The Confederate flag issue may come to an end this week in Columbia…but will the flag coming down from the Statehouse grounds really be the end? Of course not. Now, I’m in favor of bringing the flag down, but we know that there will be calls from other groups asking that other symbols from our past be done away with. Some may have merit, like the removal of portraits and statues of former SC Governor Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman…a man who not only was a racist and segregationist, but who also openly called for the killing of blacks. Other people may float ideas that will ultimately get laughed off….like removing George Washington and Thomas Jefferson from history because of slave ownership or doing away with the US flag because it flew over the Indian massacres, wars and other basic history. I rarely fall for the ‘slippery slope’ argument, and I’m not going to this time either.
Even though the flag needs to come down from the Statehouse grounds, there are other places that it should stay because of historical context…like at Fort Sumter or Confederate graveyards. Those are truly the definition of ‘heritage’ that so many argue in favor of when speaking of the flag.
We’re heard the same arguments for years, both for and against the flag, but let me address what I’ve been hearing since Dylann Roof shot and killed 9 people in a Charleston church last month:
1) It’s really not THEE Confederate flag. Moot point. It may be the flag of Northern Virginia, but if you ask 1000 people, 999 will identity the same flag as being ‘thee confederate flag.” Perception is reality, so even though it may not be historically accurate, it doesn’t make a bit of difference in this argument.
2) Will bringing down the flag end racism? Duh…of course not…but it’s a good step in the right direction.
3) It’s Heritage not hate. Actually, it CAN be both and in this case, it is. To the majority of flag wavers, it simply means Southern Pride or Proud to be a Redneck. To a few, it DOES have significance to an ancestor who fought in the war. To many, it’s a symbol used to denigrate an entire race.
Many people equate this flag fight with the current fight against gay marriage. I can see a connection, but probably not in the way you see it. For both, many have said it’s just one more way where rights are taken from one group and given to another. In my mind, both cases are about giving a group something the majority has enjoyed for a long time. For marriage, it’s giving equal rights while taking nothing away from you. For the flag, it’s allowing a large portion of the population to be able to walk past the state capitol without seeing a symbol you view as hate-filled flying in your face.
For everyone who says the removal of the flag tramples on your rights…just remember, the people who flew that flag originally were trying to break away from the United States and their Constitution…the document that gave the rights you’re asking for. So which is it?
There's a lot of talk these days about the 1st Amendment. There's a lot in there. It talks about the Freedom of the Press. It talks about the establishment of religion which has been interpreted as the 'separation of church and state'. And then there's the freedom of speech. It says 'congress shall make no law" that abridges your freedom of speech. That's an important part of the sentence that some people seem to forget when complaining that someone else is infringing on their right to say whatever it is they want to say.
Go ahead...this is 'Murica...you can say what you want without fear of reprisal from the government. It says so in the Constitution. But keep in mind, the private sector is another story. I have the right to say what I want to whomever I choose, but my employer can tell me that what I chose to say is a bad reflection on them and therefore I'm a liability to their business, so we have to cut ties. That's their right (especially in a right to work state). In recent days, we've seen many people lose their jobs after posting on social media about topics like same-sex marriage or Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. They had the right to speak their mind, but their employers have to look out for their reputation and bottom lines. Congress didn't tell their employers to fire them...they decided on their own (or bowed to public pressure)...so quit crying about your 1st amendment rights being trampled.
Pam Geller is making a lot of noise lately about those Moooslims. She says she can have a 'draw Mohammed' contest anywhere she wants to...it's her right....and if it happens to upset some Muslims, then so be it. Well, it led to gunfire and 2 gunmen being killed. The gunmen didn't have the right to respond in the way they did, but what did Ms Geller think was going to happen? You yell 'fire' in a movie theatre, people will stampede. You taunt radical Islam and someone might just open fire, putting innocent lives at danger...which is exactly what she did. What's she gonna do next? Have a pig roast on the steps of the Simon Weisenthal Center?
But does the governmen really NOT have any laws that abridge our freedom of speech? In the last example, we've seen people arrested for that 'fire in a movie theatre' scenario. What about 'hate speech'? Hate crimes go to the Federal level and hate speech is right along with it. How about threatening someone (assalut) or threatening the life of someone, like the President. Go ahead...see how fast the Secret Service would be at your front door if you did that. And now that everyone's online, there are lawys against cyber-bullying and cyber-terrorism.
So even though the 1st amendment says 'Congress shall make no laws" about your freedom of speech...they already have. And just because someone reacts to what you have to say with a pink slip or a punch in the nose...they're not Congress...so they can react however they want...which also might have consequences.
A lot of people credit MTV's Real World for being the first 'reality' show. It wasn't, but for all intents and purposes, it kinda was. Put a lot of people together, fill the house with cameras and let the characters 'be themselves' while we watch what unfolds. It gave America a chance to be a voyeur and watch a bunch of people live life without rules, bills, or a care in the world. It wasn't very 'real' as the title implied, but it spawned a whole new genre of TV shows....unscripted as it's called. Whether we're watching guys cut down trees, hunt ghosts or catch crabs (which probably happened a lot on Real World, but I digress) people tune in by the millions to watch people do everyday, mundane things. Uplifting shows about families just dealing with the everyday ups and downs of life are very popular, but shows that really get a rabid following always have an edge to them. You never know what might happen....and when something does happen, we can't look away. If you pass a car-wreck, you're transfixed. When you come across one on your favorite reality show....same thing happens.
On some shows, the characters are encourgaed to act up. They become bigger stars, the show gets bigger ratings and everyone makes more money. But what happens when that line gets crossed between reality TV and real life....when the person on TV does something illegal or immoral? That's the problem....it becomes real for them...but it's still part of a TV show for us. We continue to watch as though it's a scripted drama, missing out on the fact that it's someone's real life going down the drain.
Jenelle Evans lives in Horry County. She first appeared on '16 and Pregnant" before graduating to Teen Mom 2. She's been arrested more times than I can count and it's all been documented on tv and in the tabloids. Teresa Giudice from "Real Housewives of NJ" is currently serving 15 months for tax evasion...her husband, also a cast member, will serve 41 months when she's done. She's already got a dela with Bravo for a tell-all when she gets out. Kim Richards from the Orange County version of Real Housewives had her fall from sobriety splashed on all the tabloid media. Honey Boo-Boo got pulled when her mom started dating the man who spent 10 years behind bars for molesting one of her own children. Now the Duggars and their "19 Kids and Counting" are in limbo when it was found out that the eldest son, Josh, sexually molested 4 of his own sisters as a teenager.
We're agasht....yet we watch. We're disgusted...yet we buy the magazines with the characters on the cover. We act surprised...yet we can't wait to tune in next week to see how they'll top themselves.
Why do so many reality stars get in trouble? Is it the fact that they started out as real people and can't handle the fame, money and noteriety? Is it the fact that to remain relevant, you have to keep getting headlines? Is it the fact that in an ensemble cast, if you stand out, you stand a better chance of getting a spin-off for yourself...thus getting more fame and more money? Yes to all. They're encouraged to push the envelope by the show's producers....it's just that some don't know when to stop.
Shakespeare once said, "all the world's a stage and all the men and women are merely players". The fact that there are more unscripted shows on television now than scripted ones, pretty much tells me that he was right. Not everyone has a show yet.....yet.
Bill Cosby has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting more than 30 women over the past 40+ years, but police won't move a muscle. Josh Duggar admitted that he fondled or sexually assaulted 5 underage girls (including 4 of his sisters) back in 2004 when he was 14, but again, he doesn't have to worry about legal action. Why? The statute of limitations, that's why.
Now, this blog isn't actually about Mr. Cosby or Josh Duggar, I just use them as examples of what I feel is a bigger travesty of justice......the aforementioned statute of limitations. (not statue of limitations like Kramer insisted it was). I always heard that there were only 2 crimes without a time limit...murder and rape. Apparently there's only one...ask Bill Cosby. My question is.....why? Essentially, our legal system tells bad guys that if you can play hide and seek with the police for 3 or 5 or 7 years without getting caught....you don't have to worry about it anymore. Does the passage of time negate crime? After a certain amount of time are we supposed to forget that a suspect did something illegal? Do the sands of time white-wash history, like it never even happened? Again I ask, why? I agree that murder shouldn't be forgotten, but why is rape? Why are other crimes? They may not be as severe as murder, but they're no less illegal.
We've been told by the Horry County Police that there is a shortage of detectives. They need more to be able to investigate crimes properly and get the bad guys behind bars. So, if we don't have enough cops on the streets and the perp doesn't want to get caught...it sounds like a perfect combination for missing out on the arrest before time expires.
If everything has an expiration date, why are people still paying their student loans from 30 years ago?
I can understand that some minor crimes could be forgotten after a several years, but if you do the crime, you should be held responsible to do the time....even after the passage of time.
Back at Lewis and Clark grade school, Mrs. Gregory was our music teacher. She played the piano while we sang all sorts of songs: current hits, campfire songs, rounds and more. She actually taught us most of the songs from Fiddler on the Roof. One of those songs is entitled, "Tradition". If you're not familiar, it talks about the traditions of a Jewish family from that era and a few things stick in my mind. 1) This was the only thing I knew about Jewish life since I grew up in the whitest white town in the world...no ethnic or religious minorities to be found. And 2) When I was singing the 'boys' part about what they could expect growing up, I was amazed that anyone could live without having a say in you life's path. Those lyrics were "...at 3 I went to Hebrew school, at 10 I learned a trade. I hear they picked a bride for me, I hope she's pretty." Wow. I couldn't imagine life like that, but it was tradition. That's how you lived, and that's what marriage was.
Traditional marriage is getting lots of press these days. Everyone on one side argues that traditional marriage has been the same since time began. Not even close! Marriage has traditionally been about forming alliances, merging powerful families, paying off debts, producing a male heir, etc. A man, especially if he had power or money, could pretty much choose who he wanted, and the woman's family (or more likely a girl) would be thrilled that their daughter would be marrying into wealth or power. Love never came into play.
Up until recently, it was still a man's world when it came to marriage. Tradition said that a man made all the decisions and controlled all the family's money (even money earned by the woman). Tradition said that the woman had to perform her 'wifely duties' even if she didn't feel like it and if the man forced himself on her, it was all perfectly legal. Tradition also said that it was almost a man's duty to 'keep his woman in line' even if that meant smacking her around a bit.
Other traditions have come under scrutity lately. Several colleges have banned or kicked out fraternities after hazing incidents became public. The Citadel is under fire after the hazing of several freshmen. I can read your mind right now: "...back when I was in school we hazed the freshmen. We had fun, they expected it, and nobody got hurt. Someone always has to ruin the fun." Well, that fun included deaths from alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults and other fun stuff, so someone decided to re-examine all those traditions and do away with some.
As I've said before, it's mankind's responsibility to look at everything. Things that are working for society, keep or tweek. For things that have served their purpose but aren't working for society anymore, get rid of or fix it. Traditions are great, but after a while all traditions can use a little tweeking, especially if their not working for everyone.
as the kids say....smh....shaking my head......
Every generation thinks that theirs is the most enlightened and the most advanced ever seen on planet Earth. They're pretty much right. Scientific and social advances keep humanity moving forward in positive ways. Mankind keeps re-evaluating the ways things have always been done and improve upon the things that are still working, and get rid of the things that are no longer valid. It's the way things have been since societies first started soming together.
Then why is America moving backwards? I know the calendar says 2015, but it feels like it's 1520. Sure, every poll shows a clear majority of Americans agree that same-sex marriage should be legal (closing in on 60%), but apparently the will of people isn't enough for some legislators in a bunch of red states who want to make sure they don't go down without losing every battle in addition to losing the war. They want to legalize discrimination...how nice! They want to make it legal for business-people to be able to pick and choose who they want to do business with. I think we went through this before....it was called 'the Jim Crow era'. You remember that, right? One group through another group was sub-human and used religious teachings to show that mixing between those groups was an abomination. You remember what happened, right? It was ruled to be unconstitutional. Thank God.
Well, these days, some lawmakers have decided that their consitutional rights are more valid and more important that the consititutional rights of gays and lesbians. And they want to make it so that if you feel the same way, you can refuse to serve them. So let me get this straight: if you are a LGBTer, you are committing a sin. And somehow, you've determined that this is the only sin in a whole book full of forbidden things that you've deemed important enough to single out. So, murderers and theives are okay? How about those who work on the Sabbath? If you've ever committed adultry or not honored your father or mother? How about someone of another faith because they clearly have another God before Him? And those are the commandments...not just random rules and laws in the Old Testament. You would think the violation of the big 10 would be more aggregious, right? I guess not.
What about the arguements we've heard? What if someone went to a kosher caterer for a non-kosher event and ordered bacon-wrapped scallops? The don't carry that item, so it's discrimination, right? wrong. You can't force someone to carry an item on their menu just because you want it. Can you go to Hardees and order sea bass? No...they don't carry it. And besides, 'people who love pork" is not a protected class under the Consititution. The arguements are getting sillier every day, but the politics is getting scarier. We had a lawmakers in Wyoming who added the language to a bill to protect LGBT rights "when hell freezes over". That was an official bill. His constituents must be so proud. A Texas lawmaker complained to a judge about the implimentation of same-sex marriage, obviously upset about the sanctity of marriage not being held up. Oh, yeah, he's been married 5 times, so he's a perfect example of those vows meaning something. And in California, public proposal is being floated to allow for the execution of anyone found to be gay or lesbian. I thought this was America and I thought this was 2015.
I understand you may not like the person down the block from you being in a same-sex relationship. Your religion may frown on it You may frown on it. But you can't discriminate against them. Have you EVER committed a sin? Sure you have. Do you think it's right for someone to discrimiate against you if you ever ate shellfish or shaved or did anything else forbidden in the Bible? You can't pick and choose. All sins are equal in the eyes of the Lord. It's the eyes of some Americans that have me worried.