Updated 3/26/18: PUBLISHED on page A 4 of The Delaware State News of 3/26/18
Op Ed Submission – My America is Gone – 3/19/18
I grew up as a child in Dover, DE, from 1952 to 1965, when I entered college. I was 5 when we moved here in ’52 from Venezuela, where Dad was working for Shell Oil administering their field hospitals in that country. He became the administrator of what is now Bay Health Kent General. Dover was a wonderful, quiet little town, and the neighborhood we moved to, near what is now Central Middle School, was a great, safe place for kids. We played outdoors most of the time, rode out bikes everywhere, and actually knew our neighbors. There was virtually never a shooting! Drugs were not a problem of any significance (I suppose some were around, but those troubles really did not start until decades later), and our friends were friends, irrespective of politics, skin color, or where they came from.
The city in which I grew up is gone, as are thousands of similar communities across America, and it is a real shame. We have shootings every week, drugs are everywhere, and bodies (3 in the last couple of months) are turning up in the lake, Silver Lake, where we swam in the summers and played ice hockey in the winters. The joy of childhood is one casualty of many societal ills plaguing America today.
How did this happen? I suggest that our abysmally failed “war on drugs”, other “tough on crime” policies, mass incarceration – causing so many children to grow up without parents – , the decline of the influence of our churches, and the degeneration of political discourse into the rancorous political tones of today all are somewhat responsible. Other towns have even worse problems with violence, rampant drug overdoses, senseless (bigoted) hatred, and some have bombings in their neighborhoods. Witness the four recent explosions in the Austin TX area, all targeting minorities. I was not there, but bet you that Austin TX was as peaceful and pleasant as Dover DE was in the ’50s.
Let’s all tone it down! Let’s report crime to the authorities when we see it (that is not being a “snitch”, it is merely being a responsible citizen; a snitch is one who acts – rats on another – to save his/her own butt!). Let’s have sensible and fair laws and policing policies, with plenty of community engagement between police and civilians. And, OMG, let’s all tone down the terribly divisive political comments! Just tone it down!
Ken Abraham, Dover, DE 302-423-4067