Stop, stop, stop hurting the world! Part 1.1: Guest blogger!

Exciting news! In what I hope will become a regular feature here at All That I Can’t Leave Unsaid (and, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t take much to become a regular feature here. So far the only truly regular feature is inactivity!), I offer for your reading pleasure some thoughts from my good friend, Ryan Hilligoss, aka Hill, for obvious reasons. (Actually, that should read “oka Hill”, as in “ONLY known as.” Whenever someone calls him ‘Ryan’ all the rest of us start looking around, wondering who they’re talking about.)

If this goes well, I see us as the new Statler and Waldorf. If it doesn’t, well, then I suppose we might become the new Paula and Simon. And not in the good way.

So, Hill, whatcha got?


Hey Dave!!! Or Is that all you got, George? by Hill

Hey Dave!!!! This is what I would like to call my segment on your blog as in “Hey Dave!!!” “Dave’s not here man…go home” in honor of an old Cheech and Chong bit and in the spirit of a point/counterpoint format.

Or my other title would be, “Is that all you got George?” in honor of Muhammad Ali who uttered these words to George Forman right before knocking him out during their  historic Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire in 1974. Ali used the now famous tactic of lying against the ropes and letting George Foreman pummel him for the majority of 8 rounds in what is now called the Rope A Dope. Foreman was used to getting in the ring and knocking his opponent out in first few rounds with brutal power. Ali brilliantly decided to let Foreman wear himself out and then make a move. For 7 rounds, Ali lay against the ropes and Foreman wailed away, punching Ali’s forearms while doing little damages to Ali’s body. The crowd and commentators all thought Ali was losing badly and were just waiting for him to fall down. In the middle of the 8th round, Foreman was getting tired and leaned in against Ali while punching and Ali said to Foreman, “Is that all you got George?” To which Foreman stopped and thought for a moment and simply replied, “Yep” At which point Ali spun out of the ropes and quickly punched Foreman several times in the jaw and knocking him out of the fight.

I hope to play the part of Ali by laying against the ropes and being beaten with unreasonableness, illogic and incivility and then replying with the facts to defeat the enemy that afflicts us all here in America and throughout the world. I keep hoping the facts will make a difference in our general conversations and truth will win.

[Dave here: Hey! Who are you calling “unreasonable, illogical and uncivil?” The readers and commenters here? Ha! There’d have to be some first before they can be accused of such chicanery!]

While the debate on the Ground Zero mosque rages on both sides, I would like to list some statistics for you:

  • Fredericksburg, Va- 17,962
  • Chancellorsville, Va- 30,051
  • Seven Pines, Va- 11,165
  • Petersburg, Va- 20,967

Do any of these city names ring a bell to anyone? Maybe somewhere back in the recesses of your memory? Maybe from a history lesson in high school while you dozed at your desk? Above reflect some of the battles fought during the Civil War between 1861-1865. The numbers attached to each are the amount of casualties suffered by both sides during each battle.

What is interesting is that on each of these historic sites, thousands of Americans “gave the last full measure of devotion,” in Abraham Lincoln’s words. What is also interesting is that on each of these battlefields, currently stand the following (in order of listings above): a condo complex, housing development, highways and strip malls, a KFC, and a K Mart shopping center. The list goes on and on in excruciating fashion and can be seen in an incredible book of photos taken at many of the battlefields, Killing Ground: The Civil War and Changing American Landscape by John Huddleston.

While the debate rages on the New York City mosque and Islam in America in general, a debate is being fought in Gettysburg, Pa right now between citizens of Gettysburg and the town council and a company that wants to build a casino/hotel complex within ½ mile of the woods where Pickett’s charge began. During the battle of Gettysburg, combined casualties totaled over 50,000 including 26,000 dead, the most Americans ever lost in one military campaign. And some company wants to build a casino right over it? Where is the moral outrage? Where are the protestors? Where are all the political leaders on both sides of the aisle weighing in on this travesty?

I understand that 3,000 Americans died on 9/11/01 and this is an incredibly sensitive issue for all of the families affected by the events of that tragic attack, as it should be. Nor am I comparing one hallowed ground to the next or stating one life is more valuable than another. But is this just one more example of a topic being misappropriated by some for political expediency? My concern is the awful whiff of hypocrisy I am detecting.

The “Ground Zero Mosque” reminds me of a historian describing the Holy Roman Empire as being neither holy nor Roman nor an Empire. The debated project is 4 blocks from ground zero and it is a community center which would have 13 floors of gyms, classrooms, activities, etc in addition to worshipping centers for Christians, Jews and Muslims. There is one other mosque in the area that has been in operation since the late 70’s with no incidents or concerns from the community. There are strip clubs and bars all over the area and the proposed site used to be, no kidding, a Burlington Coat Factory. Is this really hallowed ground or is it another ploy by some to conquer and divide?

Or in other words, the next time I travel with my dad to see the sights on our annual road trip across America and we stop in to see a Civil War site, I will make sure to stop at KFC before visiting the tourist center. The only question I need to ask myself is if I like regular or extra crispy?

Just for your edification, below is text given by Abraham Lincoln during his speech before dedicating the site at Gettysburg as a national cemetery for the battle’s fallen:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

One thought on “Stop, stop, stop hurting the world! Part 1.1: Guest blogger!

  1. Pretty good stuff, there Hilligoss. Thanks for sharing it. My main question for you: what about churches? In those four VA battlegrounds you mention, are there any churches nearby? If so, how close to those sites are they?
    It seems to me that those are questions that could help us see a connection to the Park 51 project.
    Presumably all those men who died in VA were Christian. Or at least they were expected to be. So, if the anti-Park 51 people can be taken at their word (and we should assume good faith on their part), they would have the same objects to churches on those spots in VA.
    So dust off the google-fu and tell us what you find out!

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