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America's Greatness

Original post made by Herbert Marshall, Parkside, on Mar 20, 2008

I know that this will make some people angry, however I feel compelled to write it. I´m up to
my spleen with hate mongers like Jeremiah Wright, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others
who take the position that white Americans have never taken any positive actions to help our
fellow black citizens. They further claim that our nation was built on the backs of the black
Americans, forgetting the thousands of Poles, Hungarians, Germans, Chinese and others who
worked and sweated to create our unique nation. They need to look today to the outstanding
African-American role models that abound in our nation: Kenneth Chenault, J. Herman Russell,
Condoleezza Rice and others that are leading the way to our future.

My Grand Grandfather and two of his brothers enlisted and fought in the Civil War to help free
the slaves. They were born in Scotland and immigrated in 1852 to Michigan; the way the
British treated the Scots make them lifelong haters of the mistreatment of their fellow men.
Another G-Grandfather was a minister in Ypsilanti, MI; his home was a station on the
Underground Railroad before the war. After the war many former slaves returned from Canada
to that area. They established their own church. For nearly 40 years he and other ministers
would go to their community on Sundays, after church and teach: reading, writing and
arithmetic. When he died nearly 100 former slaves walked in his funeral procession to show
their respect and love. These men did not stand and take bows; they just did their duty to their
fellow men. My ancestors were not unique; hundreds of others have similar stories to tell.

In my own case I was the Treasurer of a group formed, in the 1950´s, to clean out and reform
the St Louis, MO. School Board and we were able to assist in the election of the first black man
to the board. I worked with and for many black Americans throughout my career and found that
people respect those who show respect for them.

There is no question that the period of slavery in our history is a smear on our history, but I
seriously doubt that very many white men went into the back country of Africa to capture
slaves. The odious 2/3rds rule in the Constitution was probably the only possible compromise,
at the time, which let this nation come into being and reach its greatness. It is so easy to use
today´s standards to judge the past.

We can´t rest on our laurels but we must not let today´s hate mongers hide the many great
Americans who went before us. There is nothing that we can do today to erase the actions of
our ancestors. It is about time that we all forget ancient history and look to the future that we all
will share.

Herbert H Marshall
3202 Clifford Circle

Comments (26)

Posted by Fay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Let's live in today and not in the past. I think that is forgotten a lot when we are reminded what causians did to the slaves.

Posted by Janna
a resident of Mission Park
on Mar 20, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I'm sorry, I almost had to stop reading after you wrote that Condaleezza Rice is a great leader. She has a great responsibility, but it is as someone who helped lead our country into the immoral occupation of Iraq and the murder of its citizens. Unfortunately, she will never take responsibility or accountability for her role in these murders. There are no redeeming qualities in someone like that and never will be. She has blood on her hands like the rest of the Bush Administration.

Slavery was obviously so wrong, but as a white person, I feel I have no right to comment about how black people still feel about that time in history. I will never be able to truly understand what it all means to them, therefore, I will not judge anyone who still feels strongly about that time. If racism were less of an issue today, then I might feel differently. But it is alive and well and I would never tell anyone to get over it.

BTW, the reason were still in this national nightmare that is the occupation of Iraq is because of America's perceived greatness by its own citizens. Many of those who still believe that 'we're #1' crap unequivically, are merely living in decades past. How can a nation with a collapsing infrastructure, failing education system and 47 million Americans without health insurance (just to name a few things) be considered great? We are a legend in our own minds. Perhaps if more Americans were tuned in to what is really going on, then we might have a chance to redeem ourselves. Those things you mentioned above are the least of our problems today.

Posted by Proud to be an American
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Janna...I'd like to take up a collection to buy you a one-way ticket out of the USA....where would you like to go? Sounds like you've got it pretty bad here in this country that so many of us are proud to call home. Pack up your stuff and leave!

Posted by Susie
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 20, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Great idea...I'll glady contribute to rid our community of these negative Anti-Americans who conveniently forget that their right to free speech has been purchased by the blood of American soldiers! Amnerica is a great it or leave it! Thanks to Herbert for a well written commentary about the hatred spewed by Pastors who are supposed to be spreading the love of the Lord and the Good news of the Gospel.

Posted by A Proud Minority
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Mar 20, 2008 at 4:09 pm

First and foremost, though my ethnic background identifies me as someone coming from another country, I strongly identify myself as an American first. I strongly believe in the principles that this country was founded on, including the freedom of speech. Herbert is free to state his opinion on this forum as is Janna. To say that if someone doesn't agree with the policies of our leaders or our government that they should go home is ironically un-american. That is what makes this country great.

As for Herbert's assertion that we should forget the past and move on is exactly the reason racism continues in this country. We all need to accept it and continue to fight it. As Barack Obama eloquently stated, the minority community needs to understand that they need to look within themselves to uplift themselves, and that the white community needs to understand that minority communities have been subjected to discrimination for hundreds of years.

I know what it feels like to be a victim of racism, including the verbal and physical taunts. And this was in the Bay Area, a region of multiculturalism. Don't be naive in thinking racism isn't alive and well even here in Pleasanton in 2008. Just imagine what you would do or think if a group of african-american kids walked down Main Street talking loudly amongst themselves doing nothing but walking to school. Cross the street?

Bottom line, I don't agree with the heads of our churches spewing hatred against other groups, but if it takes a pastor/priest/minister to bring the fact that racism exists to our collective attention, then we all need to at least listen and understand.

Posted by Fay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Racism will live strong and long. History is important, but I think the tables have turned. The white community is the minority and are the ones that face racism from what their forefathers did to the black communities forefathers. May not be a popular opinion, but it is mine and I am entitled to it.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 20, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Bonjour Proud To Be An American,

I love living in the US! However, if you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is, I volunteer to leave the US on a First Class ticket in mid-May via Air France. I want to go to Donostia in the Basque Country. It’s especially beautiful in the spring!

I have no trouble with Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Miss Condi or Bush. I’m not certain if any of the above served in combat, but I recall Vietnam and it was a nightmare. As a soldier, I observed enormous suffering on all sides. It took me several years to move on with my life when I returned. In my opinion, Iraq is equally horrific as Vietnam. There will only be increased suffering on all sides if the Iraq war continues. I’m sorry that so many patriots have died. In war, everybody gets dirty and stinks. Nobody stinks anymore than anybody else. Good teamwork relies upon everybody doing his or her job. Color does not matter as it does in civilian life. I am happy for everybody that came home from Vietnam, whatever color/gender. Nobody wins a war.

I believe that Mr. Obama is a good man and not filled with hate. Time will tell.

Back to putting your money where your mouth is, arrangements can be made so that I can go Donostia soon. My passport is current and can be ready to leave as soon as May 15th.

Your pal Cholo….HOORAY! AGUR…

Posted by Janna
a resident of Mission Park
on Mar 20, 2008 at 5:08 pm

'Waaaahhhh, I don't like what someone said, so I'm going to tell them to get out of my country!' -Proud to be an American

It must be nice to think you're righteous enough to decide who is or isn't patriotic. Since I don't have my 'rah-rah America!' blinders on, I should go, eh? What a joke you are. I would never tell someone to leave the country because I don't agree with them. I think you'd probably like it to be a crime for anyone to point out that were not anywhere near perfect as a nation. Get me to Gitmo fast for some of that good old American water-boarding!

I believe to be a good American you must exercise your right to dissent. You have heard of that concept right? I'm wondering why you choose not to be good Americans in light of all the atrocities committed by us in the Middle East as well as other countries. Are you really that unaware of what's going on in your name? Are you proud of what America has done to Iraq and its people? Are you proud of what America has done to its own people by way of diverting tax payer money that's being wasted in Iraq?

Hey Susie, save your money for your church. I'm not going anywhere. By all means, keep your blinders on. Honestly, I'd rather not be so completely aware of all that's gone on in my name. Ignorance is truly bliss, I guess. Well, you think so right?

BTW, you both demonstrated my point perfectly, thanks!

Hey Cholo, enjoy your trip! :)

Posted by Namaste!
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 20, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Wow....Janna, take a deep breath, you seem to be SO angry. Perhaps you can engage in some deep breathing techniques or get some fresh air to relieve your negative energy. Your communicaion techniques totally negate any points you are trying to make; sarcastic comments make you appear unintelligent and foolish.

Posted by Veteran
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 20, 2008 at 6:54 pm


Thanks for pointing out the sacrifices of the many generations of Veterans of Foreign and Civil Wars that have made the USA the great country that it is today. I for one will be casting my vote for the Honorable John McCain, his service to our country and suffering as a POW make it possible for the hate mongers as well as loyal Americans to have freedom of speech. It's amazing to me that anyone would listen to the bologna that Jackson and Sharpton and Wright spew forth, their philosophy is twisted and furthermore they call themselves "Ministers of the Gospel". Obama has certainly shown his irresponsibilty by aligning himself with Jeremiah Wright, too bad he threw Grandma under the bus!

Posted by Rick
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 20, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Blacks were enslaved
Then persecuted.
Then segregated.
Then discrimintated against.

Now they are supposed fall in line, wave a flag, and forget about all the injustice
and cruelty of the past. One can never forget a past so filled with racism. The reverend Jeremiah Wright lived in a time when African Americans were treated as animals. He will not forget!

Barack Obama, in perhaps the greatest speech ever given by a presidential canditate, challenged us to look back and examine why African Americans still harbor pain and resentment because of this past. Now, with the help of the Fox noise channel, many are attacking Barrack and White as un- american. What a disgrace!

Posted by AL
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 20, 2008 at 7:52 pm


STOP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID!!! Everyone agrees about all of the horrible things that have been perpetuated on African Americans. But please, people like Jeremiah Wright divide people rather than unifying them.

You may be mesmorized by the inexperienced Mr. Obama, but he chose to be married by this crazy and took his two young chldren to hear his sermans weekly. To raise your young child with his hateful and racist messages, and then give a speech like he did, just makes him look like a big fraud.

Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 20, 2008 at 11:48 pm

"Janna...I'd like to take up a collection to buy you a one-way ticket out of the USA....where would you like to go? Sounds like you've got it pretty bad here in this country that so many of us are proud to call home. Pack up your stuff and leave!
Posted by Proud to be an American, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, 8 hours ago"
You know...I'm gonna do it...I'm gonna bring it up again for like the billionth time...the Nazis would get rid of people they didn't like by sending them away too.

Posted by D
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2008 at 8:55 am

WoW!!!! The Native American Indians seems to have been forgotten. This land was taken away from them by???? Let me see????? Go Figure!!!!! You know who you are!!!!!

Posted by Angela
a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:10 am

I think Shelley was asleep during history class when they talked about the Nazi invasion; she constantly brings up this irrelevent comparison in this forum. The Jews weren't complaining and bitching, they were proud citizens of the countries they were swept from...shame on you by insulting the memories of these Jewish people with your immature comments (again!) Spend some time reading about this devastation and you won't use statements about the Nazi's in the same breath as the Americans ever again.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:31 am

I don't know what Angela is trying to say. It sounds like she's saying it is ok to tell people to leave the country if they "complain and bitch" even if they are proud citizens (as if complaining and being a proud citizen is mutually exclusive). If so, it sounds like not only Janna needs to leave, but Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton need to be told to leave too. This is what makes America great, allowing people like Angela, Proud to be an American, and even Cholo to have their opinions too.

Maybe you shouldn't bring up Nazis anymore. Try some other repressive regime that got/gets rid of people they don't agree with, like Saddam's Iraq, the Soviet Union, Cambodia, or China. Maybe Benazir Bhutto was not proud to be a citizen of Pakistan since she complained and bitched so much.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:17 am

I agree that the USA is a great country! I will not vote for Sen. John McCain but I believe that he is a Great Man and he is one of my HEROES! His comments about another 100 yrs. of war terrify me. I've written to him about that and I hope he responds to my letter.

If you check out the listing OF groups at the Southern Poverty Law Center you will find that there are many groups that preach hate Americans don't complain about publicly.

Regardless of which Haplogroup you belong to today, your DNA can be traced back to the BLACK EVE that once lived in AFRICA!


Stacey, here's a kissy from my puppy Pudlo Pudlat! HOORAY!!!

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:21 am

CORRECTION: If you check out the listings of hate groups on the web page of the Southern Poverty Law Center, you will find that there are many American hate groups throughout the USA. Most good Americans do not complain about what such hate groups say about others.

Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 21, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Angela, actually, I studied German history. But like Stacey said, maybe I should bring up other repressive regimes instead to make my point that is actually not irrelevant at all. No, I did not fall asleep in history class and I do not disregard learning from the past now. Read some Hannah Arendt.

Posted by Twombley
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 23, 2008 at 2:53 am

I'm not really sure what makes "America" (really, the United States of America, since the USA shares the North American continent with Mexico and Canada) great.

Would that be the 500,000 Iraqis killed by US-enforced sanctions under President Clinton in the 1990s? Or the 600,000 Iraqis killed under the illegal US occupation of Iraq since 2003?

Yes, 1.1 million Iraqis are dead because of US government policy under both Democrats AND Republicans. That's the minimum number of deaths established by a 2006 study published in The Lancet, which is the United Kingdom's (and the world's) most respected medical journals (with statistics extrapolated forward through 2007).

During the five years of the US occupation of Iraq, 4,000 US soldiers have been killed in combat. Compare that to 600,000 Iraqis killed and approximately HALF the population of Iraq turned into external and internal refugees.

And let's not forget the worldwide network of torture chambers the United States has established around the world in the past 7 years. US government agents were arrested in Italy for kidnapping Italian residents and sending them off to be tortured, a clear violation of Italy's rights as a sovereign nation.

What's more, at a time when one-third of US citizens lack health insurance of any kind, and California is contemplating laying off one-third of its public school teachers, the occupation of Iraq is estimated to cost a total of $3 trillion. That's the second most-expensive war in history (after World War II) for the United States, and already is helping to ruin the once-mighty American economy.

Oh, and all three leading presidential candidates--Senators Obama, Clinton, and McCain--have threatened war with Iran, aka "World War III". The US misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't enough; these mad hatters have to rattle sabres at Iran, too?

One in nine black Americans are in prison. The United States has a larger prison population than the rest of the world combined, including "repressive" China.

So what makes the United States "great", exactly? Its ability to ravage other countries? Its total disregard for human rights and human needs both within and outside its own borders? Its failure to provide universal medical care and education for a large portion of its citizenry? Its ability to ring up a $3 trillion debt in an illegal war that is decimating the population of Iraq and ruining its own military?

If Condoleeza Rice, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld weren't powerful US officials (or former officials), they'd be clapped into irons and hauled before the World Court in The Hague to face charges on genocide and other war crimes. That's who ought to be sent out of the country: those people, and those who back them, because they are traitors, not patriots.

The United States is supposed to stand for the rule of law, and a republic is not supposed to be an empire that wages wars of imperial aggression. The United States has become a nation that slaughters people in Third World nations who thoughtlessly build their countries on top of "American" oil, a nation that disregards its traditional allies, a nation that ignores the pressing needs of its own citizens, and a nation that has spectacularly mismanaged its own economy to the brink of bankruptcy.

I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, who said in his speech opposing the US war against Vietnam (4 April 1967, exactly one year to the day before he was murered): 'And don't let anyone make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, "You're too arrogant. If you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I am God."'

Prophetic words. But a prophet has no honor in his own country, and forty-one years later, the words are becoming true. Americans have strangled the goose that laid the golden egg, ruining their own diplomatic, military, and economic power. And for what?

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 23, 2008 at 10:09 am

The answer to your question is simple. America is great because you are both allowed and encouraged to publicly write your dissenting views here without fear of being arrested or worse.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 23, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Here here...

Posted by aaron
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 25, 2008 at 11:11 am

stacey agreed! THIS TWORMLEY GUY IS CRAZY, probably doped up at 3am. hating the country that has given him the right to criticize our country our leaders and our politics. my words of advise to twormley go vote. don't just complain, otherwise after generations of only 10-20% of the population voting, and wondering why the country isn't how they want it. we live in the greatest country on earth. there are flaws, but every country does. our flaws were partially caused by lack of voting turnout. how do people expect there views heard if they don't put them on the proper forum. our countries problems aren't as severe as most. America is great. it has problems as anything does. try to get 303,824,650 legal citizens to agree. it's not going to ever happen. it's impossible. majority rules. if it isn't a proper representation of the majority, then who's fault is that? the ones not voting, not representing their views. but complaining later. i vote, even if my vote doesn't affect anything and the majority is against me, that is fine. at least i know my particular view on that subject isn't the majority, and that's that. it's amazing how many people participate in polls year round, but then the turnout is significantly smaller than that.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Well done Twombley. I think that you come across as a concerned and caring adult expressing an unpopular opinion.

aaron, look who's calling the kettle black. He's a drunk and he suspects that you're "probably doped up at 3 am". Hey boy, it's time for some serious step work...time for some serious step work! It's never too late to get back on track with sobriety! Like they say, if you can't live and you can't die, make coffee!

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:35 pm

correction: aaron, look who's calling the kettle black. You're a drunk and you suspect the he's "probably doped up at 3 am." Are you still sober? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Posted by Jeb Bing
editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Mar 26, 2008 at 3:29 am

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

This topic has run its course. Thanks for posting.

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