Just like our ancestors over the past thousands of years, we will cast our eyes to the skies on Monday to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event: a total eclipse of the sun.

Keizer and everything in a 60-mile-wide swath of land from Lincoln City to Ontario will come to a halt as the day grows darker due to the moon passing slowly between the sun and the earth. This  astronomic event engages scientists and arm-chair Gaillelo’s alike.

Centuries ago people believed that the eclipsing of the sun was a sign of angered gods. As the moon continued its path out of the sun’s direct light, people celebrated: their sacrifaces and prayers pleased the gods.

Modern science has proven that a solar eclipse is nothing more than the aligning of heavenly bodies. Some people may imbue the event with spiritual meaning.  One thing the eclipse does is bring people together. Most people in Keizer have never experienced a total eclipse before. Tens of thousands of Oregon faces will be turned to the sky and we will all marvel at the rarity.

That will be in such constrast to what is happening in other parts of the country right now.

It is more difficult to maintain anger and hatred at other people when everyone is awed by nature’s grand design. Keizer sits in western Oregon. Though we are relatively conservative, our location in the progessive northwest influences how we we treat each other. It is hard to imagine people in Keizer tolerating the type of protests and rallies as occured in Charlotteville, Va. last weekend. We think that residents of Keizer would rise up, non-violently. to blunt any rally expousing racism and intolerance.

Keizer is a tolerant place. The city council has been asked to pass an inclusivity resolution that would put the city squarely on the side of equality. As the city grows it will become more diverse which is a great opportunity to show how open and accepting the city and its residents are.

Keizer can show how tolerant it is beginning this weekend with the expected throngs of visitors coming to see the eclipse. Depending on the source, we can see up to half a million people come to Marion County. We will all have to be patient with the extra traffic, longer waits at restaurants and other businesses.

An eclipse may be a rare thing but Keizerites treating others with respect and diginty should not be.

  —LAZ