Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
----Martin Luther King Jr.
Our bodies, whether you believe in evolution or creationism, are amazing machines. The various parts work in harmony to keep us healthy and safe. Take melanin for example. Melanin is the pigment that influences skin color, and while people of different ethnicities have similar numbers of melanocytes (cells that produce melanin), the vast number of skin tones are due to the amount of this pigment that is produced by these cells. Low levels of melanin production can create pale skin, while large amounts create very dark skin. Melanin helps prevent UV light from damaging our skin and causing cancer. What amazes me is the way our bodies, like chameleons adapt to their locations. First indications of human life were in Africa, and because of the hot, sunny weather, our ancestors' melanin production was high, and they were dark skinned. When they migrated to Europe, etc, their skin lightened because the sun was less intense, and they needed less protection.
Why this mini science lesson you might ask. I am trying to make sense out of the senseless, I guess. I grew up in a time of marches and demonstrations. It was a time of blocked voter registration and Mississippi burning. There was fear and hatred, and my generation fought to change the world. I never understood where it came from...all of this hatred. It is just skin pigment...melanin...that separates us. It is there for protection, and it does nothing to change our intelligence or our personalities. Those two things are affected by the world around us. Those two things are affected by the way people see us and the way that they treat us. Schools that provide equal teachers and equal supplies will produce equal scholars...no matter the amount of melanin that the students produce. People given the opportunity to purchase a home in a nice neighborhood will generally contribute positively to that neighborhood, regardless the color of their skin.
We are all filled with hopes and dreams for our future and the future of our children. We fought for these rights...we marched for these rights. Martin Luther King Jr's. children deserved to live in a nation where they were judged by their character, not their melanin production, and we fought to make it happen. I believed it was almost there, but I guess I live in a fantasy world sometimes. I don't believe that our President-elect is a violent bigot, but I believe he has given tacit approval for others to spew their hatred. He is surrounded by men who might be excellent at what they do but are far from excellent in their treatment of others.
I believe that today's youth will need to grab those banners that we held and march once again to bring equality to our country. We are the majority...democrat or republican, the bulk of us believe that all men (and women) are created equal, and we will have each other's back in this fight that was won once...and will be won again.
This has been a busy holiday week for me, with lots of company and quite a bit of cooking. Since I did not have a great deal of time to read, my two reviews today are short stories by well known authors. What She Really Wants by Barbara Delinsky was a story that made me nod my head in agreement several times and kept me smiling throughout. Tom and Sarah have been happily married for eighteen years, and yet he has never found the perfect gift for her. He buys her expensive jewelry...nice but not her. She wants him to know her well enough to get the perfect gift. Anyone who likes Delinsky's novels will enjoy this story.
When Lee Child and Joseph Finder decided to bring together their two heroes, Jack Reacher and Nick Heller, I expected fireworks. Both are strong authors writing about strong characters. Their novels never disappoint, but writing together they kind of fizzled. Good and Valuable Consideration just never really took off for me. There was a great deal of description and very little action. It was fun seeing Reacher and Heller interact, but I think I will stick to the individual novels from now on.
As always full reviews follow this blog.