President Lyndon Johnson visited Martin County, Ky. in 1964. I was nine years old. We were considered the poorest county in the United States. Most of us did not know we were poor, but we would soon find out from Johnson and the national media.
At that time, there were no African Americans living in Martin County. From first grade through my senior year in high school, I did not attend school with any African Americans. Occasionally we would play a basketball team that had African American players.
The first time I saw African American people was probably on NBC News with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. The first African American I saw in person was in Columbus, Ohio. We would travel there once or twice a year to visit family. I saw people of color passing by in other cars, and as a small child, I would turn my head to look.
What I saw on the evening NBC national news was bewildering to me as a child. There was the violence of the Alabama race riots mixed with the evening reports of Vietnam. As a young elementary student, I did not understand what the heck was going on.
In the second half of my life, some of my best friends are African Americans. I have had opportunities to visit in their homes, have them in my home, speak in their churches and go out to dinner to socialize. I am blessed. I know they are black, and they know that I am white but we don't see color.
I thought it was sad that our President stated that he felt some people in America "really dislike" him because he is black. You can find almost any group in America - there are people who don't like white people, those who do not like Christians, some people who don't like Jews, others who do not like the poor and some who don't like the rich. Unfortunately, we could say there are "some" for everything.
Hate requires a lot of energy.
This country needs to use that energy in a more positive way. If we, as a country, do not work together we are going to fall apart. Nobody can have everything his or her way. America is not here for just one group, one religion or one political party.
Our President must remember twice the majority of voters - not just African American voters - elected him. At one time, he had a popularity poll of 70 percent. That's a great number for any politician regardless of race.
We have an African American President. We will eventually elect a woman President and soon we will have gay candidates for President. In Washington, Colorado and who knows where else, the candidates will probably be handing out marijuana cigarettes.
Red, yellow, black or white we all are precious in God's sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. God doesn't see color and hopefully neither do most Americans.
Glenn Mollette is an a columnist read in all 50 states. He can be reached by email at GMollette@aol.com. He can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/glennmollette.