Thursday, July 9, 2015

THE CONFEDERATE FLAG FALLS: the death of hate and the triumph of the human spirit!

Keywords or Terms: Hate, Confederate Flag; SC Representative Jenny Horne; Jefferson Davis; American Civil War; Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church; Tea Party; US Congressional Republicans; OBAMACARE; Moms Demand Action;  Gun Violence; and, Hate Groups

One of the most important questions our descendants would ask in the near future is why did it take us this long to retire a symbol of hate? Why did it take the whole nation this long to stop hating? Hate kills, it destroys, and it embowers and creates unwelcome frictions that are better left out of everyone’s life. In the days and weeks following the slaying of nine American citizens in their place of worship, debate circulated around South Carolina and the nation about the need to retire the Confederate flag from the seat of power in some southern states. Proponents and opponents staged their arguments for and against, and for a while, it seemed the opponents were going to win out, until came a fiery speech from a State Republican Representative Jenny Horne, a descendant of a Southern warrior, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, to powerfully lay to rest a false argument of denials by the proponents to stay.

South Carolina Republican Representative Jenny Horne, an embodiment of truth, said it rightfully well, when she said: “I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body [South Carolina House of Representatives] to do something meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds [State Capitol] on Friday,” That statement says it all: There comes a time in the life of a people, a nation, when it has to face the hard truth, call a spade and spade and move on. Today and forever, Ms. Horne puts to rest, after 150 years, an argument that has divided a people, citizens of the greatest nation on earth and the most peace loving human beings, if only the hate mongers will let us be, over the American Civil War.

Although the Confederate flag appears abruptly as a lightning rod after the mayhem at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church, Charleston, South Carolina, and thus seemed to be the very symbol of racism that many could lounge against, there are other items of American Civil War around us that many still feel offensive. The Confederate flag stood out as a panacea to racism and became a tolling bell over the South Carolina House of Representatives, as the whole nation watched and waited, if the legislators in that State would do what is right; just as it is expected in all southern states which still hold very dearly to that tradition of hate and bigotry; by continuing to fly the Confederate flag on their State’s Capitol.

Borrowing from Wikipedia, if racism is defined as sanctioned privileges and rights given to White America that are not available to other races, including on matters of education, immigration, voting rights, citizenship, land acquisition, and criminal procedures over periods of time, then the vote in South Carolina House of Representatives today, signifies a turning point, the re-birth of a nation. If other ethnic based non-protestants, Irish, Poles, Italians, and Jews xenophobic exclusions over a period of time have not called to question our sense of fairness and humaneness as a nation, it is relatively important to appreciate, how significant the vote in South Carolina House of Representatives mean, or move us along, on the road to being free of racism and bigotry. The vote in the South Carolina House means the beginning of a nation’s movement away from its darkest past; it means the alleviation of the weight of hatred for hatred's sake, away from the burden of living in deceit and deception to a rather peaceful, compassionate and reflective life. 

Very few people ever go on forever hating; some do, however, most, especially towards the end of their lives, often seek forgiveness. If in doubt, visit a nursing or old people’s home and ask some of the residents to reflect on their life’s journey and you would be shocked to your depth, what some of them will tell you about racism and prejudices. That’s what the burden of hatred does mean, and that is why, we must move away from this destructive behavior because it pays no one.

A culture of hate is preceded by a confusion of what is meant to be human; or a misinterpretation of what living in harmony with other people who necessarily do not physically look like us, means. Children under the age of three, hardly understand hate and rarely, if not practically, abhor the practice of hate and prejudice. Nature wants all of us to live in harmony with our surroundings and other forms of life. The choice we make to hate or not to hate depends on us; we all have the power and responsibility to make choices, choices that may determine our relationships with other human beings and our environment. Our upbringing may be prejudicial or hateful; however, we have the obligation to be re-born anew, in a world full of love and spirit of forbearance.

American Civil War ended a century and a half ago, but there is no d├ętente between the two major races in America; especially, when one part of one of the races continues to hold dearly to artifacts of the war, especially those conspicuous symbols of hatred that prevent some from living in harmony with self, others, and our environment. Without any noticeable awareness and reduction of affinity for objects of hate – such as the Confederate flag or anything relating to the triumphs or failures of one part of the nation over another in the civil war – we cannot say we have gone past hatred or its subset, racism. No one ever wins a war, people always share forever the inauspicious experience and many a times, live with the results or repercussions of hostilities to the detriment of their health and existence. Any affinity therefore for artifacts of a war, is an intensification of the reasons for the war in the first place.

In the past six years, we as a nation has witnessed how the hatred for our President by some segment of the Republican Party has practically eaten these people up. Imagine what could have been, if Tea Party Republican legislators have chosen not to hate but work with the President? Here are some examples of what hate bred: 1) Congressional Republicans spurning the hand of the President when he went to the Hill to amend fences in the contentious debate over a stimulus plan; 2) Republican legislators in Congress under the leadership of Speaker Boehner said 'No' to the $815 billion stimulus plan which the nation needed badly to recover from the recession, casting it as another run-of-the-mill, undisciplined, cumbersome and wasting spending bill; 3) When faced with epic disaster that demanded congressional cooperation, the divided and dysfunctional Republican Party members in US Congress decided to go it all alone, rejecting any effort to bring the nation from the financial brink of loan default; a default that led to Moody downgrading us, the first of its kind in history; 4) When a South Carolinian US Congressional Republican lawmaker pointed finger at the President of the United States and said in an outburst: “you lie”, that is hate in full display; 5) When a governor of a state publicly accosted the President of the United Stateson an airport tarmac pointing finger directly in his face because of dispute over immigration issues, then you know hate’s true nature; 6) When a former Republican US House Speaker referred to President Obama as the most successful food stamp president in American history, that is an epitome of hatred and microcosm of racism; 7) when a State's House Speaker, quoting the Bible, wishes the President of the United State be killed, his wife widowed and children, orphaned, what else can you say for hate? And, 8) when the attitudes of Republican leadership in Congress towards their Democrat’s counterparts is: “It doesn’t matter what the hell you do, we aren’t going to help you. We’re going to stand on the sidelines and bitch”; then, you get a dysfunctional US Congress.

Despite all these hate, it has been reported elsewhere that the President was still able to: 1) triple the stock market, cut unemployment in half, ended two foreign wars, cut the uninsured Americans in half and brought down gas to $2.75 a gallon; 2) Signed into law the historic healthcare bill affably referred to as OBAMACARE; 3) Advanced stem-cell research, equal pay for women and appointed two pro-choice female Supreme Court Justices; 4) Re-furbished the mortgage refinance law and program; 5) Signed into law Dodd-Frank affording for consumer financial protection; 6) Rescued the automobile industry from the brink of bankruptcy that could have led to losing of millions of American jobs; and 7) Exterminated America’s enemy number one, Osama bin Laden. These are what a love of a nation and a people can achieve.

The nation would have moved mountains and could have been far along in paying our national debts if the love of the nation had been in the hearts of our legislators. However, when the choice is to hate, to say No to everything the President chooses, even if innocently proposed to benefit the nation, and one group continues to hold back support, to hate for hate's sake, then very little could be accomplished in the US Congress; and by default, the whole nation. Hate has a way of eating up even the haters, that’s why the vote from South Carolina House of Representatives, is a huge triumph for human spirit and the love of a nation that truly needs love.

In the realm of encouraging love, and discouraging hatred in the populace, it is impressionistic to imagine how much has been expended by the nation’s law enforcement agencies to fight hate and home grown hate groups. It is probably impossible to quantify the number of man hours, in any meaningful way, that law enforcement agencies spend keeping an eye on local and international terrorist groups. This amount has been mounting, particularly because of the events at the EAM Episcopal Church; the Moms Demand Action documentation of eight school shooting in the first quarter of 2014 that led to deaths of children and young adults; and another twenty-eight school shootings in 2013; events that have roughly caused the nation psychological and emotional stress, particularly long after the incidents. These are the examples of what hate breeds; and why peace lovers highlight the threats to civility from all objects of hate in our society. It is not that peacemakers or non-racists or non-bigoted are more in tune with life's and environmental harmony; rather, it is because they are much more sensitive to issues that divide us rather than unite us, issues that prevent us from being in an equilibrium with ourselves, our environment, and nature.

What is required of us as anything else, henceforth, is how to improve race relations in America, how to work across the boundaries of race, breaking down barriers and stereotypes about each race categories in America; working concertedly in all of our nation to ditch old habits of racism; highlighting and encouraging conducive or appropriate behavior that facilitate racial harmony; praising and admonishing good behavior based on the philosophy of being our brother’s keeper; and holding ourselves, our communities and our lawmakers to a higher standard of behavior, that shame hate, hate groups, and propagate love. This approach is essential, if we are to break down barriers that prevent us from living in harmony with each other; and, maintain a balance that enables all of America to continue to live in peace, without regard to race, religion, national origin, physical handicap and or sexual orientation. This type or form of change is necessary to transform the world. The House of Representatives in the State of South Carolina lit up the light of hope this week, it is now our responsibility to pass on the torch. May God Bless the United States of America!

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