The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I hear ya

What is more offensive? Seeing another human being die a violent death (you can watch actual videos of actual people dying actual deaths by actual violence on Youtube) or watching two people enjoy themselves?

Most folks will say this'n is a no brainer, if they don't bother to think about the question. Once people start thinking about it, ah yes. Dat debbil, he be in dem details.

So here's detail for you.

This offends a lot of people. To them it speaks of oppression, slavery and misanthropy.

Some other people say this was never the flag of the Confederacy, but merely a flag of one of the Confederate armies.

Here's some devil in the details for you.

I ain't you. You ain't me. You have your thoughts and opinions as I have mine. Neither is worth more than the other. Neither is worth less. They have completely equal value, at least until one of us starts to denigrate the other for those opinions and thoughts.

I ain't putting nobody down. I didn't fight in the War of Northern Aggression. I've never owned a slave (I do know some actual slave owners and I am not kidding). I've never tried to oppress anyone.

I don't care what you call the above icon. But I hear you.

Please note, my saying "I don't care, but I hear you" is not a put-down. It's a simple statement. I recognize that you have uncomfortable associations with that emblem. If the problems you have with it are because of something I did, then we need to talk. If your problems with it stem from other sources, then let's go talk to those sources.

But as for me, I recently received a revelation about this icon and what it actually means to me. Used to be, it meant Southern heritage, pride, attempts to reign in an overbearing federal government and so on. It still does. It is the Confederate Flag to me. Still is.

But it also means:

Growing up on a farm in South Georgia. Throwing watermelons in the summer standing next to people who knew me since I was born and kids I grew up with. It means standing more than ankle deep in actual ice water in a truck in November in 40-degree temperatures loading that truck with fresh greens bound for Atlanta, Augusta, Thomasville or Panama City. It means sitting on a pond bank catching bream as big as a hand. It means sitting in a deer stand. It means knowing what "The Bird Rack" somewhere out of the Econfina River is. It means remembering a wide receiver drop to his knees to catch an overlong pass at the far edge of the end zone. (His feet were in bounds, so the reception counted and it was a TD.) It means wishing I had Granny Nancy's mustard sauce recipe for baked raccoon.

It means sharing whatever we had with whomever actually needed it.

It means standing side by side with people, regardless of their ancestry, and getting the job done.

You say it means none of that. I hear you. But you don't speak for me and I don't speak for you.

Now hear me.

You can change this emblem. What was once just a flag of one defeated unit of a bigger defeated military force has come to represent an entire way of life. How did it get there? Because people chose to make that association. You can change it too.

How? Co-opt it.

"Why on earth would I want to co-opt something that represents hate?"

To take the power away from it. If that Confederate Flag is that evil, then destroy the evil. Overcome the pain. Turn on the light. Make that flag into a source of pride for yourself. When you strip away the power of intimidation you say is inherent in that flag, then you have no reason to fear it any more.

Other icons in the history of the world have been changed. The cross was a mark of shame and punishment in ancient Rome. Likely the ancient Jews looked at the crucifixion crosses the same way some people view the Confederate battle flag today.

Today, two simple pieces of wood are a reminder of agape on a scale we can't truly understand.

Hear me.

Hate and fear will only drag you down. As me bud Doc reminds the planet daily, love will lift you up. Make that flag a wingsuit and soar.

Hear me. You are stronger than hate. You are better that intimidation. You will covercome ... if you want to.

me hear you.

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