One of the most memorable radio programs, in its’ heyday, was The Shadow Knows, a drama that began as a pulp magazine series, then graduated to radio in the early 1930’s. The principle character was Lamont Cranston, and his female companion, Margot Lane. He opened each drama with, “Who knows what lurks in the hearts of men…The Shadow knows.” He battled crime and evil doers with his hypnotic power to cloud men’s minds, rendering them unable to see him. Everyone knew it wasn’t his shadow, but the master sleuth behind it. It spanned nearly sixteen years on the air waves, until 1954, when it was turned into a TV drama. However, it never caught fire as the radio show had earlier. It was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.
Even in advanced years on this orb, most recall former days of early childhood, when we were spooked by “shadows on the wall.” Noises down the hall. Trees outside would cast a long, ominous shadow into our bedroom, or we saw “something lurking in the closet. “Until reassured by mom or dad’s gentle voice and touch, they seemed real at the time. With time and some maturity, most outgrew such fears. Hopefully, we now focus on things of substance, even if they strike a level of fear in us. Truth eventually trumped those imaginary figures that youthful minds crafted in the darkness. Turning on the light immediately rousted those “bogey men.” In retrospect one can now laugh about it.
Psalm 23 provides context for those who rely on its wisdom. David reflected on the “valley of the shadow of death.” He had no fear of a shadow. God’s presence comforted him. Scary for kids. Not mature adults. Shadows can be daunting at times. In our culture, we often talk about issues that are nothing more than “shadows.” They ultimately have no consequence on things of substance. Like the conversation to put a woman on a $10 bill. They can, but what difference would it make? Get rid of the “ole white guy Hamilton.” Would it be worth more if Hillary Clinton’s face is on it. Some fear less. Even if it’s Condoleezza Rice. Right or left, who cares? What about Caitlyn Jenner? Symbolism? What will that buy us? Nothing more.
In the face of black on black, or white on black, or white on white killings, rather than address the heart issue, the mainstream media, race baiters, and White House focused on the “too many guns” or the “dangerous Confederate flag.” It’s hip to call for the flag’s demise. Walmart joined the scrum. Ebay, Google and NASCAR, too are playing the PC game. Place it in a museum where it belongs, we’re told.
Morally, we know that slavery was an abysmal period in our history. Our 5th Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roger Taney wrote the majority opinion, 7-2, in Dread Scot vs. Sanford, in 1857. Blacks had no standing before the Constitution. They were considered nothing more than “chattel.” It wasn’t the flag. How many in Union garb cared about the slaves? No polls told us what to think at that time.
Dr. Ben Carson, presidential candidate, a man with wisdom and common sense, remarked that we can take the Confederate flag down, or put it up-it will make no difference in the racial divide, manufactured primarily by those who benefit from that rift. He’s right. It’s a shadow. Of no consequence in reality. It’s the heart that drives hatred. “Skin heads” aren’t driven by a flag. Ideology and ingrained hatred of a skin color compel them.
Some GOP hopefuls piled on with Governor Nikki Haley, concluding it was time to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House, standing in solidarity with the Democrats, and their 2016 standard bearer, Hillary Clinton. This debate is nothing new. With the killing of nine innocent blacks in a church in Charleston, beckoned President Obama’s political strategy of never passing up a crisis. He pounced on it like buzzards on a three legged dog. Guns and Confederate flags. “Shadow Man” lurks in the Oval Office. For those with short historical memories, it was a Democratic led House in South Carolina who voted to hoist the Confederate flag atop the State House in 1962. Alabama’s Governor yanked it down this week. Whose heart will that change? What’ll they do with the Confederate statues in multiple Southern states and military bases? The Mississippi State flag?
Are there not substantial issues to engage? There are still the unborn being slaughtered in the name of “women’s health.” Reach out to a young, troubled girl caught in that web of deceit and duplicitous language. Befriend her. Save two lives. Too often we’re hamstrung by taking on global battles, that are beyond our scope of influence. A friend for liberty, Cathy Ide, Natrona County Coordinator for Wyoming Campaign for Liberty, proffered, “Your complaints are justified and the reality of our lost liberty is truly disheartening. Washington D.C. is thousands of miles away-filled with congressional leaders who seemingly have no backbone to stand for those lost liberties.” Sagely, she advised, “Don’t think Global, Act local!” Too often we overlook the obvious, where our efforts have gravitas. There’s a caveat-we must act. Bemoaning has limitations. Campaign for a local liberty minded candidate in next election cycle, or consider a run. Confront hypocrisy.
An Old Testament passage commands we defend the defenseless, “those being led to slaughter.” One need not agree with the origin to be a co-belligerent. What’s your sphere of influence? There’s a risk. Combating wrong, opposing evil, and doing good demand risk. Only so many days are allotted to all. Redeem them wisely. Rebuild a fractured relationship that’s languished too long in obscurity. We’ve enough talkers. Avoid the adumbral life. No more “shadow boxing.” Get into the ring. Is it worth it? What do you think?
Mike Pyatt is a Natrona County resident. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org