I have held my tongue about this issue since I returned to the States last week. It was sort of nice being on vacation and not knowing what was going on in the world. Being isolated was refreshing in a sense. However, when I came back to earth, I found that one of my all-time favorite television shows had been taken off of the air by TV Land because of a shooting in South Carolina. We were actually in SC when the shooting occurred. We were traveling through. However, I never dreamed that the knee-jerk reaction to the shooting would be to ban a television show that aired decades ago.
Then, yesterday, I read the article about how the confederate flag was being taken down by South Carolina. Talk about the fast track! Can you imagine if our governments, on all levels, worked this fast to resolve issues? The United States would certainly be a force to be reckoned with. Instead, we keep farming out jobs, keeping more people dependent on the government, cutting our military, and we continue to ignore many, many other problems that are keeping us crippled. And we are worried about a flag?
This is the last time I will speak of this, but I’ve been quiet about it long enough. I have a forum for this and I’m using it. So, if you are easily offended, I’m asking you not to read this. I am going to touch on some pretty controversial subjects, so fasten your seat-belts!
Undoubtedly slavery is wrong on all levels. This goes for Jewish slavery in the Old Testament, Irish slavery (white, Irish slavery), African American slavery, and human trafficking, which we are dealing with today. Don’t doubt that slavery is alive and well right here in the twenty-first century. Human trafficking is proof of that fact. So, do we take down the Stars & Stripes because of human trafficking that is happening in America? Get real! Blaming a flag for the evils of man doesn’t even make sense.
*Fun Fact: did you know that most African American slaves were sold by their own people? African American overseers were selling their own people to plantation owners in the South…
I realize that the battle flag represented the supremacy of the white man during the Civil War, but guess what? We cannot change history. It happened. The Civil War happened. South Carolina left the Union, taking other states with it. A division in our country occurred. We fought one another. Lives were lost. The flag represented the pride of Southern life and the Southerners fought for what they believed in. They felt that the government shouldn’t be telling them how to do things and trying to change the way of life that they had grown accustomed to. Change is part of life, however, and sometimes change comes with a great price. So, I’m not disputing any of this. What I am going to tell you is what the flag means to ME personally, like it or not.
Those Hot Guys are Coming On!
As a child the Confederate Battle Flag meant that the two most gorgeous guys in the world were going to be on T.V. at eight o’clock. “The Dukes of Hazzard” was a part of my childhood. In fact, I had a sleep shirt with Bo Duke’s face on it. So, when I saw the flag, that is what it meant to me. I didn’t know about the Civil War or General Robert E. Lee. I didn’t care. I was a kid.
As I grew up, the meaning changed to rebellion. I saw the flag as a representation of rebellion against the norm. I didn’t see it as a way to differentiate the African Americans from those with pale skin. It meant standing up to authority and questioning it. When I saw it, it reminded me of the carefree times of my childhood, in fact.
As an adult, I understand that there is blood shed associated with the Confederate flag. The American Nazi Party glady adopted the Confederate Battle Flag as their symbol. That is not excusable by any means. However, we cannot change that. Maybe if our government worked just as hard to end that sort of thing, something might change. They sure were on the Confederate Flag issue quick enough, so lets disband the Nazi Party, the KKK, and the Black Panthers. Oh but wait! That is infringement on personal freedoms. REALLY? Is it? Hate groups get freedom and others don’t. Something doesn’t make sense there.
By blotting out a symbol of our country’s history, we are saying that it never happened. We are trying to erase a part of America that most certainly occurred. We need to stop blaming each other and start taking responsibility for what’s real. It is not 1860. It is 2015. I understand we don’t want to hurt anyone or offend people, but if we started taking down symbols that offended people, we would have nothing left. Symbols represent periods of time and ethnic groups and beliefs and everything in between.
I’m not a fan of many things, so guess what I do? I don’t read it or look at it or acknowledge it. I don’t petition the government to have ALL of the things that tick me off removed. Do you know why? Because I’m an adult and I realize that other people don’t have to believe what I do. That’s what makes it AMERICA!
9/11 is now a part of who we are. It’s a part of our history. We can’t change that. So, as a result, we have resorted to hating Islam. What we fail to realize is that it was the extremists who caused 9/11 to happen. It wasn’t the religion of Islam. So, do we ban the Catholic faith also?
History tells us that the Catholics took portions out of the Bible and hid them. What did those portions say? Are they any less spiritually inspired than the rest of the “King James Bible?” Of course not! It is the human drive for power and control that is at the heart of that issue. The Catholics set up a religion to exert control over the masses and what is the best way to control? FEAR! They rose to power so quickly, that those who broke off from that religion were heretics and some were martyred. So, does that mean we hate Catholics? No! One of my closest friends is Catholic. I respect her decision and she respects mine. That’s how adults play together. We don’t slam our fists down and demand someone change who they are to fit what we want.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I truly believe that our government creates distractions to turn our attention away from real issues. The United States government is in a very sad place. Filled with corruption and individuals lining their pockets, we have lost sight of the true meaning of leadership and law. As a result, we keep passing nonsense laws, buying up millions of dollars worth of weapons, and engaging in fruitless debates about stupidity. We have people starving right here in the U.S. Poverty is a problem in the U.S. Our jobs are down to a minimum. Our unemployment rate is skyrocketing. Even if I wanted to get a job, I can’t. Nothing pays what I need to maintain my household, so I decided to go into business with my husband. That is the only way anyone seems to be able to survive in this day and age. You have to work for yourself in order to maintain your integrity. And even then, you’re penalized for being a capitalist.
The fact is there have been controversies and disagreements since the beginning of time. It’s not going to change, however, it can always get worse. On the other hand, it can get better, but it is going to take a large group of people to make that happen. It is going to take ethics to get that job done, and no one in Washington seems to have that anymore.
A man walks into a theater and kills innocent people. A student walks into a college building and kills his fellow classmates. A man assassinates a president. Two boys walk into a school and decide to gun down their peers. A white young adult goes into a church and shoots black people. There are some commonalities here. Yes, there is a deep seeded root in a tainted, twisted point of view, but there is also another factor at play: mental illness.
Untreated mental illness is a real problem. So, how do we fix that, especially when most insurance comapnies want to ignore that it exists? We keep blaming the wrong thing: a flag, video games, movies, television shows. Mental illness is exacerbated by circumstances. So, if you have a mentally ill person and they have immersed himself in violence, what’s going to happen? Violence begets violence. It doesn’t matter how you slice it. Why don’t we worry about getting to the root of the problem instead of trying to bring attention to something that isn’t the true cause?
If any group of people has been offended, and has the right to feel offended, it is the American Indian. In offering help to our ancestors, they opened the door to dominance and control and a loss of their way of life. After all, that is what my European ancestors seemed to do best… take, take, take.
The American Indians were lied to, forced out of their lands, and died because of our quest to conquer. Is anyone talking about this? I am sure the American flag greatly offends the Indians. So, what’s the difference? Is there just not enough of them to cause a scene?
I attended graduate school at the University of North Dakota, the home of the Fighting Sioux. During my studies, there was a huge controversy happening over the emblem and name the school was using via the NCAA. The local tribe was offended by its use and were petitioning the courts to have the Indian head and name removed. I certainly saw their point of view, but was also saddened.
I was proud of the name. I love American Indian history and heritage and I felt like having a college name to show for it was a good thing. In 2012, the decision was reached to discontinue the use of the nickname and Indian head. So, is this another situation where we take down an emblem because if offends someone?
I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have a voice. As long as I’m able to speak and write, I’ll use that voice to bring up questions, even if I don’t have the solutions. Sometimes, we just need to stop and think and sometimes that is all it takes. I have friends from many walks of life and I love them. I don’t care what religion they are or what color their skin is or what their sexual orientation is. Love covers all of the differences.
Did the flower children have it right? All you need is love? Love certainly does more than hate ever did and ever will do. So, maybe we should start learning how to accept difference instead of walking around offended by them all of the time. Just a thought…