The Amerikan nightmare

E pluribus unum.

Or …

Divide and conquer.

Can’t have it both ways. We cannot be America and Amerika at the same time. But that of course is what we’re trying to do.

We proudly wave our flag of unity and inclusiveness and boldly sing of the American dream while declining to actually live it. The fifty stars might as well be asterisks, explaining in fine print that certain seekers of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness need not apply.

Fear has won, as it almost always does at first. The sanctuary is closed. Locked up. When was the last time you found the doors of a church open in the middle of the night? Before our time I think. Long, long ago.

Let us stipulate that all the threats we perceive are real and that our wariness is warranted and valid. This allows us to be alert and attentive. But it does not confer the right to simply shoot at every threat or insist on wearing our wariness as impenetrable armor.

And it most certainly does not permit us to define those threats by ascribing them to any particular segment of our society. Are all priests child molesters? Are all gun owners killers? Are we all that afraid?

It would simplify our response if all threats looked alike. Then we could isolate and eliminate them and fear would be beaten. This approach has been tried, many times, and has always failed.

Should your surgeon remove every discolored dot on your skin or just the cancerous ones?

Knowledge is the only antidote for the poison of fear. And thankfully, it is readily available - over the counter, if you like - and can be taken in any quantity without the risk of overdosing. Its only cost is curiosity and patience. You will find it wherever you look for it, but it is up to you to conduct the search. Good luck and good hunting.

Author’s note: While the current discussion of sanctuary cities is occurring at the state and national level, the fact is that it is a city-level issue, and begins close to home as neighbors greet each other, keep an eye out for trouble, and form the most basic unit of government: the neighborhood.

E-mail the commissioners

But one at a time, please!


For the most part, when recipients open an email that includes others they are less inclined to take it personally. Make sure your message resonates by sending it to each commissioner separately.

Scott Franklin - Stephanie Madden -  Sara McCarley - Chad Mcleod

Bill Mutz - Bill Read - Phillip Walker

Each of these noble citizens represents all the rest of us. The four geographic designations - Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, etc. - apply only to the residency requirements for commissioners, not to their constituents. Bill Read, for instance, lives in the city's northeast quadrant and is likely to be more in tune with the businesses and neighborhoods in that area, but serves us all as our representative to the city management and staff.

It will always help to send your message to City Manager Shawn Sherouse  because it's his job to implement whatever projects, resolutions, and ordinances the Commission proposes in response to our communication.


State legislators representing Lakeland

Representative Colleen Burton

Senator Kelli Stargell