My personal tribute to Nelson Mandela:
Butler residents not born here might find it surprising that bigotry and racism once were the way of life here. We had just a few black families.
When I was a boy, my facial and general physical features leaned toward the minority side. I was physically and verbally assaulted for those differences, and naturally I gravitated toward the black culture.
I grew to love soul music and found in black culture a forgiving nature and a welcome haven of peace that overrode my hatred for those that had no tolerance for those who were different.
Nelson Mandela is and will be the Gandhi or Martin Luther King of our generation. His Christlike forgiveness and tenacity to fight should be taught to every child.
I was a child of capitalist opportunists who came from another country, and as such I appreciate Mandela’s conversion away from communism to become a supporter of individual determination and an advocate of education. Despite the grumblings and persecution of white South Africans, Mandela took his country to new heights of prosperity which even expounds the message and the cause of this great man.
Unfortunately, America is slipping into a state where the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer. Two classes are emerging, and that was not the dream of Nelson Mandela but rather the opposite. Wealth should not be what defines us. Mandela envisioned a world of voluntarily shared wealth and total cultural acceptance.
Now that this great man has left us, we must remember his legacy of courage, patience and forgiveness. He did not allow the money and power to deter the mission given to him by our divine creator.
In the words of the great Curtis Mayfield: “People get ready, there’s a train comin’, You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board. All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’, Don’t need a ticket, you just thank The Lord.
Mr. Mandela, enjoy your train ride to Heaven.