Thought For the Day, Thanksgiving 2015

Builders,

I wrote this on Thanksgiving last year. I bring it back as a timely reminder of what decent Americans share in their hearts.  We are 347 days away from what threatens to be one of the ugliest national elections in living memory. It will likely be a contest between two factions who will have no future in politics if they don’t win, and therefore will say anything, without limits, to be elected. The media will fan these flames for ratings, putting a camera on the person with the most outrageous or vile words. There will be no space given to the reasonable, the understanding, nor the civil.

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Harvest of Shame is a reminder that there once was a time when there were issues of great national concern, issues that didn’t belong to any party. Things that warranted action by any decent American. These issues were presented by actual journalists like Murrow, men who were members of nether party, men who identified themselves only as Americans. 

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In the next 347 days you will be served countless opportunities to succumb to the dog whistle signals the media and parties send out, demanding that you abdicate from being a rational human and adopt their pre-packaged anger, fear, and belief that if ‘they’ don’t win, the country will end.

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The only thing that will end in 347 days is the rabid political power ambitions of some group that only a fool would trust. If any group uses negative attack ads or bull shit media stories to get inside a persons rational, civil, caring, American mind, and gets them to give up on their plans for an optimistic future to adopt their poisonous dark views, then that person has willingly become the servant of others.  Unpaid servants are generally called slaves, the difference here is that actual slaves hate their oppressors and don’t willingly give up their freedom to live in the mental chains of another persons ambitions. I would not give up the positive adventures I have planned for 2016 even if I was actually threatened. Sadly, there are many people who will give up on their dreams just because of something some idiot says on TV. Chose your own path with the courage and clear head of Edward R. Murrow, choose carefuly, it is the ownership of your mind which is at stake.

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I have only one personal Thanksgiving tradition. I reserve one uninterrupted hour to watch the CBS/Edward R. Murrow documentary “Harvest Of Shame.” It is considered by many to be the high water mark of television documentaries. Murrow cashiered his entire news career to make it and see it broadcast. It is an unflinching look at destitute and impoverished workers providing food for our nation of plenty.  It originally aired the day after Thanksgiving, 1960.

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Like The Grapes of Wrath 21 years earlier, Harvest of Shame was attacked as socialist propaganda. In the 54 years since it has been broadcast, the documentary has been called many things, with the notable exception of being called untrue.

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If you have never seen it, it can be found at this You Tube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJTVF_dya7E

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Murrow delivers a harsh message; They selected a deeply moving American composition to accompany the title: Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”. There is a 3:14 excerpt from it at this link, The segment from the documentary is at 2:20 :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiLTwtuBi-o

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Poverty does not have a color or a language in Harvest of shame. It defied stereotypes and generalizations.

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“This scene is not taking place in the Congo. It has nothing to do with Johannesburg or Cape Town. It is not Nyasaland or Nigeria. This is Florida. These are citizens of the United States, 1960. This is a shape-up for migrant workers. The hawkers are chanting the going piece rate at the various fields. This is the way the humans who harvest the food for the best-fed people in the world get hired. One farmer looked at this and said, “We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them.” – E.R. Murrow, opening statement to Harvest of Shame.

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Several months ago I spoke with two little boys, seven or eight years old, outside a local convenience store. They were putting a chain back on a rusty bicycle. It was 8 am on a Sunday. Neither one had eaten anything since the day before. I went inside and got each of us an apple and a banana. They ate theirs right away.

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A man standing in line, dressed well enough that he was probably on his way to church, made a point of telling me in front of a half-dozen people that “you can’t help those people they choose to live that way.”

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I stood a foot away from him and looked him in the face and asked him to explain to everyone how a seven year old boy is to be held accountable for the poverty he lives in. He wisely chose to leave without offering any further social wisdom.

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    1. Dan-o says: November 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm (Edit)
    2. William, we have so much here that we seem to forget that 90 percent of the worlds population do not have a roof over their head or food to eat. Vikki and I have supported 2 children in Africa for over 20 years now, when they reach adult age we pick 2 different children, for 30.00 each per month they receive 2 meals a day, clothes and education. it pays for all school supply’s. every couple years we send extra and it buys a goat which provides milk for the whole family. you wouldn’t believe the letters we get from them about how that little money makes their lives better. its very neat to watch how their English and writing improves as they progress over the years. we may never know the outcome of helping these kids, but I’m pretty sure the outcome if we don’t help. as we all sit down to a hot meal today lets remember those that wont have one. I’m thankful for my health, family and all the wonderful friends that I have. You and Grace have a wonderful Holiday. Dan-o

  1.  Bruce Culver says:

    The famous parable in Matthew 25 says it all: “inasmuch as you have done this to one of the least of these my brothers, you have also done it to me.”

  2. jaksno says:

    I imagine the Jesus I read about would have done and said something quite similar. People do choose identities well below the truth – our job is to fan the flames of the higher identity that is available to everyone…something like your mission to maintain the still available opportunity to learn, build, fly. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. David Winrod says:

    Thank you for that story.
    My old friend died a few weeks ago here in SE Alaska. For fifteen of his later years he wintered in Mazatlan. There were some Canadians and Americans at his favorite street cafe one morning when a dozen hungry children showed up. The turistas began swearing at them and shooing them away. When my friend uttered some choice words similar to yours, they whined,”Well you can’t feed them all!” Whereupon he filled all the chairs in the place with little ones and did just that – whatever they wanted.
    His formal education was nil, but he was an impeccable educator.

About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to Thought For the Day, Thanksgiving 2015

  1. jaksno says:

    Give Thanks for every good thing, and Thanks in spite of those things that are not. You’ll live longer, happier, and be a blessing to others, having all you need and more to share. Choose Life and blessing; eschew death and curses. When you come to that Good fork in the road, take it! (paraphrased from Paul, Moses, and Yogi) {;^)

  2. George Willenbrock says:

    Thanks for making it easy to show this to my sons. They have NO idea. When they ask me why the Tuskegee Airmen were separate from the rest of the army, and why discrimination existed, I know i am on the right track.

  3. Dave Aldrich says:

    Sadly, I have to agree with you about the current state of politics. Civil discourse is dead. My new bumper sticker — “I don’t want any of those idiots in 2016”

    In spite of that, I’m grateful and thankful to have been born here and allowed a life of choice. There are so many who have not had that freedom.

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