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Richard Crowson Commentary

Crowson: Love Beats Hate

Richard Crowson

On a warm Kansas autumn day I made my way to our neighborhood elementary school. Every October they have a Fall Fest.

The proceedings always start with an amazing event: A huge parking lot square dance. Somehow the music teacher organizes a hundred or so elementary students and their adult relatives into twirling couples that doh-si-doh and promenade their way over the pavement. It’s a wondrous sight.

Like many public schools, this one has large populations of Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and plenty of Caucasian kids, too. There are sprinklings of other cultures as well and all of the various religions associated with them. And here they all were, swinging their partners and “Skip To My Lou-ing.” The autumn sun bathed them in the amber tones of mid-October.

As I sat taking it all in on the sidelines, a friend handed me a cell phone with a news story on its screen. Three men in Garden City, Kansas, had been arrested for allegedly planning a terrorist act: car bombing the homes of immigrant families. Allegedly their goal was a bloodbath in which immigrant children would be killed.

I decided to direct my attention back to the square dance of diversity that was joyfully prancing about under the vast expanse of Kansas skies. This dance is wider than any narrow vision of hatred and violence could ever be. This dance is the real Kansas.