American flag

Opinion

By Greg Jackson

The other day as I stood in the mirror brushing my pearly whites (or maybe I should just say teeth so as not to offend anyone), I realized something: I am very pleased with the person I have become. Admittedly, I am a bit heavier, have a lot less hair, some gray in the beard when I let it grow, but still I have an almost boyish-good-look according to my better half that does not quite reveal my true age. Aesthetics aside, however, I am a much different person now than I wasas a young man raising “heck” on the red clay hills of Tallahassee, Florida.

As a younger version of myself, I had a hair-trigger temper, sharp tongue, and cursed like a sailor. Thanks to my joining the Florida Army National Guard and great parents, I was too afraid ever to try a single drug, including the one that you can just puff-puff-pass, but I did consume my fair share of liquid courage from time to time. Though tested at a near genius level when I allowed myself to take a test seriously, I stupidly preferred causing trouble rather than working with those who disagreed with me to find a solution; I was, in fact, a scorched-earth, my-way-or-the-highway type of guy.

However, as time went by, I gained life experience, traveled the world, learned about different cultures, got married, had kids, met new people, etc. All of these things and more aided in me becoming a wiser, kinder, gentler me. That is my history, from a boy taking on every challenge just because I could, to a man committed to helping people and places to be
the best they can be. Like many of you I learned from my history and became a better person, and I work every day to become a better person for the future. But one thing is for certain, though I am not proud
of everything I did in the evolution of me, I appreciated the things I experienced and went through – good, bad and indifferent – because I now see how they shaped me to be better. I also recognize that even if I
do not agree with my history, it will not change, so I focus on the future while never forgetting or discounting my history.

That is how I view the recent controversy with our country and the history that is dividing us. America is a young country made up of different people who bring their own experiences. There is some good and most certainly some bad in the history of our nation, but all of those experiences have made us a stronger nation. While I do not agree with the history of the Confederacy or the “rebel” flag, I do not believe the removal of any of those things serve to improve our lives or help to change anything about how we came to be. In fact, like the scar on my neck, which serves as a 40-plus year reminder of what happens when you don’t listen to your mom and run in a department store, the past scars of slavery, the Civil War, women’s suffrage, segregation, etc., remind us of where we were and where we are now. I view this as an accomplishment and a compliment of who we are as Americans.

Yes, we have had trying times as a nation, but somewhere and somehow we found a way to overcome those things. We cannot ignore who we are, but we can learn from those experiences. In thinking back
on our past as a nation, my concern is that today, in our present, as groups fight for a recognition of their respective places in history, battle lines are being drawn and we are being put on track for a modern age
civil war. Not wishing to repeat one of the most atrocious events from our history as Americans, I want to implore each of us to be understanding of our place in history, but to also focus on our place in the present and future. Since we cannot turn back the hands of time to correct past transgressions, let’s not create a new history that will destroy all that we as a nation worked to build. After all, as a wise man once said those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it. Well, in an attempt to be as profound, I say that those who cover up, remove or ignore their past are likely to repeat it as well – in my humble opinion.

Greg Jackson is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida, a military veteran, current Orange County District 2 Representative on the Board of Zoning Adjustments, and General Counsel for the Community Redevelopment Agency. He has been as an active member of the Central Florida community for nearly 20 years. He was most recently a candidate for the Florida House District 45 seat.

 

17 COMMENTS

  1. Greg, our forefathers suffered horrendously and we marched and fought for a more equitable future for our offsprings. True, we cannot turn back the hands of time to correct past transgressions, however, Confederate statutes and hate groups waving rebel flags indicate that some people are in denial of history and can’t forget the racism that still exist in America. I have NEVER seen a statue of Hitler and wish that all symbols of racism would be moved to a cemetery or museum, where they belong!

    • Fannie,

      Thank you for the reply and yes I agree there is a place for that part of history. But, total removal will breed resentment. Thanks again.

      Greg

  2. I, for one, do not want to see a civil war happen in this country, and most good and decent people don’t want that to happen either. We know that it is possible though because of our own nation’s history, as well as the other civil wars that have happened in various other countries. Whether between different races, ethnic groups, or religious groups, or for whatever other reasons, it would be a shame to have that happen here in our country again. I certainly don’t want that for the children of today. I feel that we got more than enough problems trying to deal with other countries and their dictators, than to have our nation divided at this fragile time of world chaos. I don’t want for our country to go back to oppressive times for anyone. I want our freedom, and democracy to continue in this country, and not to go in reverse, the hard- come rights that have been gained over the years. Unfortunately, evil forces are at work to undermine our country. Yes, there are the extremist groups, the haters, the trouble-makers, but how do the good and sincere Americans who want true peace, respond to all of this, when the problem is exactly like in the 9/11/2001 era, which initially was “we know our nation is under attack, but who is the enemy, that is responsible behind the scenes for these attacks?” It’s complex what is happening behind the scenes now in the US, and it is hard to determine who is responsible. Is it Russian meddling? Is it some members of our own US government meddling behind the scenes to cause us harm? Is it domestic terrorism or international terrorism, setting us up for trouble? Are the propaganda forces keeping it going forward, or is it maybe a ultra- rich person, up to no good bored with all their money? Is it the smaller out-spoken hate groups that gather to rally their cause, or a much bigger unknown enemy plotting behind the scenes? All I know is there is too much deceit and lying happening with our current administration, and that concerns me very much, and that some of the very people who are in control of our US government with their power, cabinet positions, and advisors, hate government and some of their life goals are to bring the US government down and bust it apart. Yes, before anything can be solved, the true enemy, or enemies, must be identified, just like back to 9/11/2001, and that is a very complex issue now days.

    • Mama Mia,

      I always appreciate you insight and your comments here is on point. Thank you for your input and the compliment (I almost blushed) …. 😉

      Greg

  3. Greg, I think you are alright, and don’t confuse that with alt-right! I have to be careful, just like you, and your posting about your pearly whites….LOL. Don’t have a mid-life crisis now, Greg, you don’t look old, you’re still plenty young…..you still got it…boyish good looks. Don’t regret things in your past, as I know I could have done some things differently too, but just don’t go there, be happy and be proud, and be yourself, no matter what! That is what I am learning to do, as I get older and wiser.

  4. I am saying my prayers for our country as to our race relations, as well as I am praying for the residents of Texas, especially along the Gulf Coast, and to the 20,000 people stranded out at sea on the big cruise ships, who are trapped out there, and can’t return to port. This could easily be us Apopkans and other fellow Floridians in the path of this massive, strong, and devastating category 3 hurricane. You know just how bad it is going to be when they advise residents to write their social security numbers on their arms in case of the worst case scenario. I sent my husband to gas up because I am not sure how the gasoline supply will be with the off-shore supplies shut down, or just how much the gas might go up because of the gulf hurricane nightmare. It is just hours away from the eye moving to shore…..very scary!

  5. I am usually critical of Florida Governor Rick Scott, but I will say that Governor Scott always seems very concerned whenever Florida is in the path of the hurricanes, and he does everything possible that he can to help with emergency preparedness and storm damage aftermath. I hope we make it through the rest of the hurricane season without any hurricanes here in Florida.

  6. Greg, so I made a powerful attorney, almost blush? I really do possess special abilities, apparently…..LOL..!!! Have a wonderful weekend Greg!

  7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU MRS. BETTY LAND ON SUNDAY, AUG. 27, 2017 !!!…..WE LOVE YOU IN THIS TOWN, AND WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY, AND HEALTHY BIRTHDAY, AND BEST WISHES AS ALWAYS!!! I HOPE YOU SEE MY BIRTHDAY WISH TO YOU….WITH LOVE, FROM MAMA MIA.

  8. Trump pardoned old Sheriff Joe today even though Trump’s legal advisors told him to wait to see what the sheriff’s sentence would be, come October, but as usual, Trump does not listen to his own advisers, but instead proceeds forward with The One Man Big Show. S. Gorka, the Nazis sympathizer at the White House, was forced out today, and also some more staffers exited the WH today, one whose job was to furnish positive WH news tidbits to mainstream media. Talk about an impossible job description! Just a matter of time before Trump hires Sheriff Joe, as so many employment opportunities are opening up at the WH. Now we know exactly what Trump meant about creating jobs, jobs, jobs…. Meanwhile, Crazy Kim Jong Un fires off 3 missiles today! I just wish all these constant crazy happenings were a tv reality show and not really real. The Trump administration also made darn sure the border checkpoints were open for business as usual, along the Texas/ Mexico border even though the hurricane is probably going to blow the checkpoint stations away with the category 4 force winds. Might even blow down the existing border wall. What’s next? I am getting anxiety, thinking back about the hurricanes that I have been through, is it just me, or does it seem like something strange is going on in the air? You never can assume what direction the hurricane might decide to go.

  9. I am studying the pardon that Trump gave to Sheriff Joe, and I heard that he was 85 years old and that his wife has cancer. Okay, I try to keep an open mind on issues. I have heard about Joe’s mistreatment of the Arizona inmates, mostly about the food, and silly things like making them wear pink underwear, and having to be housed in the broiling Arizona heat in open air tents set up with armed guards that he called “concentration camps”. I had already heard about the extreme miserable heat and how the inmates could not sleep at night for the roaches crawling in their ears and up their noses, and how he would not exterminate the bugs. I googled around and the articles I searched were way more disturbing to me. Phoenix News Times articles were especially horrible! If you have the time google something in the search bar about Sheriff Joe and search the Phoenix News Times then check it out if you haven’t already. NO! There is NO WAY this man should of been pardoned by Trump, I don’t care if his wife does have cancer, I mean I am sorry for her for having cancer, of course, but it doesn’t matter how old he is! It is shameful that a man like him, in authority, could publicly get away with treating inmates the way the article described. I don’t expect them to be treated like the royals, obviously, of course, and don’t advocate going soft on them, but at least basic human decency should be shown to them, but as so many have stated before, “This is America and we are better than this!” The thing is that Sheriff Joe and Trump think alike, and that they think it is funny to treat people like this. Believe me, things are only going to get worse with Trump in power. I did read about here in Florida though, that at one correctional institute in Volusia County, inmates are not even being furnished with toilet paper and soap to wash with. That is appalling. I understand they are criminals but that is extreme to me. God help us all.

  10. I thought I could find out if the fight has started yet or not, but I can’t get any sense out of when it starts from the internet. I will have to just look at the sports page tomorrow, a rarity for me to look at that section, that is always designated poodle paper for my doggie, after my husband reads it. I must say I really, really like and appreciate McGregor’s big tiger head on his tank…..nice! I don’t have a clue who will win the fight, but I hope McGregor doesn’t get killed in this fight, trying to get rich, because his birthday is tomorrow, and I understand he will turn 29, and well, I wouldn’t want him to leave this world, on the same day he came in because of this fighting pursuit. Huh, he and Mrs. Betty Land have the same birthday.

  11. I didn’t win the lotto drawing again, surprise, surprise, not even one number. I’m getting really tired of looking at that giant jackpot power ball winner, the woman from Mass. with all of her grinning and laughing, you know? She is beginning to annoy and haunt me like a witch, with that nose turned up in the air, and her constant grinning…. I’m going to bed.

  12. Didn’t win the power ball drawing either tonight. Number 15 was drawn, and again 15 was drawn as the power ball number. That’s the way the mop flops for me. I am off to visit the sand man, this time, for sure.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here