Stoking the Fire was my Brother’s Job
When I was young, growing up in Iowa, we had a massive coal furnace in the basement. My big brother was responsible for stoking the fire when my folks were at work. As often as not, he had to do it on the weekends too.
I remember how terrified I was when someone opened the door to that massive furnace and the whooshing sounds carried me off on the wings of imagination.
There had to be a dragon behind that heavy metal door, didn’t there?
The thing looked like a giant octopus, sitting on the old stone floor. (We poured a cement floor once the beast retired and we purchased our first gas furnace.)
Now, stick with me here. There are some important parallels to our current situation.
Stoking the Fire Creates Cinder Ash
The job of shoveling out the coal ash belonged to all of us. I remember hoisting a shovel to remove the cinders from the furnace in the spring and shoveling them into a chute that went through a window and into a holding container by the house.
A truck would arrive to pick up the cinders and deposit them somewhere in the county.
Sadly, we had no idea of the dangers of the cinders back then. I would hope if we did, our parents would never have assigned the task to their kids.
According to Wikipedia, there are some serious effects on our health from coal ash: Some toxic constituents that are found in coal ash are arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, lithium, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, thallium, and uranium.
And we wonder why so many people are now getting cancer.
Are the connections linked to those things we were subjected to as children?
Will future generations be impacted by all the toxic mess we threw into the waters and the ground?
Back then, I’m quite certain no one kept track of where all the waste went.
How many homes are now built upon toxic waste dumps?
Stoking the Fires of a Nation
I know what it’s like to be denied the insurance coverage necessary to take care of my children.
There is still a burning memory in my gut of what it feels like to go to bed hungry at night.
Unfortunately, I’ll never forget what it’s like to endure unwanted touching by a boss in order to keep a job to support my kids.
I understand the trauma of being raped at the age of seven. My heart aches for the innocent women and children who become pregnant as a result of rape.
No amount of time passing will reduce the memory of the men who earned twice as much as I did, and who worked far fewer hours per day.
For the average man and woman in this country, there is a wave of deep-seated anger that continues to fester day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year for these and other injustices.
Stoking the Fire Through Words and Tweets
I hold no anger for the injustices I suffered through the years…quite the opposite.
Many of those injustices were simply a sign of the times.
Regardless of the torment and inequality, I am the strong woman I am as a result of all those things.
What makes my heart heavy today is watching the anger of others who have been affected by unequal opportunities as they react to words of anger spread through multiple social media sites.
When will we as a nation become intelligent enough to understand that stoking the fires doesn’t solve any of our problems?
What it does, is create a toxic radioactive wave of hatred and distrust that will eventually result in a country that is far different than the vision our Founding Fathers had for this great country.
When we choose to stoke the fires of hatred, defeat, inequality, fear, and injustice we create a deadly ash which will never support the foundation of our nation.
Instead of stoking the fire today, find a way to help cool the soul of our nation.
Stop sharing words of hate.
Don’t stoke the fire of hatred.
The ash you create with anger will turn your future into toxic cinders.
Our hope is lying in the building blocks of cooperation, compassion, and unity.
After all, they called it the United States of America for a reason.