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Friday, June 26, 2015

Take a Breath

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

commercial gain.

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.

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