Several years ago I was at my brother’s house helping clear away some branches and debris that had fallen in his backyard during a storm. My brother and I were cutting up larger branches and passing them to our sons to drag to the back of the yard to be burned. It was kind of a manly bonding experience, and the young boys were enjoying working and getting a little sweaty and dirty. At one point, as he was grabbing an armload of twigs, swept up in the roughness of the moment, my 8-year-old nephew asked, “What do we do with this shit?”
Surprised (because this was an uncharacteristic vocabulary for the little guy) I said, “What did you say?”
“I didn’t say what you think I said,” he blurted out.
This story always amuses me because it illustrates the working of a child’s mind.
What doesn’t amuse me is hearing our President (an unapologetic racist) use the same childish reasoning when denying coarse and racist comments made about Haiti and Africa. Nor am I amused by the equally childish forgetfulness of senators Cotton and Perdue, who are afraid to confront the President’s racism — or perhaps, what’s more likely, they are racists, too. We live in a country that was once a world leader, a country that claims to hold a lamp for those seeking refuge from tyranny, injustice, and discrimination. When our so-called leaders engage in behavior that is typical of 8 year olds, it’s time to re-examine our role in the world. And it’s time for new leaders.