The Common Good
January-February 1997

Tolkien and the Canon

by Isabel Bonnyman Stanley | January-February 1997

I WOULD LIKE to thank you for your article on Jesse Helms in the
September-October issue.

I WOULD LIKE to thank you for your article on Jesse Helms in the September-October issue. It is a sweet miracle to see unity and harmony develop in relationships that seem to be beyond repair.

Your story caused me to remember my dismay and that of my family when George Wallace, an avid segregationist, was re-elected as Alabama's governor in the early 1970s. Some years later when my brother had a serious diving accident he and Gov. Wallace were being rehabilitated at the same facility, and we had an opportunity to meet the governor and get to know him. How personal tragedy can open and transform us! We saw a vulnerable and hurting person beneath the hot wind and bravado of his political image and ideologies.

Just a few months ago, I had the profound pleasure of seeing a photograph on the front page of our local paper. Gov. Wallace was shown laughing with the guest of honor at a banquet, a middle-aged black woman. This banquet was given in her honor because she had the courage to demand her right to attend the public university in Alabama. On her first day of classes, Gov. Wallace had called militia to block her entrance and the National Guard had to escort her to her classes. [Now] several decades later he attended a banquet honoring her and that momentous historical event, and they had laughed together as if they were longtime friends.

Thanks again for an inspiring article. It causes me to pause and give great thanks to God for the gift of reconciliation.

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