Tuesday, June 23, 2015


What, really, has to be said about the cold-blooded murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina by a screwed-up white kid (I say “kid” because 21 years is not always enough to be called a ”man”).

Why does it still happen here?  Were not 250 years of slavery enough?  Were not 150 years of Jim Crow enough?  Were not 100 years of lynching enough?  Were not 100 years of segregation enough?  If the history of race relations in this country prove nothing else, it is that whites are surely NOT the superiors of blacks.  By any measure.  Especially morally.

Beautiful -- but Provocative and Shameful
Three governors (and counting) have decided to outlaw the Confederate flag from license plates.  The governor of South Carolina has ordered the removal of Confederate flags from state grounds.  This is proper and long overdue.  Indeed, the flag of the Confederacy should be removed from any and all official Southern displays.  Imagine the Nazi flag being displayed in modern Germany, it would provoke a riot (and if it did not, that would be worse).  The Confederate flag is not merely the flag of the Confederate South, it is the flag of the slave-holding South.  We fought that war, the Union won that war, and while mercy and forgiveness were routinely granted to officers and soldiers who fought for the Confederacy, neither mercy nor forgiveness were offered to the institution of slavery or to white supremacy.

On the other hand, YOU may love the Confederate flag, you may own the Confederate flag, it is probably legal for YOU to display that flag on your own property as surely as it is legal for you display the Nazi flag (this being America and not Germany).  The 1st amendment protects your right to free thought and free speech and free expression.  But it does NOT allow a governing body the same "freedoms."  This is not splitting hairs, as it is legal for you to pray in a public school, but it is not legal for the school authorities to conduct a prayer.  You may discriminate, no governmental body may do the same.

And while it is legal for you (as an individual) to discriminate, while it is legal for you be racist, while it is legal for you to hate some persons merely because they are black, and legal for you to believe that they are inferior to you, ...  But legal as it may be, it inescapably labels you as inferior in every way to those whom you like to think are your inferiors.  This conclusion is inescapable and permits no contestation.

I pray that none of my readers are guilty of racist thinking.  But if you are, now would be a good time to re-evaluate who you are as a human being, and make a change for the better.  Just because you were stupid yesterday does not compel you to remain stupid today or tomorrow.  Stupidity is fluid.  Take advantage of the chance that America gives you to get smart; just stop being stupid.

On a slight tangent, the kid may be charged with hate crimes.  But is first degree murder worse because the perpetrator harbored hateful feelings toward an entire group of human beings, like blacks or gays?  I have made the point here and elsewhere that it is legal, if not moral, for a man to harbor hateful feelings toward anyone; the law is only concerned with his actions, his deeds, not his thoughts nor his free expression.  I cannot imagine (my lack of imagination, no doubt) a hate crime where the deed would be legal were it not for the hate part.  And if an odious anti-social act is on its face illegal, why ask whether the perpetrator hated his victim?  I have no real argument against calling some crimes "hate crimes" just that it seems … unnecessary.  And intrusive.  Yes, I want to protect the thoughts of bad people too.  Why?  Because there is no telling when someone will call YOU or call ME a bad person, whose thoughts and feelings may be examined and prosecuted.  This kid will have the book thrown at him and it is unlikely that an insanity defense will save him.  We all know he had hate in his heart and we condemn him for it.  But we ought not to make it a crime to have bad thoughts when we already prosecute the bad actions and bad deeds that were their unhappy (but not inevitable!) consequences.

I grieve, of course, for the victims of all these senseless crimes.  But I grieve too, a different form of grief to be sure, for the perpetrators of these senseless crimes -- against blacks, against Indians, against LGBT individuals, against women, against Jews, against Asians, against Muslims, against Christians and non-Christians, against any form of human being that can be thought of as OTHER.  I grieve for the perpetrators because they live in an alternative universe that you and I cannot imagine, a world where murder and often suicide are the only answers.  God save us from ever entering that terrifying world!

Addendum: Friday, 06/26/2015
After centuries of the black race being victims of the white, in ways that a man with a conscience can hardly imagine could have happened, and on such a large scale, I find it …difficult… to wrap my brain around exactly what crimes this avenging angel (the killer kid) imagined that the black race had visited on the members of his oh so innocent white race.

Sunday, 07/12/2015
The deed is done, the Confederate battle flag has been removed from South Carolina's capitol grounds in Charleston, after a quick 37-3 vote in the state Senate, a contentious vote in the lower House, and a proud moment in history as the Republican governor of the state signed the bill into law.  The flag was removed on Friday.  It is within the scope of a state's power to make such things happen, to take down an "offensive" and "hateful" symbol from state grounds, whether you or I like it or not.  It is within the scope of the federal government's power to do the same thing.  Nevertheless, it remains your right to do as you wish.  Just as a neo-Nazi may without fear of criminal prosecution walk the streets with Swastikas ablaze, it is your right to do the same with the Confederate battle flag.  But just as the neo-Nazi knows that he is disrespecting Jews (among others), you should know that you are disrespecting blacks (if you don't know this, you are just stupid).  But don't be surprised if one morning you wake up beaten within an inch of your life because you insisted on your Constitutional right to be an American racist.