Losing Sight of What Really Matters
The situation concerning the confederate flag at the capitol in South Carolina is an example of how the media, and to an extent our society as a whole, have lost track of what really matters. To solve the problem immediately one must only remember the response to an offense must start with the position of the offended, not the offender. While clarity and intent must be discussed, and compromise included, the position of the offended must be weighted higher than the position of the offender. Equally, someone who lives in Colorado will have a difficult time explaining how a flag flying in a state some 1700 miles away can be offending to them. Now, someone in South Carolina very well could make that argument and that is why the discussion should be accomplished by the people of the state of South Carolina.
Now I hear there are those offended by having certain public places named after prominent individuals in the confederacy. What next, we are going to rename Rutherford County, TN? Jackson, MS? Change the name of Fort Benning, GA, Fort Bragg, NC, or Fort Hood, TX?
Folks, if this is the worst thing we have to talk about when it comes to solving the racial tension problems in this country, I venture to say we are golden. But it is not and there are more difficult questions we need to be asking and answering, as a society, in our homes, churches, in our civic organizations. We need to have this discussion without the interference of the media, who in my opinion cannot and does not give the topic any more consideration than they need to give it for ratings, or any elected official who slants the discussion for political benefit (causing the fanatical media to jump in half-cocked and again try to win market share).
We need to be asking questions such as “Why did the parent give a child a gun, knowing the child was irresponsible?” How about “What caused the child to develop such a demented opinion about the African-American community?” Most of all, “How do we change the way we raise our children to keep this from happening again?”
The problem is complex, you cannot blame it on the rise of the single parent household. There are thousands of single parents, men and women, who are doing a great job of instilling morals, ethics, and manners in their children. At the same time there are two parent households who are quite frankly doing a piss poor job at it. You cannot blame it on the “police” again, it is not the institution who failed, rather an individual (who probably should have been screened out by peers and supervisors, but that is another blog posting). You cannot blame it on the “education system” because every school district, even every school in a district, has a set of students who have it rough that despite the challenge, they rise to the occasion and achieve great things. Equally, you cannot blame it on the government for they create an environment in which people of all races, genders, ethnicities, and religions achieve success. And yet each of these areas carries a measure of collective blame, there are parents who have not taught their children right from wrong, there are those who did, then failed to lead by example. There are schools who have failed, look at the cheating scandal in Atlanta. There have been governments who have failed by not holding individuals accountable using the same measuring tape.
I believe we can right what is wrong, but only with focused effort over a long period of time. We did not get into this racial quagmire overnight, we will certainly not get out of it overnight.