The Young Man From Baltimore | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Young Man From Baltimore
by

I believe in miracles. Being born in America, to me, is a miracle. Having my wonderful wife is a miracle. My son, my daughter-in-law, my granddaughter, my sister, my friends, my homes, especially my dogs, are all miracles.

But like everyone else, I have been terribly worried about America in recent years. We are torn apart by many kinds of racial and political animosities. We face an enemy of unspeakable cruelty determined to kill the innocent. We have a President who ran on a promise to make us all one America, but who instead has presided over deep splits, violence, and hatred, not necessarily his fault.

In particular, many of us are worried about crime and how police and media behavior are playing out in that frightening realm.

Are we destined to be pulled apart into an atomized America? If not, what is the solution?

I believe I witnessed it with my own eyes a few days ago at a spiritual self-help group I regularly attend in a small Southern California city. The group is usually all white or almost all white with a few Hispanics. But on this day, there were several young black men sitting looking serious. Their presence was unusual. Why were they there? I was puzzled. 

But when the youngest of them got up to speak, this, in paraphrase, is what he said. “I am Daniel and I come from Baltimore, Maryland. I grew up as one of 22 children, in poverty. At eighteen, I joined the Army. I served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I saw violence and suffering and yet I managed to stay in prayer.

“But when I left the service about eighteen months ago and went back to Baltimore, I saw a level of anger and violence beyond what I had seen in Iraq. I started to get into that violence with gang bangers and rage and a desire to hurt.

“But then I realized a few things. I love the United States of America with all of my heart and soul. I want to serve my fellow people, not hurt them. And I want to do it under God’s guidance. So, I put down the anger, and I moved to California. I am not even sure exactly where I am on the map. I just know that there are a lot of prayer sessions every day and I am going to keep going to them until I have so much love and prayer stored up in me that I can go back to Baltimore and teach love and understanding for other men and women and for this country.”

Then he sat down, to wild applause. This man is a Daniel come to judgment. I think there are more like him, of all races. In his person, he encompasses exactly what this country needs to find its way back to the right track. Prayer, forgiveness, camaraderie in worship, and love of man and country. I talked to Daniel at some length later, gave him my number, and want to do what I can do to help him and for him to help me. He is the way to a much brighter future for us and our children and grandchildren. Somehow, he has learned what we all need to know at this moment in our history to guide us past the shoals of hate and division. God bless you, Daniel. You are now a miracle in my life. You are a miracle in the life of America.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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