We have to take a moment to applaud the individual that climbed up the flag pool to take down the Confederate Flag. But if we are doing that we have to take a moment to applaud the man that went out their & raised it up again. Both people showed real courage in that little fiasco didn’t they?
It’s sort of shocking isn’t it? Hate is running rampant in America again. 9 people died when a white supremacist shot up a Black church & how many Black churches have been burned throughout the south?
This is a dividing factor these days in America. Which side are you on? The good or the bad?
Let’s pause for a moment & look at what is going on here.
My cousin’s wife just recently blocked me on Facebook because of all the nasty, hateful things I’ve been posting about the recent debates that are raging all across America.
She even went so far as to call me a “racist.” Honestly, it’s not the first time I’ve had that word thrown at me for speaking my mind, for defending what I think is right.
The thing is, this discussion has taken a turn away from race. What I was saying, at least in my mind, has nothing to do with the color of your skin, or really the content of your character.
How can you defend against that shit? If someone calls you a racist what can you say?
“I’m not a racist?”
It’s an accusation that instantly makes you lose the argument. The debate is over, now you’re stuck defending yourself & the original topic is lost in that one ugly word. It’s a horrible thing to call someone.
Especially since I wasn’t arguing about race at all. Here I thought I was defending the very soul of America. I was being patriotic. I mean, in my mind, we wouldn’t have had a Civil Rights Movement if it wasn’t for what I was defending.
In her mind, however, I was the problem. The enemy. I couldn’t understand. For starters, I wasn’t from the South, I didn’t know what things are like down there. The other part of my problem is I am white, well, to be fair, so is she. She is married to my cousin, who had forsaken Catholicism when he moved below the Mason-Dixon line & took up the flag of the South & became a Southern Baptist minister…but you know, a liberal one.
So she’s married to a minister, who preaches at a white church & she has adopted a child from Africa so she knows exactly how tough it is, she’s in tune with the struggles of minorities in America. She has a 1 year-old Black baby.. That baby has taught her all about what it’s like to live in the South as a Black man.
And besides that, she’s NOT a Catholic. Catholic’s are a racist bunch. There are NO minorities in the Catholic Church, especially in America where Catholics tend to be predominantly Irish, Italian, or Latino.
“Have you Catholics even seen someone that isn’t white?”
“You mean like father Gonzalez?”
The problem is that I’m a white Catholic Yankee, living in an apartment in Chicago. It enables me to masturbate to white privilege & completely ignore the plight of minorities. That I hardly ever see, you know, living in Chicago & all. That life-style makes me void of how much what I am defending hurts people. I am defending something that really hurts people. I don’t understand how much it hurts people & if I did I would jump on the bandwagon & side with her.
The thing is, I kept posting all those horrible hateful things on my facebook timeline in an attempt to defend what I thought was really very important, so she blocked me…& then she encouraged her husband to block me…& then my aunt & uncle. Because, really, no one needed to see any of that.
I was doing things, I was saying things that were absolutely horrible. I was saying things that were hurtful & insensitive & I must be silenced.
The thing is, I totally agree with her. What I was saying was really sort of insensitive to all those people that had suffered under segregation since segregation ended. I was saying mean things to all those Black people that drove around & saw hate everywhere. I was saying it & I knew exactly what I was saying.
Now don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in equal rights.
Equal rights are things that I fight for. They are things that I have protested for.
I’ve done a lot of protesting in my life & I really have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Gays, you name it, & I have marched in solidarity with them. I’ve supported their cause & in some instances been tear-gassed & batoned & arrested for it. Ultimately, I have really, seriously bled for their cause.
I’m fairly certain she hasn’t. I know for a fact she wasn’t at St. Paul in ’08 & I didn’t see her at Ferguson either.
Although, to be fair, the who Ferguson thing made me re-evaluate how Civil Disobedience works in America. It sort of disgusted me. The man, the cops, the bulls are supposed to be the violent ones attacking the peaceful demonstrators.
You sort of lose the argument when it is your side that is acting violently & I & a number of other veterans failed miserably to hold the lines & keep the peace. I look at that protest as a mark of shame. We lost the morale high ground there.
That being said, what was I saying that was enraging my cousin’s wife so much that she called me a racist & blocked me from a portion of my family to keep them from seeing my posts?
I was simply saying that:
“Hate Speech was Free Speech.”
Because ultimately, that is exactly what it is.
It started small.
Yes, I do think that the Stars & Bars, the flag of the good old boys should be removed, or at least lowered, to reflect the national tragedy. In fact, as a patriot I feel that it should be flown lower than the American flag. In fact, as a former Boy Scout, I know that is a law in the Flag Code.
I understand that it represents hate & racism. I mean, states in the South didn’t start adding it to their flags until the Civil Rights movement. White Supremacist groups fly it as their banner. I am not a big fan of that flag, not in the least.
But…I did say that they had the right to wave it. I did say that it would be wrong to make flying that flag illegal.
So then I was asked about how I felt about flying the Nazi flag.
And I did sort of say that people had the right to fly that too.
So I was called a “racist.”
And I tried to defend myself. It has nothing to do with race. I don’t hate the Jews, for Christ’s sake, look where I live, if I hated the Jews, I really wouldn’t have too many friends would I? I mean, I sort of grew up in a Jewish/Catholic community. I went to school at the most diverse school in Chicago, where if you were white you were probably a Jew. I was in the religious minority there. Now, well, I’m sort of back to living in Jewish Chicago.
Like NPR I am surrounded by Jews. If I had a problem with them, I would have no social life whatsoever.
So, you’re right, I have a serious problem with the Nazi flag. Seeing it disgusts me.
But I also have a serious problem with making it illegal for someone to buy & fly it. Making it illegal enrages me.
The same goes for the Confederate flag.
The argument was won & they took it down. And I felt horrible that that disgusting thing was removed.
I warned people about this. This is sort of why I got blocked.
It didn’t stop at the flag.
- Now there is a movement to end all Civil War Reenactments.
- There is a movement to tear down old Slave Plantations.
- There is a movement to tear down Confederate Civil War monuments.
- There is a movement to tear down Confederate historical sites.
- There is a movement to rename every street that bares the name of a slave owner
- There’s a movement to make selling the Confederate Flag illegal
- There is a Movement to make selling the Nazi flag illegal
- There is a movement to make flying either of those flags illegal
- They took the Dukes of Hazzard off the air.
- They are talking about taking All in the Family off the air, because a TV show that openly mocked bigotry is offensive to people that hate bigotry.
George Washington & Thomas Jefferson were slave owners. How long until we start yelling to rip down their monuments as well?
I have a serious problem with ALL of those movements.
My cousin & his wife are OK with it. Those things are offensive to people.
They also support Gay marriage, & that is offensive to people as well. But that is an offensive thing that they agree with. So for them, erecting a monument to Gay marriage & flying the GLBTA Flag is OK…even though to a percentage of the population it is just as offensive as the speech they want removed.
So I tried to make the argument that if you make flying the Confederate Flag illegal because it offends people it makes it easier to make flying the GLBTA Flag illegal…because it offends people.
I tried to say that look, the ball is rolling. The Dukes of Hazzard has been taken off the air. It didn’t deal with race at all, it had African-American regulars portrayed in a good light. They are trying to take All in the Family off the air, because though it mocked racism, Archie Bunker is offensive to some people.
I tried to say:
Look, the door of censorship is open. It’s been open for less than a month & look at what is happening? They are trying to rip our history down. They are censoring things that have nothing to do with the debate.
I tried to say:
Look, once this starts there is no end. Today they are censoring the speech that you disagree with, but it’s leaving the door open, tomorrow they will censor the speech that you agree with.
It all fell on death ears. So I tried another approach:
If you believe in Free Speech, you believe in it precisely for the views that you disagree with.
Goebbels believed in free speech for the speech he agreed with.
So did Stalin.
If you believe in Free Speech, you believe in Free Speech for everyone. There are only one of two stances you can have with it. Either you believe in Free Speech or you don’t. And I’ll let you decide which stance you’ll take.
And so they blocked me. And they encouraged others to block me so that my hate wouldn’t spread.
Ironic isn’t it?
I just didn’t understand how offensive it was, the speech I was protecting, trying to protect.
That’s totally not true. I completely understood how offensive it was. I just didn’t care. I believe in Free Speech. I believe in protecting the speech that I despise & I am prepared to defend it with just as much zealous rage as I would the speech that I agree with.
Partially because I protested a couple of wars & supported Gay & Racial & Religious Equality in a time when the president & the majority of America called it “treason.” I wasn’t thrown in jail because of the 1st Amendment, because of free speech. And I saw friends & colleagues arrested & charged with terrorism only to have those charges dropped because protesting the war was protected under our Free Speech laws.
Now that the times have changed, now that my views are the majority views, now that they are no longer called “treasonous” & “UnAmerican,” I’m NOT about to turn my back on Free Speech.
The Freedom of Speech is what makes nations free, Without it there is no freedom. So fuck it American, even if it is offensive, even if you disagree with it, it’s your duty to defend it.