A visible love may outweigh senseless hate

Ripped from the headlines: More interracial couples tie knot: The whole idea of racial prejudice is such an anathema to me that I grieve when I recognize it in our country. Just think of it: Until a relatively short time ago, it was against the law for people of different races to marry. The southern states were the worst. Finally, the Supreme Court of the United States stepped in and put an end to laws steeped in segregation.

Why in the world should skin color be an excuse for not allowing two loving people to marry? So the increase in so-called intermarriage can only be a good sign. It means that people recognize how totally stupid such laws are. When more and more people with different religious, ethnic or racial backgrounds marry, it’s an indication that we may actually be coming to our senses.

However, let there be no mistake about it. Some people still raise their eyebrows when they see mixed-race couples walking down a street together holding hands. We have always known that human beings are clannish. Consider how many crimes are being perpetrated against blacks or Hispanics or Jews by those who wish to ensure racial purity?

Just a few weeks ago, a little girl was set upon in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Israel because she was not considered to be dressed appropriately. We have seen travesties like the one in Howard Beach, Queens, and we have seen ethnically organized gangs right here in Berkshire County. So when human beings forswear the kind of prejudice they were handed by their parents and forefathers, it can only be good.

Fake drugs inject fears: Some people don’t care how many lives they risk, as long as they make money.

That’s what’s going on with the rise in false prescription drugs. This is a good way to kill someone. By the time folks get to my age, they are often required to take various medications, be they statins, thyroid pills or high-blood-pressure meds.

When taken correctly, these drugs can be real life savers. But when these medications are phony, when they are too weak or too strong, they can become killers. If the drugs you are taking to contain or cure your cancer are counterfeit, you are put in danger of losing your life.

If we catch the criminals who are making, distributing or selling counterfeit drugs, we should throw the book at them. Since we don’t have a death penalty in this state, life in prison sounds about right to me.

Joseph Kennedy III to run for Barney Frank’s congressional seat: We Massachusetts voters do not always think. We often vote along party lines, simply because someone is a Democrat or a Republican. Sometimes we like their name, or where they come from.

Then, later, when we hear them speak or watch what they do, we realize we may not have been using our brains. There is still magic to the Kennedy family name. Hey, I’m guilty. I loved the JFK who became president. Now we learn all kinds of things about John and Robert. We learn that, like other human beings, they had their flaws. But some still buy into the myth and worship them.

Joseph the Third is the grandson of RFK. His father was Joe the Second. I remember that FDR’s sons had a hard time making their way in politics. FDR Jr. was my congressman for a while. He turned out to undistinguished.

This heritage thing can be both a blessing and a curse. People expect you to live up to certain expectations if your parents or grandparents were famous, and that often becomes impossible. Unfortunately, those without the patrimony really don’t have that easy a ride when they run for an office. That’s because citizens really don’t think things through.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 2/18/12

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