Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Business of a War

So, I live in the south. Have lived in the south I guess most my life since the state of Kentucky calls itself the south. The rest of the time, good ole' Southeast Texas. I would be blind or in coma not to be aware of the current debate over the confederate flag. 

Let's not even discuss the sick murderer who killed those people for it was pure and simple - a hate crime. He hated. Now he pretty much told us he's a racist. Done. No need for discussion...I personally hope his hatred filled ass gets the death penalty. The color or creed of his victims doesn't even need to be discussed, so I won't. He's hateful. Simple as that. did make for a very heated debate about the confederate flag. Let's clear up a little history in a simple way.  

The confederate flag came about when some states decided not to support our president - Lincoln when he took the step to emancipate the slaves of the United States. When he decided that all men (because women got their rights after the African-American's did) had the right to be free and therefore the right to vote. 

Seems honorable and in my opinion, it was. 

But back to that flag. The southern states hated that idea. They relied on slaves to do their free labor. Now, focus on that. Free. Labor. A slave was normally given a meal a day, worked long hours, the simplest clothes and sometimes the simplest of housing--if they were given housing. Some masters treated their slaves better than others. Some whipped them and beat them and killed them. Some mated with the females only to have children they refused to acknowledge. Now before you get your hackles up...I'm not making this up. It's the history. Not the history they show in  movies, but the actual way it was. There were good masters. And there bad masters. The same could be said for about every person in power.

So, the southern slave owners, some of them very prominent government officials, did the math. If they had to start paying slaves to do the work, they would lose a lot of money. If they had to pay other immigrants (let's not forget that the Irish and the Scottish were also traded as slaves in our country) then they would have to pay more. Keep in mind that most plantation owners were rich. As in, in some cases, treated like royalty. Real blue bloods. 

But above all, they were businessmen, so right or wrong, they made a business choice. It had nothing to do with heritage, being proud of being southern or fighting for what was right (because enslaving any person is wrong. By today's standards and at the time, their own, due to new laws). 

That choice was to protest the government. Go against it's laws and disobey and declare war on their fellow man and the president that ruled over them all. But they needed a flag that symbolized their cause. So the confederacy flag and it's own currency was created. (There are actually several different versions...but lets stick with the one everyone knows). 

For those that aren't clear about the civil war, let's summarize that with the facts:

Until the Vietnam war....the Civil War...aka the right to own slaves war between the Northern States and the Southern had more lives lost than all other wars before Vietnam combined. That's right folks. And who were those lives lost? Americans. Yeah, we were killing each other. 

  1. Roughly 1,264,000 American soldiers have died in the nation's wars--620,000 in the Civil War and 644,000 in all other conflicts. It was only as recently as the Vietnam War that the amount of American deaths in foreign wars eclipsed the number who died in the Civil War.

For a business plan.  The South lost by the way. Just in case you didn't know.

Now, lets fast forward to now. 

All over local and state governments are taking down the confederate flag. Uh, it's a flag. I  understand Southerns are pissed that it's being done. I've heard the reasons - It's our heritage. It's our right to show our history.

Uh...I myself am kind of ashamed of that part of our history. And not because I'm racist. I'm not but because...620,000 lives were lost. Brothers fighting against brothers. Fathers lost and never seeing their families again. And those lives...were all  colors.

The confederacy is no more. It hasn't been a governing body in a very long time. Why does its symbol belong or have the right to be hung next to that of our United States (see that word? UNITED)?  Why does it fly next to our States, some of which - Texas - had it's own war to be a part of that United status.  And won. 

I live in the South. I've been raised in the south. And ANYONE who lives here will tell you--you fly that flag, you are not exactly considered a opened minded person if you support the beliefs that flag represents. Sure, it doesn't mean slavery supporter per se. Nor does it say, "Hey, I'm a racist. Someone go get me a slave," but it does say that you are proud of some of the portions it represented. And since we can't label it with just what portions you do support, the racist and redneck ignorance label going to be applied.

It's a flag of a lost war. Of a business decision of the rich to go against their own country. And before you vilify me with your I'm not loyal to my heritage crap, back off.

I love the South. I love the people and the kindness that we show. I love how when bad times hit us we bond together and help any way we can.

But proud of a history that deserves to be put away and not reminded of by a flag of an ideal lost in battle long ago....probably not. In fact, not at all.

Isn't it time the South is known for more than what that flag represents? Yes....finally.

Take it down, put it in museums and let the past go. 

We have ENOUGH problems in our present. As a country, we ONLY need one flag--and I would like to point out it has different colors too. It may not represent ALL the colors that make this country so great in its threads of red, white and blue, but we as a people know that all colors can stand proud under those colors as it waves overhead. It's the only one that matters. For if we lose sight of being a UNITED states of America, UNDER god....then we might as well just roll up all the flags and let them fall because our future is doomed. 

Thank you. 

An Island Survival Story

I thought about writing this post for awhile. Why you ask?

Because nowadays it seems like just about EVERYTHING can be spun around to be about race, gender, sexual preference and I didn't want to stir the already boiling pot. But...I decided to post it...
Recently I went through my first tropical weather event here on the island. Now, I've lived in this region most of my life but just recently moved to the actual coast.

I watched as those four children moved through the masses, a smirk appearing on my face as they moved towards those precious cases of water. I thought to myself--this is a riot in the making. I knew what was about to go down.

But here's the thing I, nor perhaps anyone saw coming. 

See, if you've never lifted a case of 24 bottles of water, they're rather heavy. Try lifting four--yeah, that's a feat. But as I stood there watching this all play out, those boys were grabbing four cases--two to a team--and putting them in OTHER people's carts. They were incredibly polite and they didn't do it for just one or two, they did it for everyone that was there--or at least they offered to.

Then when the poor, overworked Walmart employee pulled a pallet of the last water to be had in the store, those boys then went on to help him upload those and continue to assist customers with loading that water in carts. The water was distributed fairly quickly and the aisle started to clear.

Some people said thank you. Some people declined help politely and some seemed almost insulted or disgusted that their buggy was touched and they approached.

But not once did these young people not smile and be polite. They just moved on and helped someone that didn't mind the assistance. I shook my head in amazement at the giving nature of some and the ignorance of others in the midst of it.

As I walked with my buggy full of one case and supplies in the still bright sunlit day, I glanced over to see that the mother and her children were now outside waiting on the sidewalk in front of the store. All four kids looked like they had ran a marathon and the mother was busy looking for change to buy them a generic soda in the machine. I stopped and happily offered the few actual dollars I had since the machine didn't take debit/credit. She shyly thanked me and I couldn't help but notice she had gotten the bare necessities in her buggy and she still held the receipt and food stamp card in her hand as she dug for that change. Each boy thanked me and were happy to get those cold sodas after working so hard.

Walking away, I glanced back once more to see the family was waiting for the public bus that serviced the island. The boys helped the mother bring her groceries up into the bus and then the doors closed and the bus drove away.

Now...this is a simple story. And not that incredible in today's society where people are pulling people out from in front of trains or finding the lost. But to me, it spoke volumes in the one fact that seems to be lost to so many.

There's no need, as some tellers of the tale might do, to say the race of the family. There's no need to describe the age, gender of those that accepted the help and those that treated it like it was something malicious.

No, because in the end, the one word I will use to describe the demographic of all those involved in the Island survival story is this...