Cheryl Hughes: I Will Find You
In his book, I WILL FIND YOU, Joe Kenda (from the ID channel’s “Homicide Hunter”) gives an account of listening to a CIA agent during a State Department briefing for potential employees. This incident occurred early on in his life when he was trying to decide which life path he wanted to head down. Joe gives the following account of that briefing: “The CIA man made my country sound more like a manipulative and exploitive bully. All he could talk about was overthrowing governments, protecting our sources of oil, and assassinating anyone who stood in the way of our need to dominate the globe. His vision of America was not the same as mine.” Joe’s vision took him to the police force in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he rose through the ranks to police detective.
On March 6, Garey and his friend Jay attended the Crime Stoppers breakfast in Bowling Green. Joe Kenda was the guest speaker. He told stories involving run-ins with some very bad people, but it was an aside comment that got my attention. Joe said crime rates are actually down in this country, but you’d never know it by watching the evening news. “If it bleeds, it leads,” he said of news headlines. This will be good news for my daughter, who is convinced there will be nothing worth staying here for when she reaches retirement age. She is already making plans to retire to Australia. If their news media is anything like ours, the Australians are probably making plans to retire to the US.
There are times when Garey and I are watching the evening news, and I will look over at him and say, “Honey, can you just mute the sound until they get through the bickering and accusing segment and move on to some actual news?” He does, and we watch the talking heads go at one another until we see an avalanche or a twenty-car pileup or flames shooting from a high rise somewhere in our country then we turn the sound back on. At the Crime Stopper breakfast, Joe Kenda advised people to turn off their TVs. I’m seriously taking his advice under consideration, because the news media’s view of America is not the same as mine. (I want to note here that I make the effort to watch several news outlets, which include, but are not limited to ABC, CNN, FOX and MSNBC. I watch them all, because none of them have the market cornered on the truth. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.)
If you read historical accounts of the rise and fall of nations and governments, you might reach the same conclusion Solomon did when he wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.” From Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar to Attila the Hun to Napoleon to Hitler and Roosevelt and Churchill to Trump, Putin and Kim Jong Un, nations rise and nations fall. There is espionage and counter-intelligence, just like that CIA guy said in the State Department briefing those many years ago, when a young Joe Kenda was listening. When Joe walked out of that room, saying “His vision of America was not the same as mine,” he wasn’t in denial. He was saying, I will make a difference where it counts: on the streets of everyday America.
Most of us can be found in everyday America. We aren’t CIA or FBI, but we are nonetheless defenders of our freedoms, because we built those freedoms from the ground up. We have been there for one another. We’ve cried with one another and laughed with one another and bolstered one another during nearly impossible situations. If America needs us, they won’t have to come looking for us, they’ll know where to find us.
This week, a friend reminded me of a quote I had forgotten. It’s from the movie, The Last Jedi: “That’s how we’re gonna win, not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.” That’s what we do here, save what we love.