Hamilton: Do all lives matter?
January 5, 2017
Depending on one's value system, it can be said that some lives can be judged to be of more value than others. Mother Theresa comes to mind. So, if you can find a place where ambient urban light does not blot out the Milky Way, lie out under the stars and planets some cloudless night and contemplate how we humans fit into the infinite Universe.
While lying there, try to realize that if it were not for the Law of Gravity (which, despite some liberal claims, President-Elect Trump does not intend to have repealed), each of us would be hurled out into space. After all, we are traveling around the Sun at 67,000 miles-per-hour and the Earth is rotating at 1,040 miles-per-hour. No telling how far centrifugal force would fling humankind out into space. (Probably, depends on body mass.) Ergo: we can thank our Creator for the Law of Gravity and Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein for explaining Gravity to us. But, lest those three fail us, it might be a good idea to keep our seat belts fastened at all times.
So, realizing we are the tiniest imaginable specks in a Universe so large that it is beyond imagination, we come to the question: Do some human lives matter more than some other human lives? And, if so, to whom?
Human nature being what it is, we can posit that most humans would like to amount to something, to be lauded by their peers for their accomplishments. Granted, we are not all born physically or mentally equal nor are we all nurtured by loving, well-educated parents. So, if life were played out on an Olympic running track, the starting blocks would be staggered way back around the track.
Inexplicably, some, whose starting blocks were at the very front, stumble and fall. Others, whose circumstances placed them well behind the others, somehow manage to struggle forward and be first across the finish line. Countless books on leadership and management are written trying to explain why some people succeed and why some people fail.
But success or failure, like beauty or ugliness, is in the eyes of the beholders. Consider the genetic scientist whose minor discovery does not garner acclaim but one day leads to the prevention of cancer. Consider as well the scientist whose string of failures points the way for other scientists to go in more promising directions. Both lives matter. Or, to quote the poet, John Milton: "…They also serve who only stand and wait.
But it gives one pause to see so many of today's millennial-snowflake, youth shuffling along, eyes downcast, thinking their tattered jeans, scruffy facial hair, tattoos, and body piercings count for something, while their ear buds blot out any chance of hearing the kind of still, small, inner-voice that must have spoken to a Mother Theresa, a George Washington Carver, a Thomas Edison, or to a Jonas Salk. President Ronald Reagan often spoke about the optimist who looked at a pile of manure and, "There's got to be a pony in there somewhere." So, we end the tumultuous year 2016 with the certainty that all lives matter and with hope for a better 2017 to come.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the Army Language School, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.