FROM MY CORNER: From Tulsa to Paris
My hometown is Tulsa, Oklahoma, the scene of the worst race massacre of black Americans. I left Oklahoma 65 years ago to find a different environment for my life. When once I returned to a high school reunion, I again understood why I left in the first place.
Oklahoma is often cited by media as one of the most ardent supporters of Donald Trump. And it remains one of the most fervently loyal believers in Trump. Subsequently, I have been asked why I don’t return to Tulsa to help fight for social issues.
I simply do not wish to spend the last years of my life attempting to enlighten citizens of a state and town where so many have yet to come to terms with racial and environmental denial.
Is mine a self-centered decision? Perhaps. However, for three years I have monthly donated 10 percent of my social security and veteran’s disability income to a black friend of mine, who is blind and coping with major heart operations.
This is all I am capable of coping with at 83 as my own physical disabilities, brought on by lingering consequences of my military service, demand much of my attention and time.
However, I don’t want to let the Tulsa Race Massacre go unnoticed by me. Tulsa, the once alleged Oil Capital of the World, has also been a backbone of the Petroleum business for decades.
Once while working for J. Walter Thompson in New York City, I was the Merchandising Manager of the America Petroleum Institute. I was one of the Oklahomans who contributed to America’s oil business. Eventually, I quit the job.
The Petroleum industry today still does not come to grips with all the consequences of its products on the health of the planet. The island of plastic the size of Rhode Island that floats in the ocean is made from petroleum.
Do we hear today of the Oil industry organizing to combat this plastic environmental disgrace. No, we don’t. At least I’ve not seen any stories about such even contemplated.
A couple of people have chastised me for mentioning I intend to move to Paris rather than more directly join the fight. I just do not see any practical positive possible effect such an action would actually gain for Tulsa, or for me.
Instead, I believe I would only be joining in the contentious mood of the country, becoming embroiled in a battle that cannot quickly be solved. Both the Oil industry and the historical racism of Tulsa must sort themselves out.
There are Black people now making strong inroads into the power structure of Oklahoma and Tulsa. I believe they are on a positive path. They don’t need a liberal white Californian such as myself onboard, thinking I can improve their efforts.
To immerse myself in a European culture, that of the French, whom I so much enjoyed when I served in the Army, is my goal. Further, I am very interested in the European Union and its future. I believe Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central, and South America should create a similar union.
Therefore, as personal old age rapidly overtakes my once youthful self, I am choosing my own health and mental well being over trying to take on what would surely be a misguided effort.
America as a nation is increasingly focusing on true equality for Black citizens. The still-largely-ignored global warming dilemma and the massive trashing by the Petroleum based plastics industry demand attention.
The powers-that-be of the nation’s big businesses and their greed-compliant politicians must come to grips with the massive environmental changes that have to occur to bring about an economically more equitable America.
Forces with far more rational capability than me have to come to grips with these issues. I want to observe and write about these subjects from an outside perspective of America – from a European viewpoint.
To those who’ve questioned my actions, I hope this answers your taunt to me that I should mount a white horse and lead some kind of revolutionary charge. That is not my role. I am an observer and a writer of things.
In 83 years, I’ve learned my limitations. I’ve always been a lone observer and writer. It seems to be my nature. I’m going to let that nature thrive if possible in my final years from Paris.
Keeping my mental and physical health intact is my first obligation. Besides, Paris is less expensive than Los Angeles where I now live. That makes it easier to continue the payments to my blind friend. Therefore – so be it.
It’s likely my last adventure. I’m going to give it my best, let the chips fall where they may. Wish me a bon voyage. I’ll be in touch when I get in touch.