When Community and Compassion Did Not Mean Government
A wave of shock and fear overtook me as I hit my brakes on Belle Grove Rd. A lake covered the main road through the lower half of the community where I was raised -- where my parents and younger siblings still lived. The only sign of the homes in the lower area of our small black suburban community called Pumphrey was a few tips of roofs. Hurricane Agnes left much of Pumphrey under water.
It was the early '70s. I was a teen living in Baltimore City, attending college. Upon hearing about the hurricane hitting Pumphrey, I headed home to check on my family.
We moved to Pumphrey when Dad, along with a few other blacks, broke the color barrier to become Baltimore City firefighters. This afforded us (mom, dad and five kids) funds to move out of the government projects in Baltimore City.
It is funny how events in life make or break you. Pumphrey had two churches, one Baptist and the other Methodist. Dad did not pastor either of the Pumphrey churches. He was assistant pastor of a storefront church in an east Baltimore ghetto. And yet, Hurricane Agnes transformed Dad into the unsolicited leader of Pumphrey, our suburban community.
Using a rowboat, Dad and my 12-year-old brother David rescued neighbors stuck on their roofs. Dad helped those in need of assistance, filling out forms, and was the community advocate with the Red Cross. We, as a community, helped each other get our homes back together. With her floors covered in mud, I remember washing dishes and cleaning Mrs. Johnson's kitchen. We were Pumphrey. The hurricane made us family.
Obama and the Democrats have hijacked and perverted words such as "community" and "compassion" for your neighbor, redefining them to claim moral authority for their desired government redistribution -- extorting the earnings of one group to give to another. Under Obama, government dependency is honorable. Obama's vision of a perfect society is destructive to the human spirit. It is evil and wrong.
While I do not know how folks in Pumphrey voted, we lived conservative lives. Most of the community attended church on Sunday. We celebrated education, hard work, excellence, and individual achievement.
Pumphrey beamed with pride when resident wrestling champions Larry Avery and Lloyd Keaser competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics, for the United States. Lloyd "Butch" Keaser was the first black wrestler to win an Olympic medal. He won the silver. Keaser's sister married my brother David. Pumphrey gave our two Olympic heroes a parade and renamed the community center the Lloyd Keaser Center.
I returned to Pumphrey a year or so ago to see the humble homes of my childhood replaced by huge, beautiful homes owned by former Pumphrey kids. These successful black young adults, many entrepreneurs, still love the community and decided to stay. They embraced, pursued, and achieved their American Dreams.
Upon seeing all the new mansions in Pumphrey, I said sarcastically, "How can this be? Everyone knows that blacks cannot make it in racist America." Despite a black man occupying the Oval Office, Democrats despicably speak as if America has not progressed racially beyond the 1950s. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, and the Congressional Black Caucus are still singing "We Shall Overcome Someday." Democrats irresponsibly and shamelessly continue to use race as a bludgeon to beat conservatives/Republicans into submission. Opposing Obama on any issue is regarded as racist by Democrats and their sycophant white guilt-consumed liberal mainstream media.
I pray that fellow blacks along with all Americans will awaken from their Obama-zombie trance and see the man for who he truly is: a false prophet spreading the virtues of mediocrity and cradle-to-grave reliance on government. Such a mindset and philosophy do not produce achievers/winners such as Olympians Larry Avery and Lloyd Keaser and the other successful Americans of Pumphrey.
When we first moved to Pumphrey, the grass in our backyard was over six feet high. Our entire family was cutting the grass with various hand tools. Our neighbor, a tall, thin, wrinkled black man with working-man-hands, wearing a straw hat and bib-jeans, showed up with a huge sickle to instruct and help us. Mr. Charlie and Dad became good friends. Welcome to Pumphrey.
A pickup truck loaded with free tomatoes arrived in Pumphrey. Everyone came out of their homes with baskets and containers, which they filled with tomatoes and took them home. Then a rotten tomato hit my dad, Reverend Marcus. It launched our Great Community Tomato Fight -- parents and kids, everyone laughing and having a wonderful time. It was silly and fun.
As I said, we were Pumphrey, and we were family. In those days, community and compassion meant looking out for one another. It was not Obama's perversion of demonizing achievers, of government confiscating and redistributing wealth. We did not have a president acting like an imperial ruler over our lives.