jason — had graduated from Limestone. Jason was an average student, but there was one thing that he accomplished during his high school years that his mom was extremely proud of. During his senior year, his classmates took a vote and named him “the toughest guy in the school.”
During the early 1980s, I read an article about a woman from the Soviet Union who had visited Washington, D.C. The woman was the wife of a top official in the Communist Government of the Soviet Union. While she was in Washington, D.C., the woman and some of her female friends from the Soviet Union were given a tour of several buildings and monuments. When they toured the Capitol Building, she said, “Ours is better.” When she saw the Washington Monument, she said, “Ours is better.” She made the same comment when she saw the Lincoln Memorial, the National Cathedral, and several other landmarks in Washington, D.C.