It is time for us, the United States of America, to take a breath. It seems that the
word "united" in our name no longer means anything.
In a world where we are supposed to be moving towards more inclusion and
tolerance, we are moving quickly in the opposite direction.
"We the people" no longer means anything. Now, it is we the Whites or we the
Blacks, we the Irish, we the Hispanics, we the Asians, we the heterosexuals, we the
homosexuals, we the asexuals, we the transsexuals, we the pan sexual, and a host
of many other titles.
I am probably about as much of a mutt as could be found. I am part of many
things. I am Irish, Scottish, Black, American Indian, Celtic, Anglo, Saxon,
Bohemian, Czech, Hungarian, Arian, Romani, and probably others.
It is improper to call someone the “N’ word, but no one seems to realize that there
are many equally offensive names that are part of our language. How many times
have you heard of the van the police use to haul prisoners as at “Paddy Wagon”?
This is an offensive term derived because they were often driven by Irish
policemen to pick up Irish prisoners. Did you know that?
How many times have you heard the word “Gypsy” and thought nothing of it? Do
you realize this the term is used to degrade we that are Romani? It, as well as
Paddy, is just as offensive as the “N” word, but no one seems to notice.
What happened in the predominantly black church in South Carolina is terrible. A
disturbed young man killed many innocent people. Unfortunately, the focus has
been taken off of those killed and their families and has been used for political and
So what happened? The flags at the South Carolina state house were lowered to
half-mast to honor those who died. However, the Confederate Battle flag could not
be lowered because it is locked in place and does not have a pulley and rope
system to lower it. The South Carolina law known as the “Heritage Act” prohibits
the flag from being removed.
Years ago, lawmakers in good faith negotiated a settlement where the Confederate
Battle Flag was removed from the flagpole atop the State House dome and moved
to a memorial to honor the men and women who died during that bloody conflict in
American and Southern History.
I don’t dispute the fact that this disturbed young man was motivated by hate.
There are some people who just cannot get around that. But not all people are
motivated by hate. Whenever we have a white police officer involved with any
race other than white, the natural tendency is to yell hatred. Innocent until proven
guilty is not extended to these officers.
Whenever there is a white on any other race crime, it is automatically labeled as
being racially motivated. When other races commit crimes, the view is that these
crimes were caused because of oppression by the whites.
If a heterosexual attacks any person of another sexual orientation, it is
automatically assumed to be caused by hatred. When someone from a sexual
orientation other than heterosexual commits a crime, nothing is said about them.
The crime is reported as a crime.
This labeling is the cause of the tensions. It will only get worse unless we strip
away the labels and handle the situation on the facts at hand.
When anyone loses their life, it is a tragedy. All lives matter. The thing is if we
remove the labels we use, we will find out that we are all basically the same.
I have a friend from China who will proudly tell you he is a redneck. He found
that he and I had more in common than we have differences.
I have attended many predominantly black churches. We all worship the same
God in similar ways. The music in a black Baptist church is a lot better than in
most predominantly white churches that I have attended. I have never felt
unwelcomed in a predominantly black church. We Christians all worship the same
God loves the sinner and hates the sin. I am sure He is disappointed in the way
that we treat one another.
Walmart, Target, Amazon, E-bay, Etsy, and all the rest that have made public
statements have not done so out of a sense of morality. They have taken this
opportunity for commercial gain. If they were opposed to the merchandise with
the Confederate symbols on them, they would never have sold them in the first
place. I have much more respect for those companies who choose to never sell it
over those who sell it as long as they can make a buck off of it and now choose to
use the issue as free advertisement.
Many of the same politicians who are calling for the removal of the flag now
endorsed the move to the monument on the State House grounds and/or opposed its
removal from the capitol dome. They are using the issue for political gain and not
out of personal conviction. If they supported the flag when it was popular to do so
and now oppose it because that is what is popular now, how can we trust their
stand on any issue?
For now, let us honor those who were killed and pray for their families. Let us not
use their deaths at the hands of a disturbed youth to promote a cause. Instead, let's
take a time to heal.
If the South Carolina government feels that the issue of historical artifacts needs to
be addressed, let them have a referendum that will allow voters in South Carolina
to decide either to keep all historical markers and monuments in place or to remove
all historical markers and monuments from all state property. Anything that could
possibly be divisive should be removed. That would be any monument of any
historical significance whatsoever.
Think about it, we can either learn from our past and not repeat it, or we can ignore
the past and be destined to repeat it. We are on the verge of a civil rights uprising
that could be worse than the 1860s and 1960s combined if we do not take time to
breathe and go forward with a sense of cooperation.