Musings On A Worsening World — The Fostering of Fear and The Crushing of Compassion

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So many thoughts swirling through my head, as the world experiences random deadly actions by a few who are determined to foster a fear that will crush compassion.

These Terrorist attacks are successful mostly because of the 24/7 blabbering of far to many with nothing important to say – Just a desire to fill the airwaves and print media with speculation and exaggeration in hopes that something they say will be noticed, quoted or tweeted!

Calls for more war and additional loss of freedoms as secret, unsupervised national organizations spy on and collect information on every citizen is today’s modus operandi.

It is just a matter of time before the threat against Washington, DC is carried out.  How do you stop crazed and brainwashed people willing to blow themselves up?  You can’t!

The threat on Washington, DC hit home —
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In 1965, I selected The George Washington University because of my interest in Public and International Affairs AND because of its location in Washington, DC, within walking distance of all branches of our Government and the Library of Congress.
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Four wonderful year beginning in the fall of 1966 and ending in the spring of 1970.
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There were no barricades!  There were no metal detectors at every door! The only restricted access was to the President’s home.  We could be admitted to the White House Tour w/ a ticket from one of our Senators. A simple procedure to manage numbers.
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The Capitol was open and accessible w/o impediment.  I always put on a coat and tie before I headed for the Hill.  Those were different times and I had had a proper and fairly formal upbringing.
1966
I am seated with my three brothers standing – 1966
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The most direct route to The Library of Congress (where GW students did their serious research) was though the Rotunda of the United States Capitol Building. 
United States Capitol
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I tried to plan research trips such that I could stop in the Senate Dining Room on the way to the Library.  You just needed to know where it was and a Capitol guard/guide had shown me early in my freshman year. I could, without any interference or security hurdles, just stop in the Senate dining room for lunch — Senators and staff eating at surrounding tables. No one concerned about who I was or why I was there.  The bean soup was a favorite.

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 I could go up to the Senate visitor’s gallery and observe what was happening on the Senate floor!  One memory being Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen filibustering! These were the days of a strong middle class, days when the political parties could work together for the good of the whole.
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The Library of Congress was every serious student’s dream! 
Library of Congress
You just walked in, found a seat, filled out cards for the books you wanted and they were retrieved from the stacks and brought to you.  On one occasion I challenged the staff member for not looking as I was sure the book was back there.  He said he would prove to me that it wasn’t and took me back into the stacks!  What an experience.  The book was there, a few spines out of place! This was before my Borders Books and Music days and the 18″ check in all four directions:):)
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I could walk along the White House fence and end up having a conversation with the First Lady and Lynda Bird Johnson as they walked the beagles on the White House lawn. (or I should say the beagles walked them)
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I could be 5 feet away from the President as he laid a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial and my family could see me there on the evening news – back when the evening news was news and not  24/7 blabbering.
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My Mother and I ended up being at the dedication of the FDR memorial as we were weary and sat for a few in the chairs set up outside the National Archives Building. All of a sudden the Roosevelt family started arriving and we just stayed in their midst for the dedication. No one asked who we were or why we were there and we laughed over the years as we speculated about people trying to figure that out from pictures and news coverage!
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The Washington, DC, that I loved and enjoyed, is no more. It is a guarded fortress that I still have great affection for and hate to see attacked.
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I am blessed to have loved and enjoyed this great city, this symbol of our Country, back when it really did belong to the people.

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5 Responses to Musings On A Worsening World — The Fostering of Fear and The Crushing of Compassion

  1. Lynne haggerty November 20, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    Thanks for sharing this Jim. You put it very well. I’m waiting for the inevitable cyber attack, forget ISIS. They’re just an annoyance. Like you, I’m so glad to look back on a more innocent time.

  2. Susan November 20, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    This is fascinating to me and almost inconceivable — my earliest political memories are Vietnam and Watergate. Washington has been a source of apprehension and fear/disdain for me, not a welcome seat of good government.

    Thank you for sharing a prettier picture of earlier times. I will continue to dream and hope for better days because without hope…we perish.

  3. Jean Lightfoot November 21, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    Very well said, Jim. Thank you for taking the time to write it. Good memories of an earlier time.

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