Pismo Beach is a picturesque vacation destination for middle-class families
of the 1950s. It is here I learn a valuable lesson that endures a lifetime.
Dad is stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1958. So he rents a beachfront apartment for the summer where his family stays after school ends in Bakersfield. We are all excited, naturally.
At first chance my sisters and I stroll the beach. The Pacific waves crashing the shore are gigantic. We walk the pier where wide spaces between the planks expose the violent surf below. I am awestruck by the majesty.
We locate an isolated section of the beach where I immediately begin the project of constructing a sand castle. I mix the sand with seaweed to give it strength and build tall towers. The final product is impressive, even by my sisters’ standards.
It gets notice also from teenage boys down the beach. They come running as if to inspect. “Nice castle, turdboy. Wonder how long before the tide washes it away?”
Suddenly, one of the kids throws a punch at the towers. They come crashing down. Then the others join in by stomping what’s left. Bullies get their way – whether on a beach or on the world stage. My first experience at castle building. And its aftermath.
The lesson drawn is that whenever one endeavors to build, another is determined to destroy. The World Trade Center towers were but glorified sand castles waiting for the first set of bullies to take them down. Domestic or foreign, it makes no difference. The towers were an iconic symbol of America’s greatness, hence, an obvious target. Sand castles.
What are cyber attacks but intimidators stomping high-tech sand castles? Like children on the playground, what one builds, another destroys. Hackers are nothing but old-fashioned mischief-makers, same as the 50s beach boys tearing down my impressive castle. Some characters on the world stage only get their fix when hurting others. Our entire civilization would crumble if caustic forces were allowed to proceed.
The fact an African-American ascends to the highest office in the world ignites a destructive element not seen in America since the Civil War. Barack Obama is now an American trophy, a tower targeted by bullies, not only foreign but domestic. In this sense, Al Qaeda and Republicans are on the same level playing field. The Republican Party has reshaped itself into a domestic bully willing to harm the nation to bring down a historic president.
Bullies are not builders, but demolishers. They see what someone else has erected and are obsessed by a violent vein to kick it down. Why does the right oppose rebuilding infrastructure? Because it’s not their role as bullies to repair, but to impair.
Not only does Lincoln roll over in his grave after witnessing his party’s conversion into the party of racists, Eisenhower rolls over in his for Republicans opposing the building of world-class infrastructure. And Teddy Roosevelt rolls over in his when seeing what Republicans are doing to the parks and wilderness.
Losers do not hate for what others have; they hate for what others do. Scientific rule of human nature: For every constructive endeavor, there’s a destructive element.
I experience the same in the union movement. After years of striving to build a strong organization, along comes the bully newcomer determined to destroy. What I thought to be enduring is but another sand castle sabotaged by another bully.
Obama has been attacked by bullies since before he was first sworn in. They met on the night of his first Inaugural to plan his destruction.
Bully Republicans have vowed to take this President down, even if it means taking the country down with him. Every congressional hearing, every manufactured scandal, every probe is intended to injure Obama.
I see sand castles all over America. Not only is militant Islam determined to attack the U.S., but domestic terrorists as well – including elements of the Tea Party with their warped concept of history and American governance. America is too beautiful not to be despised by the ugly.
I see Barack Obama as that innocent child on Pismo Beach trying to build a unique, sturdy castle for everyone to enjoy. But his innocence betrays him by failing to recognize the bullies down the beach. Not everyone in the other party are as in love with apple pie and the American way as our innocent President imagines. In fact, the majority of his opponents are bullies willing to sacrifice the nation just to watch Obama’s castle fall.
The tide comes in invariably to sweep everyone’s castle away. Sure, the natural forces of the universe will eventually crush our endeavors. We’ll be dissolved like sand into extinction. The tectonic plates will move to form new continents or combine to form one giant land mass as it was millions of years ago. Yellowstone’s cyclical eruption will inevitably transform the continent into an ash heap…if we’re not terminated by another killer asteroid before. Climate change will show its full impact in 50 years or so. These are forces we can’t avoid, or at least it’s too late to attempt cures (thanks in part to the Republican Party).
But bullies? We can prevent their destruction. By standing up to them. But first, we must first recognize them as agitators, full of mischief, racing down the beach to crush whatever we’ve built.
It’d be a shame for our American sand castle to suffer a premature death due to the fact we allowed the immature to accomplish their goals instead of fulfilling ours.