Rockwell's America is still alive

By John Heckman


Dear Editor:

I've got to hand it to Gary Herby. I can't tell whether his letter ("The American dream has come to an end," 12/30/15) is satire or real. In either case, his letter painted a perfect picture of a frightened and resentful old-white-male, shaking his fist and yelling at those kids to get off his lawn. He listed a bunch of people who aren't exactly like him, and blamed them for the death of Norman Rockwell's America.

One of Norman Rockwell's most famous pictures was "The Problem We All Live With," (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Problem_We_All_Live_With) a powerful image showing 6-year old Ruby Bridges being escorted by U.S. marshals into an all-white elementary school during desegregation 55 years ago. President Obama had this painting installed in the White House for a while in 2011. I don't know how anyone could look at that picture without feeling sympathy and respect for the young black girl. That was Rockwell's genius: reflecting life with sympathy and love for his characters. In other words, Rockwell's America was the exact opposite of the one Mr. Herby describes. Irrational hatred and fear is still, unfortunately, a Problem We All Live With. As another old-white-male, I'd like to apologize to those who read Mr. Herby's letter. We aren't all like that. Rockwell's America is still alive and in this America, everyone is entitled to respect and justice. I'm hoping that Mr. Herby is a genius of satire rather than a bitter and panicked curmudgeon.

John Heckman
Delta