My popular guest on my blog as of late has the full of character Bob the Redneck contractor. He is a strange implant in my life and definitely evokes thought. Take an image of a redneck contractor in your mind…looks wise. Black front tooth, too much drinking with the problem coming and going, clothes are always a little bit unwashed and has the mildew smell of not hanging them up fast enough, house is perpetually messy which keeps one from appreciating the decor of US military camouflage and paraphernalia, scraggly hair from time to time, hat wearing, and feisty with opinions coming out of his mouth so fast that one could propel a missile to blow up a VFW hall faster than a nuclear reaction.
On a monthly basis I hear stories of how he got jumped and attacked completely unprovoked …hmph? Unbelievably a year ago his house was invaded by some young gang members who started pushing their way in to the front door. His kids were there which brought the ferocious daddy bear out in him and he attacked the men with the the gun. He took a few good swings before they shot him. Through the head. Shot through the head…. In true typical Bob fashion he fought the police and the ambulance who wanted to take him to the hospital. He passed out to the emergency crew’s pleasure and was swiftly taken to the hospital. The bullet went into the back of the head and out near his ear. When he awoke he was pissed that he was there and thinking of the medical bills he got up and walked out of the hospital. He is fine except for a few months after wards he was unusually tired and his memory was a little trifled and I had to remind him on several occasions what color I wanted a room pained. Only Bob.
He lives in a horrible part of the city which is dangerous and filled with gangs but he also brings some of it own himself. It is almost like a piece of him needs to get his anger out and fight the injustices of the world in small battles at a time. He is angry..
On a pivotal night more than six years ago he drank too much and ran his car into a wall. The police officer at the scene told him he had killed a kid. He had not….only damages his own car. This was his first offense and was jailed briefly and put on probation with his license being suspended. To this day Bob yells at kids who are going to drink and drive. No longer does he drive at all because of the scare.
One big hoosiery redneck right?
This is his appearance on the outside. But as with all stereotypes this one is wrong. Oh so deliciously wrong.
He is an anomaly. Bob is a well read man. Underneath that dirty image is a man who is so loyal, hard-working, and fascinating. His rough around the edges image contrasts what he believes. His is quite sympathetic to the underdog. He is respectful about my Jewishness and does not call about business on Saturdays. He respects the Muslim plumber Mukhtar. He hires and befriends black men. Dates all sorts of woman...as long as he gets some and is fed he is happy, happy, happy.
The books and subjects that he reads is extensive. He can discuss WWII history, the Israeli/Palestine conflict, St Louis's issues, Iraq, and miscellaneous trivia with a keen sort of approach. Rarely with biases he can support his beliefs with information. Being ex-military he is loyal to the president's approaches. However after viewing the actions of Mr Bush over the last few years especially with Hurricane Katrina he is appalled and vehemently opposes the man.
Which brings me to the dilemma at hand. I am curious to know your opinions.
In my little yuppie life I rarely come across people who are racist or uneducated. My group consists of people from all walks of life and we live cohesive lives together. However knowing Bob I hear stories I would not have heard otherwise. Because he has worked for us for five years now I have heard many that just shock me.
Last week Bob was at his local favorite tavern the tin can. A young black woman was harassed by what Bob called skinheads. She was called a n****r. Rage boiled inside of the man named Bob and told them to get the hell out of there because no person is going to be bashed in front of him for their differences. Bob would not have his multi-cultural tavern fucked with. There is the token gay couple, the black woman, the Muslim group, a couple of Asians, and the permanent ass-implanted white man on the bar stool. He would defend all of the equally.
A vocal fight ensued with the men who finally asked Bob if he would like to have a cup of tea and discuss the issue venerably. Bob most happily agreed and got the shit kicked out of him by four or more guys. He missed work for several days and had a minor concussion.
When I heard this I was not shocked but was troubled by the whole thing. On one hand I respect the loyalty he shows for his fellow man. On the other hand was their a better way to handle it. What did his getting his ass kicked prove?
Honestly speaking what could have been done? If police would have been called what would they have done? Take a report and file it?
Cosmically speaking there was an action of support for the woman and karmically something was done. These guys may not have changed because some white guy was standing up for a black woman. But what did it represent? Does this woman feel supported? Did it make a difference to her who was just assaulted because of her race. If it did change how she felt maybe it did make a difference and the futile attempt at fighting these men was not in vain.
How did his actions affect everyone in the bar? Someone was willing to stand up against what was wrong. Honestly that makes me feel a little safer in the world when a person stands up for what he believes in.
The holocaust continued because people did not stand up quick enough.
Nine million people were murdered. Why did this happen? How could it have? It happened because there were not enough courageous people who were willing to put themselves in danger. Pastor Niemoller summed it up:
First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn't a communist.
- Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
- because I wasn’t a Jew.
- Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
- because I was a Protestant.
- Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
- to speak up for me.
I was taught as a child to not fight because it was not nice and that fighting did not solve anything. I think this is wrong now. But one choose their battles and ask if this is the hill you want to die on?
My struggle with Bob was apparent as a fumbled for words. He thought he needed to defend himself to me and that I was going to say that he was wrong so before I could explain my quandry he said to me "Alex if someone had called you a k**e I would have done the same for you." Which left me with the thought that I do not think that him getting his ass kicked would have solved the hurt that I would have felt. On the other hand knowing that he would have sacrificed himself for my honor is a gesture worth praising.
I think it is so necessary for people to step in and stick up for his fellow man but what is the right way to step in? What else could Bob have done to make a difference without getting beaten up with an unfair amount of people against one?
So this morning I get a call from Bob who informs me that many people heard about what had happened. The mixed cultural bar is rising up against these men who gave the woman a hard time and for Bob who was hurt in the fight. Tonight, there is going to be another fight but this time it is the tavern fighting those few men. Which will leave the fight unfair. I only imagine that they will be hurt severely because they will be outnumbered.
In my sensitive heart I cringe at anyone be hurt by words or physically. My heart goes out to the woman who was called the name and I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I also feel sorry for the men who will be beaten tonight.
On one hand I rejoice in the human side of me who says they will get what is coming to them. Karmically they probably deserve what they are getting. But what will it solve. More violence? Or will it effect these men enough to know that their injustice will not be tolerated by society? Or will it just add fuel to their hate fire? On my other hand I want to throw the breaks on and stop more pain. But what can I do? What should I do?
This event is only a microcosm for the rest of the world and it's problems. I am perplexed at my own thoughts of what needs to be done. Do I have any moral obligations since I now know of the events that will occur?