When I was a boy, I looked
forward to the day after Christmas as a time to play with the toys I had
received. As I got older and received books, I enjoyed skimming through to preview
the reading ahead..
Now that I have a 3-year-old
grandson who visits us almost every day, I can enjoy playing with him and his
new toys. This grandpa business is a lot of fun.
We live in a society where
someone is always doing something that offends someone else. Some of this is
warranted and some is trivial. Some recent examples:
-In Los Angeles a mural on a school wall was protested by Koreans
because the background had rays that reminded them of the Japanese rising sun
flag and the atrocities committed by Japan on Koreans.
-Listeners objecting to the song, Baby It’s Cold Outside,
indicating it supports sexual harassment.
-At Stanford University, campus locations using the name Serra,
referring to Father Serra, are being changed because of the treatment of
indigenous people by Father Serra.
-Confederate statues are being moved or taken down.
-Mystery Writers of America announcing Linda Fairstein as a
recipient of a Grand Masters award and then rescinding it after member protest
over Fairstein’s role in prosecuting innocent men
-President Trump has made offensive comments and gestures about
women, a disabled reporter, Mexicans, immigrants and people who disagree with
Here’s my take. The Mystery
Writers of America example is one that should never have happened. The Masters
Award is intended for people with a life time commitment to the principals of
Mystery Writers of America and their contribution to mystery writing. The
Mystery Writers of America Board didn’t do the appropriate due diligence and vetting
before selecting Linda Fairstein
The mural in Los Angeles was
going to be painted over and most recently was going to be allowed to stay. I
think this is appropriate. The reason: the intent of the picture was not to
glorify WWII Japan and its atrocities. The artist was using color and form for
artistic expression not to represent anything about Japan.
On the other hand, the
Confederate statues were erected to glorify the Confederacy and what it stood
for. This intent is a more valid reason for concern.
Baby It’s Cold Outside is
too trivial an example of being offended. There are definitely many valid
examples of sexual harassment that need to be addressed, but this is not one of
The Father Serra situation
is a difficult one since he did good as well as bad.
President Trump’s actions
are concerning because of his intent to intimidate, belittle, bully and
disparage. These go counter to values most Americans are trying to teach their
children and grandchildren to follow and respect.
Like most kids, I couldn’t
wait to get up on Christmas morning. I would wake up early and eventually make enough
noise to rouse my parents.
Living in Hawaii, we didn’t
have a chimney. My parents bought a cardboard chimney covered with brick-design
I enjoyed building model
airplanes and collecting airplane parts. My favorite Christmas present of all
time was a broken propeller from a Piper Cub airplane that my dad found. I kept
that in my yard for years, and it was the hit of the neighborhood.
After all the contention and gridlock in
Congress, there is one hopeful sign for the future:
46 new Democrats in House say, “While we have a duty to exercise oversight over
the Executive Branch, particularly when the Administration crosses legal lines
or contravenes American values, we must prioritize action on topics such as the
cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, our crumbling infrastructure,
immigration, gun safety, the environment, and criminal justice reform.”
Mike Befeler is the author of the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit mystery novels: Retirement Homes Are Murder, Living With Your Kids Is Murder, Senior Moments Are Murder, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder, nominated for the Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2012, Care Homes Are Murder and Nursing Homes Are Murder. The series features octogenarian Paul Jacobson who suffers from short-term memory loss. He's also author of two paranormal mysteries: The V V Agency, and The Back Wing. Recent publications include Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse and a biography, For Liberty: A World War II Soldier's Inspiring Life Story of Courage, Sacrifice, Survival and Resilience.