From Jim Killebrew, guest blogger: Response to Massacres of Innocent Children

Dr. Killebrew is a retired orthopedic surgeon and close friend from high school in Nashville and a fraternity brother at Davidson College. He has joined me on something like a dozen sailing adventures in the Caribbean. He lives in LaGrange, Georgia, in the heart of the Deep South. He was a lifelong, moderate Republican prior to the Age of Trump when he became an Independent. Here is his petition to his elected officials in Georgia:

An open letter to Senators Johnny Isakson, David Perdue and Congressman Drew Ferguson


Once again a mass killing has put gun control at the top of our nation’s political agenda. Once again there is a national outpouring of grief and sorrow over the insane shooting of innocents.  Once again the focal point of debate is gun control and the NRA.  Once again, I suspect, this momentary tidal wave of emotion will recede and calmer waters will return, until, with the same degree of certainty as the ebb and flood of the tide itself, the next wave occurs.  You can bet on it.  It’s not a question of if, only when and where.  As someone has said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  If we continue the skillful neglect of this issue, then it is we who are insane.

I am a gun owner who does not belong to the NRA, so I come to this issue not as an extremist but as an “alt centrist,” if you will.   I don’t want to have guns confiscated.   I do want the mass killings to stop.

I think it would be good for us as a nation to keep our eye on the ball here, and the “ball” is mass shootings, which is a different problem from guns used in, say, armed robberies, or inner city gang homicides, or domestic shootings, or self-inflicted shootings, either intentional or accidental.  The gun issue is a multifactorial one which will not yield to one sweeping piece of legislation.  Rather, it will require different approaches tailored to each of the differing problems. That said, surely we can all agree that measures should be taken to bring mass shootings to a halt.  The perpetrators of these atrocious acts would seem to be, at least temporarily, mentally unbalanced, and, unquestionably, armed to the teeth. 

 I fail to understand why any civilian needs to possess weapons with the continuous firepower of those used in the recent mass shootings.  Someone is going to have to explain to me why any law abiding citizen needs to own multiple clips and multiple magazines, each holding 15 or 20 or 30 or 50 or more rounds. To what end?  Certainly not hunting.  Certainly not target practice or competition. Certainly not to control vermin or armadillos. The only reasons I can think of involve doing bad things. 

So, without limiting gun ownership at all, why not try to limit their continuous firepower?  Place controls on the number of clips and magazines one can own, and on their capacity.  We already limit shotguns to three shells plus a plug.  We already proscribe ownership of automatic weapons.  No less a personage than the late Supreme Court Justice John Scalia voiced his opinion that rights, including those granted under the Second Amendment are not without limits.  We can’t own machine guns.  We can’t own bazookas.  We can’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater.   This ought to be a slam dunk, though I acknowledge that in the realm of legislation there is no such thing.  What to do about oversized magazines already in circulation would have to be addressed.  It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

As for the other part of the problem, the mental derangement of the perpetrators themselves, we should improve background checks.  I fail to understand why such checks are deemed unnecessary at gun shows.  Beyond that, I know there are difficulties.  Mental derangement can first appear long after the purchase of a weapon; so addressing that issue gets us into murky territory, certainly more contentious than putting limits on the continuous firepower afforded by oversized magazines.  All that said, steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who use them to do bad things must be enhanced. 

Gun control advocates may say that what I propose here doesn’t go nearly far enough.  To them I would say that overreach risks getting nothing.  The gun lobby may say that these proposals go too far.  To them I would say that the continued stonewalling of any and all efforts to remedy the current situation risks waking up one day and finding that a ground swell of revulsion has led to the loss of all gun freedoms.  The more extreme a pendulum’s starting point, the greater its arc in the opposite direction.

The first responsibility of government is the protection of the public.  We, the public here in Georgia and Troup County, look to you, our elected leaders, to stand up and step forward to address this recurring public menace and national nightmare.  Consider for  moment all the collective energy and national treasure we expend countering threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea and ISIS, not one of which has thus far shot dead a single American school child.  So, let’s all get our eyes on the ball.  Act now to curtail and end the insanity of mass shootings.

Respectfully yours,

Jim Killebrew

LaGrange, Georgia

Note that this letter was written in 2018 in response to the killings that year in the Parkland, not the Uvalde Massacre. I do not believe he ever received a response. There were fewer than 300 million guns in the U.S. at the time. Today there are over 400 million.

Guns Again…..

Hey, do you think those school killings this week in Texas  will hurt us with the voters? There seems to a lot of fuss, and some are blaming us Republicans for opposing gun control.

Hell, no! All the fuss will die off in a couple of days as it always does, and besides we’ve got  conspiracy theories raging on social media: the Democrats had hired the guy to snuff out all those kids for the sole purpose of trying to ram gun control down the throats of the American people. Just watch. Gun sales will soar. Not a single Republican Senator will vote to take away our sacred weapons. And the Dems won’t be able to  overcome our filibuster in the Senate to pass anything hindering our Second Amendment rights. We will trounce them in the mid terms  for trying. Hey, is this a great country or what?

How Racist Are We in the U.S. Anyway?

Last week I received the following email from my dear friend, Roger, a Brit, who in the summer of 1963 worked with me and other college students on the mean streets of New York’s Lower East Side.  We worked with disadvantaged kids—mainly African American and Latino– at two small churches on Henry Street, which were at the time mission “chapels” of Trinity Parish on Wall Street. Roger is now retired after a successful, long ministry as an Anglican clergyman in various parishes in the Liverpool metro area.  

What does your blog have to say about the following – found in “The Guardian” (more left wing than otherwise, and the only newspaper we take)?
“White supremacy is as American as apple pie. What we saw in Buffalo last week is another manifestation of it.”
“The Trump forces have gotten stronger”. “Race is the most explosive issue the history of this country: from war to civic strife to Buffalo”
Dare I ask “where are y’all in the U.S. going? Are we much better?” It’s scary for our children and grandchildren…!
You’re the blogger. Any answers?


Short answer, Roger, yes and no. Yes, we are a racist country, and no, you Brits are not much better.

Here is the long answer:

I attribute the current situation in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd and other African Americans, and the “Black Lives Matter” protests that followed–and more recently the Buffalo massacre–to two things: old fashioned tribalism and the legacy of slavery in the U.S.

We homo sapiens on the Planet Earth evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago from our ancestors that banded together to form small tribes, which gave them an edge over those who tried to go it alone. The Us versus Them, stick together mentality gave them a leg up. It has found its way into our DNA.

I like to say that we humans are basically herd animals. We band together and follow a leader, often an alpha male. Anything that challenges the unity of the tribe—or is considered “Other,” or “not like us” –is considered threatening. This is not a uniquely American phenomena. It is a fact of life all over the world. And it is not always about race. Remember the Holocaust, the current get-tough actions of China toward its minority Muslim population in  western China, the genocide in Myanmar against the Rohingya people, the massacres in Rwanda, and tribal conflicts throughout sub-Saharan and North Africa. The list is long. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Racism may be “as American as apple pie,” but tribalism is part of our humanity, albeit the dark side. We are stuck with it. The question is how we contain it.

Why racial tribalism in the United States? Our legacy is slavery. But I should point out that you Brits do not get off the hook. You were involved in transporting slaves from Africa to the U.S. That is the origin of my favorite hymn (and the name of my third sailboat) “Amazing Grace.” It is a disgraceful history. Prior to the Civil War slaves were considered property and in 1787 were counted as three-fifths of a person for determining congressional representation and taxation from slave states. At the time this was considered a reasonable compromise. In Plessy v Ferguson the U.S. Supreme in 1896 upheld legal segregation, which led to more than sixty years of Jim Crow laws and lynching in the South. It is hard to believe now, but I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee at a time when schools, lunch counters, public transportation, rest rooms, housing, neighborhoods, and just about everything else was segregated by law in the South. Even worse, we did not think that much about it. It was just the way things were. There was no question about whether Whites were superior. Blacks were “other” and to some, not fully human.

So compared to where we are now to where we were in the 1950s, we have come a long way. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was certainly a defining moment for me and, I think, for Embry and changed our lives in ways for which we both will be forever grateful.

Some protest that we really have not made that much progress and that we are stuck in a racist society. Good heavens! We have had an African American as President of our country.  African Americans now run top U.S. corporations, attend American’s finest schools, hold public office throughout the country, and segregation has been illegal since 1954. Of course, we have made progress. And, of course, it is not nearly enough.

What I believe we are experiencing now is a last gasp backlash fueled in part by economic seismic changes in our country where a hefty portion the White working class feels their position has slipped, and the rise of African Americans in the U.S. has come at their expense. Good jobs have been shipped overseas. Unions have almost disappeared, and many White people are struggling to get by. An African American may now be their boss.  African Americans they know may live in better homes and make more money than they are making.  They see African Americans as getting a bigger piece of the pie, that African Americans have gotten the lucky breaks.

 It is not just many in the White working class that have pushed back, however, there are a lot of others who are still stuck in the attitudes of the pre-civil rights era and who remain for whatever reason racists. I think an argument could be made that due to history and upbringing and the nature of our humanity—tribalism, if you will—we White folks, all of us, could plead guilty for being prejudiced from time to time. Sad but true. We are all guilty.

So, the real question is what we are going to do about it. Where do we go from here? The answer is we press on. Yes, we remain a racist country in many ways, some of them subtle (“de facto segregation”), but we have made progress—enormous progress compared to where we were during my childhood. We cannot let the country slip into tribalism and allow discrimination and acts of violence against people of color to continue or, as things now stand, increase.

There is no easy answer. And as they say, the devil is in the details. A lot depends on leadership. Afterall we are herd animals. We need enlightened, courageous progressive leaders. The “Trump insurgency” must be fought at every turn, and progressives must be elected. Tougher laws must be passed regarding hate crimes. We need gun control. Elections must remain legitimate.  There is a long list. I also believe that we must level the playing field so that all Americans who work can make a living wage and the Great Disparity between the haves and have-nots shrinks. I know, wishful thinking; but if we can’t tackle the excesses of capitalism, we will not heal the wounds that cause working people to turn against each other based on race. And most of all, we can’t allow our country to slip into tribalism in the extreme and totalitarianism, which is the Elephant in the Room, whose name is Donald J Trump.



My Advice to Biden on Ukraine

Thank you, Mr. President, for reaching out to me via email for my advice regarding Ukraine. I had no idea that you are one of my most loyal blog followers, and I am humbled that you consider me the one person whose insight about foreign policy you value the most.

Here are my recommendations:

  1. Keep in mind that 2022 is not 1939. The biggest mistake we Americans have made in the past is fighting a current war because of lessons learned from a past one. Putin is a scoundrel, but he is not Hitler, and Russia is not Germany in the 1930s. Both Republicans and Democrats have fought wars based on faulty information and wrong assumptions—Vietnam, Iraq II, and Afghanistan. There is plenty of blame to go around for these failed efforts. Don’t allow yourself to join the club.
  2. From bad intelligence or sheer ego Putin thought the Ukrainians would welcome the Russian “liberators” with open arms. The “special operation” would be over in weeks if not days, with Zelensky, considered by many to be a lightweight, surrendering. Casualties would be few. Facing Russian armed forces many times larger than the Ukraine army, the Ukraine army would cave, and Zelensky would have no choice but to waive a white flag. Putin concluded correctly that there would not be much anyone could do about it without risking another World War, which he also correctly concluded neither we nor our NATO allies have a stomach for. I do not know if this incursion was contemplated to be the first of many to follow, which would restore the Russian territory to essentially what it was under Peter the Great but suspect that it must at least have been in the back of Putin’s mind. He has let it be known many times that his mission is to “Make Russia Great Again,” whatever that means. It is a fair guess that this was  his motive. He has stated publicly that he resents the fact that the West has tried to humiliate Russia, reneged on its promise not to allow European countries on Russian borders to join NATO, and dissed him and his country on numerous occasions. Making Russia great again is how he wants his legacy to read, how he wants to go down with high marks in the Russian history books.
  3. And what has happened? The war so far has been a near total disaster for Russia. Ukraine not only has been able to hold its own on most of the fighting, but it has also retaken territory that has been occupied by Russia, sunk many Russian ships in the Black Sea including their flagship, and killed thousands of Russian soldiers, perhaps close to a dozen generals, taken out hundreds of Russian tanks, many thousand trucks and heavy artillery. Russian troop morale is reported to be low with desertions increasing.
  4. Of course, the damage to Ukraine is horrendous. Thousands of apartment houses have been obliterated, and many towns and villages are ghost towns. Russians have bombed schools and hospitals, lined up civilians and executed them, raped Ukrainian women, and committed countless war crimes. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers have died. But the country has not broken. And even worse for Putin, the two holdouts, Sweden and Finland, are now poised to join NATO.
  5. The surprise element that Putin apparently did not count on was the quick NATO, unified response to provide the arms and modern weapons to level the playing field. That part has succeeded beyond expectations so far and has been the “game changer.” Russian casualties are estimated to be many thousands, some sources say over a third of its fighting force. Without bringing in many more forces and weapons, many experts conclude that Russia probably no longer has the power to win a victory over Ukraine using conventional weapons. (Note the qualification: “using conventional weapons.”)
  6. So, the question that you and others both in the U.S. and NATO are struggling with is this: what to do next. With our help and that of NATO by providing modern weapons, Ukraine has got the Russian army on the ropes. Do you go for the knockout? Do you let an opportunity like this go to waste, to teach Putin a lesson he will have to live with forever? Do you now  set an example for other despots and dictators that taking over countries by force is no longer permitted– at least in the developed world? Many advisors say yes, go for it when you have the chance. Give Zelensky whatever additional support he needs and stay the course. It is now our game to lose. Do not let this opportunity slip away. Italy, Germany, and France, however, are urging negotiations and a resolution allowing Russia to keep a portion of the eastern part of the country. They want the war to end sooner rather than later. What should the U.S. do?
  7. I side with the European members of NATO, Mr. President. The risks are too great if the war continues for an extended period. There are many differences between 1939 and 2022, but the most important one is that the other side has nuclear weapons. Lots of them. They also have chemical and biological weapons. The risk that these weapons could be used is too great not to find a solution to draw this terrible war to a close without getting us into World War III. We must find an offramp to allow Putin to avoid the kind of humiliation that would lead him to respond with the unthinkable. We have got to find a solution that will allow him to save face.
  8. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962? If people try to tell you that Khrushchev backed down because he was a wimp and scared of the U.S., remind them that the reason the Soviet ships turned around was because a back-channel deal had been cut for the U.S. to remove our missiles from Turkey and Italy. The bottom line is this: We have got to come up with a deal that will allow Putin to declare “victory” of sorts and bring the war to a close.  Ruthless dictators are a lot of things. One of them is not  a wimp. If he feels cornered, Putin will fight with all he has. His ego will not let him lose.
  9. I know that it is not in our power to make this decision. The war is between Ukraine and Russia, not—at least not yet—between the U.S. and NATO allies versus Russia, though it seems to me getting very close to a proxy war. In any event, Zelensky must be part of the solution. But we and our NATO allies are the only reason Ukraine can hold off Russia. Without our support, Ukraine is toast. We have considerable leverage on this one.
  10. So here is the deal that I think will work: Ukraine agrees to let Putin have a small portion of land in eastern Ukraine which provides the “safe boundary” he says he is looking for. Ukraine agrees not ever to join NATO, and gradually we lift the sanctions. Russia pulls out, and the war is over.I know that the negotiations will be difficult to determine how much land Putin gets to keep. I know it will take time to reach an agreement, but for this war to go on for months longer leaves more dead bodies of innocent civilians and destroyed towns and villages in its wake. And if it appears that there is no offramp for Trump to save face, it risks the use of the unthinkable.
  11. There will be other issues, of course, war crimes prosecution at the top of the list and the sanctions. And there will be a lot of give and take on the basic framework, but this must happen. If Putin is forced into a corner and uses “unconventional weapons,” this could result in World War III and the end of the world as we know it. As to whether Putin would take a negotiated settlement as a green light to go after the Baltics, I believe is highly unlikely. This venture has been a catastrophe for Russia, and he knows it. The Russian people will figure this out if they haven’t already. Why would he try something like this again?

Get it done, Chief, you can do it!

And thanks again for reading my blog regularly. Your kind comments are always welcomed.

Your good friend and advisor,


What would YOU do?

A Play In One Act

  • Setting: The Oval Office
  • Characters: Joe Biden, Advisor 1, Advisor 2

Biden: Welcome to the Oval Office, gentlemen. I have summoned you here because I need your advice about the War in Ukraine. Though the Ukrainians are making a heroic effort to hold off the Russians—thanks in large part to our weapons–it looks like the war could go on for quite a while with many more casualties. I am not sure what to do. I need your advice.

Advisor 1: Stay the course, Mr. President. With our weapons and the sanctions now falling into place, the Ukrainians will win. Putin made a terrible mistake and he knows it. He has lost thousands of troops, many of his best generals, several thousand tanks and even more heavy artillery. And what has he achieved? Killing thousands of innocent civilians and destroying villages and towns and cities, but not much more. He is a pariah and hated by the free world. David is standing up to Goliath. Putin is being humiliated. I say we can win this war. We can punish Russia, isolate them and put them in their place. Teach Putin a lesson and teach the world a lesson that conquering other countries will no longer be tolerated. This is your chance for greatness, Mr. President. This will be your legacy—standing up to tyranny. No Neville Chamberlin, you. You have drawn a line in the sand, and it is working.

Biden: Thank you very much, Advisor. It is always nice to feel appreciated and to know you are doing the right thing.

Advisor 2: Not so fast, Mr. President, if I may. I am the foremost Russian expert in the U.S. and maybe in the world. I have spent my entire career studying the country and their leaders—especially Putin. I hate Putin as much as anybody, but I have to tell you he will not accept defeat. If he feels cornered, he will react like a threatened animal and lash back. He will not accept humiliation or defeat. And besides staying the course means the war will continue for months, perhaps longer, and many more innocent civilians will die. But it could get even worse and impact a lot more people than the Ukrainians. A lot of countries depend on wheat and grain from Ukraine. The farmers in Ukraine have traded their pitchforks for AK 47s. They are not planting wheat. Every country in North Africa depends on Ukrainian wheat for survival. So do other countries. The world is facing massive starvation if the war continues for much longer. You have got to figure a way out of this. This war needs to stop and stop soon.

Advisor 1: Excuse me, Advisor 2. You certainly could not be suggesting that our President cut and run just when we have the chance to see Putin humiliated and weaken Russia forever. Intellectuals are leaving the country, and there are signs that the Russian people are unhappy with all the sanctions. President Biden would go down as a wimp and a loser if he gives in while ahead.

Biden: Thank you, Advisor. I do not want to be a wimp or a loser.

Advisor 1:  Besides what could Putin do anyway? His army is pathetic. If he can’t take over a  country like Ukraine, how much of a threat could he be to us or NATO countries?

Advisor 2: It is called nuclear weapons. Do you want me to spell that out for you. N-U-C….

Advisor 1. Oh, please. Don’t try to pull the nukes-scare trick. Nobody would dare to do that. It would mean the end of the world as we know it. There is nothing to worry about, Mr. President. No worries. Advisor 2 does not know what he is talking about. MAD, “Mutually Assured Destruction.” He nukes us. We nuke them. No winners. Nuclear war will not happen.

Advisor 2. Putin has said more than once that he will use nuclear weapons if left with no options. I know this man. I know that when he feels he has no other options, he will use nuclear weapons.

Biden: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have?

Advisor 2. Just short of 6,000. 5,977 to  be exact.

Biden: And us?

Advisor 2: Nowhere close. 1,389 active, 2,361 inactive but available, and 1,800 in line to be dismantled.

Biden: So if Putin did decide to use nuclear weapons, that would not be good, right?

Advisor 2: Right, Mr. President.

Biden: And we would have to retaliate, right?

Advisor 2: Correct, Mr. President.

Biden: I think we should put a hold on dismantling the 1,800.

Advisor 1: Scare tactics. Don’t fall for it.

Biden: So what then do you recommend, Advisor 2?

Advisor 2: Cut a deal. Let Putin have eastern Ukraine and declare victory and take his troops home.

Biden: But that is not what the Ukrainians want. We have told them repeatedly that it is their decision to make to end the war, not ours.

Advisor 1: Plus, it shows we are a bunch of wussies. We would  have let Putin get away with murder. He will come back and attack what is left of Ukraine again and then go after Moldova and then the Baltics. He won’t stop until he has expanded Russia to be the size it was under Peter the Great or Stalin. He is the new Hitler. Do you want to be the new Neville Chamberlin?

Biden: What do I tell Zelensky?

Advisor 2: You tell him to cut a deal.

Advisor 1: Traitor.

Advisor 2: Do the arithmetic. No deal—tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dead in Ukraine, mainly civilians. Starvation in North Africa and possibly—I would argue probably—hundreds of millions dead in the U.S., Western Europe, and Russia and the end of the world as we know it. Deal–bruised ego for Zelensky, angered diehard Ukrainian nationalists, but the bombing and killing would stop. Wheat for North Africa. That is the tradeoff.

Biden: What if Putin does not take the deal?

Advisor 2: Offer to end the sanctions and banking restrictions.

Biden: If that does not do it?

Advisor 2: Give him his yachts back.

Biden: And if that does not work?

Advisor: Give the oligarchs their mansions overseas and their boats back.

Biden: What else?

Advisor 2: Tell him you will order McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks to reopen immediately. The Russian people will love him for that. A deal sealer. He will be more popular than ever.

Advisor 1. Don’t listen to him. This is your chance for greatness, your legacy of  standing up against tyranny, fighting for justice, democracy and American values. You can’t give in to this nonsense and scare tactics. History will not look kindly on you.

Biden: I will give it some thought and get back to you.


Question: If you were President Biden, what would you do?










Last week Embry and I attended the reunion for my high school Class of 1960. I attended a private school for boys called Montgomery Bell Academy–“MBA”–located in Nashville, Tennessee. I have fond memories of MBA. Most teachers were good, a few excellent, and I made a half dozen or so great friends that I have remained close to for over 60 years.

When I entered the school as a freshman in 1956, I was coming off a year at home where I was recovering from a spinal fusion to straighten my backbone that looked like the letter “C,” a casualty caused by losing my stomach muscles two years earlier due to polio. I could not play sports and for most of my high school years had a full, upper body cast.  For this reason, I am especially grateful to MBA for the opportunity created for me to become MBA’s first “student trainer.” Being a student trainer was the next best thing to playing a sport.  I taped ankles and wrapped knees and cheered my classmates playing football, basketball, and running track. Our teams then were not great, but they were good, and my classmates played with a lot of heart. Tommy Owen, the head coach, was a legendary coach, who was loved and respected by everyone I knew. Since I spent a lot of time in the trainer’s room next to his office, after practice he and I were often the only two people in the locker room. He became for me a role model and mentor. The summer following my freshman year in college I accepted his invitation to be the head boys’ counselor at a summer camp, which was then (regrettably) called “Camp Easter Seal for Crippled Children,” an experience which made me appreciate how much courage and determination those handicapped kids had. It also made me realize that I had gotten off pretty easy myself as a “crippled child”.

Fast forward 62 years. In the MBA Class of 1960, we are now all 80 or will be soon. We are old codgers, the oldest reunion class to be included in the annual five-year MBA class reunions. It will probably be our last. MBA was small when we were students. There were only about 50 boys in our class. About a third have died including one of my best friends, about a third attended the reunion, and there was not much information about the balance who did not show up. Some live out of town. I suspect many may be struggling with health issues. Others have lost interest. I remember reading somewhere that if you consult mortality and morbidity tables, you will find that the number of survivors in school reunions tracks close to what actuaries and demographers predict. Such is life—and death—on the planet Earth.

Reunions for me have tended to be emotionally exhausting. It is always great to see old friends. Several of my MBA close friends were able to make it. Reconnecting with them is always the best part, and this reunion was no exception. It seems you pick up just where you left off the last time you were together. I remembered and talked with everyone who was there, which is one of the benefits of going to a small school. Wives were present at this reunion as well, and that was also a good thing even though Embry complained that most of the time, she had to introduce herself while I was off reuniting with classmates.

But I do not think that reconnecting is what causes the emotional exhaustion. It is what goes on in your mind thinking about what it all means or, to be more specific, what your own life means. How do you compare with those around you? Have you given your life’s journey your best shot? Have you made a positive contribution? How do your values compare to those of your classmates? Of course, there are no easy answers to these questions.

One friend warned me ahead of time not to talk about diversity or inclusion and that most in our class remained “generally conservative”. Well, that I could understand since I grew up in a conservative family and am a product of Nashville’s social class structure. So, I kept my mouth shut regarding politics; and when asked by one person if I thought, “like everyone in Nashville did,” that Biden is a crook and should be impeached and thrown in jail, I politely said “no” and changed the subject.

Politics, of course, was the elephant in the room. If we had opened this Pandora’s Box, who knows where it would have taken us? I know most of my classmates would probably have different opinions from mine but not how many would be Trump supporters or would have applauded the now infamous Alito draft Supreme Court decision on abortion or be against same sex marriage or for banning “woke” books and those discussing Critical Race Theory. I do not want to know. I want to think that we are all on the same page and share basically the same values. But I also know that our country is deeply divided, probably more so than at any other point in our history except the Civil War. Good people are on both sides. So, for reunions it is best to let those sleeping dogs lie.