The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
Your comments on this column are welcome. E-mail Ron @
by Ron Cruger
What if?
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
      Sunday mornings are delicious. Sundays have the most intelligent television programs of the whole week. The CBS show, .ďSunday Morning,Ē is one of the most discerning and erudite programs on television. I wouldnít miss it. Itís the cultural opposite of the reality drivel offered on most networks.
       Sundays are something special to look forward to. A cup of coffee, a bagel and some cream cheese and then a relaxing look at the Sunday paper, while comfortably nestled in the arms of a soft reclining chair.
       Every few moments I notice the suns rays lengthen as they stretch along the living room carpet. A peaceful, relaxed Sunday.
       Sitting there, with the Sunday paper on my lap and the sunís rays warming me, images began forming in my mind.
       In my slumberous state I pictured Adolph Hitler, walking along the Willhelmstrassse in Berlin, accompanied by some of his jack-booted thugs. Itís 1931. As Hitler turns to the not yet fleshy and ballooned Herman Goering, he says, ďWe must begin immediately to build more camps. We must rid Germany of its undesirables.Ē
       As Hitler finished his hate filled sentence a small man, dressed completely in black, approached Hitler. Hitler believed the man to be a Nazi supporter. He reached out to shake the manís hand. With that movement, the man reached inside his long, black overcoat and revealed a dull black Luger pistol. He pulled the trigger, sending a mortal shot through Hitlerís brain, killing him instantly. Hitler fell to the pavement and with his death the world changed forever.
       If only.
       The sunís rays continued to march across the carpet in front of me as my thoughts changed to April 4, 1968. Martin Luther King stepped out on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, along with some of his followers, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson. As King leaned on the railing surrounding the hotel a mousy, lackluster southerner named James Earl Ray held a rifle against his cheek, closed his left eye, aimed and prepared to squeeze the trigger. He waited for the energetic King to stand still. There!
       He had King in his sight. He pulled the trigger and felt the recoil as the bullet sped for a date with destiny. The sound of the shot rang out across the courtyard, followed by the thud of the bullet striking the wooden wall of the Lorraine Motel. King looked across the courtyard to see where the loud noise had emanated. A young Jesse Jackson reached out for Kingís right arm and pulled him inside the motelís hallway, safe from the potential assassinís bullets. Within minutes Memphis police had surrounded James Earl Rayís room and arrested him. Martin Luther King had escaped the assassination attempt, unharmed and eager to continue his struggle for freedom and justice.
       If only.
       A few seconds, a few inches, a slight movement one way or another and our world would be different.
       On a bright, sunny day in Galilee, a man named Jesus leaned on a cabinet that he and his father were building for a rich merchant. Jesusí brother, James, walked by on his way to the family house on the outskirts of town. Jesus had been deep in thought and when he saw his brother he called him over to where he was standing. Jesus walked to his shorter brother, put his two arms on Jamesí shoulders, looked him in the eye. ďJames, I have made a decision. I shall stay in Galilee the rest of my life and become the best carpenter in town. I like this work and I like the people here. I can help them by building beautiful furniture for their houses. I have no desire to leave this beautiful place where we live. I have made up my mind. I have told our father and our mother about my decision. And James hugged his older brother and said, ďMy prayers are with you, brother.Ē
       And Jesus spent the rest of his days building furniture for the people of Galilee.
       I pictured Mohammed saying to an assembled multitude, ďBeloved followers, we are brothers with Christians and Jews. I want you to treat our brothers with love and understanding. They may go their ways and us ours. Do not enter into their decisions. Respect all Christians and Jews and love them as your own.Ē
       How a few moments, a few sentences uttered fifteen hundred years ago would have changed our world.
       I see, in my mind, a young Jackie Robinson, walking on a campus path at UCLA. The handsome Robinson had just played his last football game for this college and was chosen as a consensus All-American. He was headed for the school track to prepare for the coming season. As he walked along the gravel path, a freshman admirer of Robinson yelled to the three sport star, ĒJackie, youíre my hero.Ē The humble athlete looked down the path at his thin admirer and quietly offered, ďThank you.Ē As Robinson looked up at the freshman he took his eye off the gravel path, stepping on a large, rounded stone, causing his ankle to turn on its side. Robinson heard the sound of his ankle crack. He fell to the ground and reached for the rapidly swelling ankle. He knew immediately that it was broken. Jackie Robinson never again participated in athletics. The rest of his life he walked with a noticeable limp. Baseball and America would never have known the contributions of Jackie Robinson.
       Leaning further back in my recliner I envisioned a man named Barack Obama. He had graduated from Columbia University and then Harvard with degrees in law. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2000 the young Obama decided to give up politics and return to teaching. He lived out his days with his wife Michelle and two daughters, Malia and Natasha as a professor of constitutional law at Columbia University. He refused to participate in politics the rest of his life.
       A quick decision, a few seconds, a few inches, a slight movement and the world where we reside would be much different