I didn’t realize that the tragedy in Charlottesville was over a Confederate statue until yesterday. As most of you know, I’m Southern but to the best of my knowledge, we don’t worship Confederate statues. Hell, I don’t even know where any are.
I see the Confederate flag being flown from the back of good-ole-boys’ pick-up trucks. I don’t know the reasoning but I do know two things. I’m not going to pick a fight with them and I am not going to fly one from the back of my car. They have the right to do it and I have the right not to.
The Civil War was atrocious. It pitted states against states and brother against brother. Some people feel the need to try to erase that part of history. If the brother who fought for the South rests in a cemetery and bears a Confederate flag on his tombstone, should it be destroyed? If the other brother who fought for the North rests beside him and his tombstone bears a United States flag, should it be revered? We can destroy tombstones and statues but the fact remains. There was a Civil War and men fought and died.
Should we have Auschwitz burned to the ground? There are those who dispute the Holocaust. Should we have it removed from the history books? Should future generations have no idea what happened to six million Jews and five million other races?
We as a nation, rounded up all the Japanese during World War II and put them into camps. It didn’t matter if they were born and raised in the United States, they were the “enemy.” They were mistreated and abused. Were we trying to erase any and all things Japanese because “they” bombed Pearl Harbor?
I was witness to the Vietnam War. I saw first hand the way those young men were treated. They were ostracized, spit on and called baby killers. Should we get rid of all the VFW’s because they not only welcome those men who returned, they display memorabilia of that senseless war?
Some don’t want the Ten Commandments displayed in any public place. Why? I see mosques, temples and I have had to wait until a Muslim finished his prayer before he could sell me a loaf of bread. I wasn’t offended. While I waited, I listened to his prayer. I didn’t start a movement to stifle Muslim prayers in a store.
We should remember the saying, “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”
The things we find offensive never ceases to amaze me. Why aren’t we offended by the homeless? Why aren’t we offended by the mentally ill? Why aren’t there any marches and demonstrations about those issues?
I believe in free speech. I believe in the right to demonstrate. I believe in the right to defend your beliefs but not when it is taken to extremes.
People have the right to put on sheets, carry crosses and give the heil hitler salute, while spewing hatred toward blacks, Jews and gays. But what if nobody reacted? What if they had their demonstration and nobody cared? What if the only voices they heard were their own? What if the only thing they saw was their reflection in the storefront windows?
Hatred feeds hatred.
If the KKK decided to march down Main Street in my town, I would stay at home. Not as an endorsement but as a way of not feeding them. They look for reactions. They look for a way to pick a fight. They look for a way to feel superior. I will not feed them.
Maybe that’s an answer we should all look for. Think of it this way:
What if those people had a parade and nobody came?