Friday, July 3, 2015

The Best Chicken Not Breathin'

It seems opinions in America are taking Mr. Frost's words to heart — sticking to one political road, without at least giving thought to the other.

 Democrats and Republicans alike, liberals and conservatives — especially cable network and radio shows that are so one-sided, they make the other side out to be fools and idiots.

It's the new millennium version of the Hatfields and McCoys.

Until you run into a kid like Seth.

That's him cutting up my chicken. His brother Bryce is standing behind him. Seth's a ball player on the Pennridge American Legion team and the kid can flat out hit. He plays third but I think he may have to get another position because Franco is locked in there.

Seth's good, but he ain't moving Franco.

Lookit, seeing all the holes the Phillies have, they'd be doing themselves well eyeballing a kid like Seth. He's headed to Wilkes College to play ball and after that?

Sky's the limit, and that's great.

Seth's dad Steve owns Godshalls' Poultry stand at the Reading Terminal. You can't get fresher chicken unless you buy them still breathin' and squawkin.' All his kids work there and so does his wife on occasion. Steve and his wife live every day to make life better for their kids.

Like a lot of parents, but unfortunately, not all parents.

In America today there are an estimated 21 million kids like Seth in college. I'm fortunate to see some on most days. Wonderful, smart kids. Lots of big schools like Michigan, Penn State, Temple, and the University of Texas. Smaller ones, too, like Wilkes College and Chapman University in California, and those in between like Drexel.

But college graduates' earnings have gone flat and bottomed out, along with jobs and the economy. The right blames a liberal president who let the deficit go out of  control; the left blames a different president who spent billions on 2 wars.

In the presidential election of  2016, there's a lot at stake. Americans may go to the polls not to vote candidates, but issues, like immigration; climate change; relations with China, Iran, North Korea, Europe and Russia; plus the environment; abortion, and helping lower income families gain economic equality to send more kids to college.

Making schools good schools, like where I went: Harriton, Mansfield, and Penn State. But not all schools are good, especially in the inner cities, where the drop out rate is running at 50 percent. The drop outs leave school reading and doing math at elementary school grade levels.

They are not employable and end up either dead, incarcerated, or on the doll. The right and the left beat that around, too, blaming each other.

But here's the thing I'm pondering: My friend Pete and I get together every other month for wine and dinner. Sometimes we have more wine than dinner. Okay, most times. Sometimes our conversation turns to politics. He's right, I'm left. Both of us, however, have pockets of right and left mixed into our ideology.

But neither of us gets mad. I listen to him; I hope he listens to me. When things get heated, we change the discussion back to baseball. We're careful not to let politics ruin our friendship.

That's rather unique, don't you think? I can't do that with most people.

Why?

I'm not sure, but I do know this. There are  issues to ponder between now and 2016. They have to be dealt with the way Pete and I do: Not in anger, or bullying or mocking —  but trying to listen and understand — while staying within the debate peacefully, respectfully, without malice.

It's not easy to do, but if he and I can get through it, maybe most Americans can. Stranger things have happened,

I'm not saying political discussion in American has ever been in harmony. Nor, am I naive enough to think it will ever happen. But it seems to me it's getting too far one-sided, without both sides at lease listening.

We owe it to the young women and men in America like Seth, and all kids in this wonderful country who want a chance.

Happy Fourth of July, and God bless America!

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