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    • Donald Sanders

    • January 3, 2016 in Columnists

    We don’t have to do anything to share experiences that define our lives

    Some say a person’s life is defined by what he has done and others say it is the sum of all that he has experienced while he lives upon this Earth. I prefer the latter, for the former defines me as a bore because I’ve done next to nothing that would be worth mentioning. However, the things I have experienced while I’ve lived upon this Earth would make me a king among kings.

    The same applies to you. As I see it, we don’t have to actually do anything to have an experience. The assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King would be something that the entire world would share as an experience but we actually had no part in that event except for the fact that it broke all our hearts at once. Another part of that experience was our introduction to evil and how it can touch our lives at will.

    Through Dr. King, we all experienced racism, discrimination and injustice. I was so moved by the words of his “I have a dream” speech. He was a man of peace and love — he was a man of God. When President Kennedy was killed, it made me very sad but when Dr. King was killed it made me very, very angry and I am angry about that even today.

    The struggle for human rights is an experience we all share. The killing of Malcolm X comes to my mind at the top of the human rights chain. Equality and justice are something that neither Dr. King nor Malcolm X ever experienced in their lifetime. One thing that I know is true is that you and I have never experienced equality and justice in our lifetime, either, because Dr. King taught us that if one man is not equal then none of us are equal.

    Through our loved ones, we all have experienced warfare on a grand scale. Our fathers were broken in World Wars I and II. My peers and I received our breaking in Vietnam and now our children are being broken in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria. All of the wars I have mentioned are founded in lies and deceit. We all shared the experience of 9/11 and more recently the terrorist attacks in Paris and L.A. Evil comes and goes at will.

    We all shared the fall of the Berlin wall, Watergate, and the 1980 Hockey team that defeated Russia at the Olympics. We all walked upon the moon with Neil Armstrong and we peek into the depths of space through the Hubble telescope. We all share the experience of our failure to conquer global hunger because we spend billions upon billions on weapons instead of relief to those who are hungry and ignorant through no fault of their own.

    The internet only raises the level of experience when it brings us into the Earthquakes and Tsunamis of the Eastern world. As I said earlier, we don’t have to do anything to share an experience that might define our lives. Now we have Google, Intel, Apple, eBay and Facebook. Everything is so easy for us now. We can go to machines to receive money, drinks and food without ever talking to another human being. We know exactly where we are all the time with our GPS technology.

    With our cell phones we can talk to others without ever saying a word. DNA research and stem cells promise longer and healthier lives for those who can afford it and we can document our lives with cameras that use no film. I’m still not sure how that works.

    Now, through me, you can all experience what it’s like to go twenty plus years without being chosen as Citizen of the Year of Winters California. You can experience the humiliation of not being chosen even after you have nominated yourself because no one else would. You have all experienced, through me, being rejected for a Pulitzer and a Nobel for Literature despite the fact that I have nominated myself for those and other awards. Oh, I guess you did experience, through me again, what it is like to get a trophy for lowest average in a bowling league in Peoria Illinois. Who cares anyway?

      • Madgew

      • January 3, 2016 at 8:16 am
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      I had the privilege of hearing MLK speak at USC in a auditorium and he ticked the house when he repeated his I Have A Dream speech. A highlight of my life. I also have voted for you to win all those awards but in my mind you have already won by staying alive to tell your story in a beautiful book. Love you Donald Sanders.

      • Ralph

      • January 3, 2016 at 11:26 am
      • Reply

      I voted for you for Citizen of the Year of Winters, California, but they told me I had to be a citizen of the city. I showed them my voters picture I.D. from Tennessee, but they still insisted I had to live in Winters…sorry Donald…

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