My good friend, James Burton, who was Elvis Presley’s guitar player all of the way up until the day Elvis died, recently sent me this quote: “There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away; the battle they are fighting isn’t with you, it is with themselves.”
Words of wisdom for sure as this year has been one of the country’s most challenging years. And “challenging” is certainly a massive understatement. Historians will look back and lump this year with 1773, 1861, 1941, 1968, and the Great Depression. Perhaps they will even deem it our darkest hour—only time will tell.
This year started out with so much promise. Then, came a mysterious virus from a Chinese lab. Economic collapse followed, stay-in-place lockdowns ensued, George Floyd dies, riots rage and continue nightly, monuments and statues that have stood for years are toppled or desecrated, demagogues pit races against each other, and social media has exploded with all of this thus adding more fuel to the fire. I personally wish the Internet had never been invented, especially social media. All of this took place within the first six months of the year. Even the most optimistic among us cannot help but be saddened and depressed by what we’ve all lived through. Psychic and economic scars will be us for years to come.
And yet, life has moved on as is intended. The very Founding Fathers that are, today, under so much attack were brilliant and prescient enough to create a political edifice and set of laws that have served us well, that have been bent and so far not broken.
In the middle of all the sound and fury though many of us now understand how much we had taken for granted up to this point in life. All of this chaos underscores that nothing is a given anymore. And because of that, perhaps we appreciate what used to be thought of as mundane as something quite special and meaningful: visiting a neighbor, going to a ball game, worshipping in our church, sharing a meal with a friend—even hugging a family member. These every day occurrences and actions were taken from us for a time and for some are still gone. We’ll never take these expressions of life and liberty for granted ever again—nor should we. It is now much too obvious they can be taken away or disappear in a mere matter of days. Again, in a matter of days.
Yes, our current moment in history is chaotic, disruptive and numbingly disheartening. But, if all of us look in the mirror—and then look at each other—for what and who we really are and take stock of our lives, I believe that hope, faith and unity will get us through. If I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t even bother waking up in the morning let alone try to publish a business magazine.
It’s become such a cliche because it is so true: Americans must come together. We must celebrate our right to disagree at times in a respectful way instead of trying to silence each other. We must realize that we cannot change the color of our skin, only the content of our hearts and minds. We must also remind ourselves that we still live in the greatest nation the world has ever known, a nation that remains the beacon of hope for all humanity. This beacon is not a burden to carry; rather it is a legacy and a gift that we, as citizens of this country, should honor and celebrate.
We need to keep the faith – in our Heavenly Father above, in our fellow human beings and in ourselves. Yes, there will be more disappointments to come. And, our situation could get much worse before it gets better. We’ve made it this far, though. And, with faith not only will we continue to make it—we will make it even better.
We hope you enjoy this edition of the Delta Business Journal. As always we appreciate your feedback.