The following is a guest post by my dear friend and fellow member of the Behind Our Eyes organization for writers with disabilities. I was granted permission to share this essay as a guest post with my readers and fellow bloggers. If you wish to comment on the material presented here, please feel free to do so. All I ask is that you be respectful of other readers, and no spam please.
Without further ado Please welcome James Campbell as my guest for today. His essay is as follows:
DEVISIONS AND THE CONSEQUENCE OF CHOICE
BY JAMES R. CAMPBELL
Â© July, 2015
On August 17, 2014, a black teen named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri. The story made the national headlines, and violent protests and riots were the end result. We have seen the same thing happen since in other cities. The most recent example is Baltimore, Maryland. In April of this year, a black man named Freddie Gray died at the hospital after he was taken into police custody. Six police officers have been indicted on various charges in connection with his death. And once again, we were treated to scenes of violence and senseless destruction by the national media.
The issue was simple; according to the black community. These were young black men who died at the hands of white cops. This was enough to bring the blood of the black communities in which they lived past the boiling point.
On June 18, 2014, twenty-one year old Dillon Ruff went into a Wednesday night class at a church in Charleston South Carolina.
When it was over, nine were dead and once more, the entire nation was plunged into a state of collective grief. This time, however, the response was different. The very people who endured the most suffering were willing to forgive, even though the loss and grief is permanent.
But even so, there is much debate about the Confederate flag and its presence at the state capitol of Columbia, South Carolina. A bill passed the legislature in South Carolina this morning. The result; the Confederate flag will fly at the state Capitol in Columbia, South Carolina for less than twenty-four hours. That is the understanding I have. If I am wrong, then I stand corrected.
Many blacks across the nation think of the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism and hatred. They want it removed from the capitol grounds. The actions of one disaffected, maladaptive, twisted in the gourd nut bag have opened up old wounds, and the debate rages far beyond the scene of the massacre that started it all.
Recently here in Odessa, food vendors who operate a certain food truck were handing out free food in exchange for confederate memorabilia. This offer was broadcasted on several local news channels, and it was published in the June 25th edition of the Odessa American. Dear pointed it out to me when she saw it; the issue was discussed between the two of us that morning just as we were leaving for a doctorâ€™s appointment.
I think the flag should go, Dear disagrees with my point of view.
She thinks that it should stay. She notes that the Confederate flag is a part of history! Many in the South proclaim, with fervor, that the rebel flag is a symbol of Southern pride, and that it is part of their heritage.
My ancestors fought for the Confederacy in Tennessee before they moved to the Sooner State. The link with history is one thing, but my view on that history is different.
What caused the civil war in our nation in the 1860s? Some say it was slavery, the North wanted the blacks set free, and the South did not. But there are those who say that the north wanted too much control and power over the Southern states.
I am not concerned about the causes of the Civil War, but rather the fact that there was ever a division in the first place. What did that division cost us as a nation? The lives of 643000 Americans, thatâ€™s what the cost was, initially.
But it took a century before blacks were granted their full civil rights, and another year before they could vote.
It is no wonder that the blacks and other minorities feel as if they have been stomped on. Regrettably, , racism is still afoot in the USA, But the blacks who commit crimes and yet do not heed the commands of officers bring problems on themselves. The first rule is to comply, then take legal remedy.
Much has been made of what has happened recently. The buzz phrase now days is â€œblack lives matter.â€ But what does this mindset bring with it?
It brings more division. It leads many, both black and white, to an us against them frame of reference that only inflames a situation that is far beyond tenuous.
Some blacks are calling for reparations in light of what their ancestors endured. We tried that; it was called LBJâ€™s Great Society plan, and it was a dismal failure from the get-go. The epidemic of drugs, poverty, and gang violence in our black neighborhoods is worse, not better than it was in 1965.
The people of Charleston had the right idea; all lives matter. They used their faith to set a positive example that all of us would do well to follow.
And the unfortunate fact is that the media and entertainment industry are not helping. Not when the songs that are being produced by the artists of today are filled with lyrics that glorify gangs, drugs, and sexual exploitation of women. For Once, I would like for someone to give me the names of five songs on the pop charts that have positive messages that uplift the spirits of all who hear them. Come on folks, letâ€™s have the list please! AS one pastor in Philadelphia. put it In 1987, Itâ€™s not burn baby burn, but build brother build.
And even sadder still, we have the outburst that Donald Trump pulled during his campaign announcement in which he accused Mexico of exporting crime, rape, and drugs into our country. What he should have done was attribute this activity to the drug cartels, where the responsibility rightfully lies. There are many who come here looking for a chance to become citizens. I will never forget Patricia, who came here from Mexico. She is a CNA who works in in-patient rehab at Medical Center. She was truly dedicated to the well-being of her patients, and did everything she could to make their stay comfortable. She was the first one who came to mind when Donald trump started running his mouth. In an NVC news interview, he admits that he has immigrants working on one of his hotels, some of these come from Mexico. But it remains to be seen whether or not he wins the Latino vote. Why dignify him; even if his numbers keep rising in the polls.
He is popular because he isnâ€™t a career politician, his celeb status, And according to Chuck Todd, a commentator for NBC, he speaks for the Middle class, a group that feels disenfranchised and left out.
Heâ€™s worth billions, but as I see it, he has put himself in the same us against crowd that contains the black lives matter folks. Maybe he needs to visit Charleston, after all, they set the example.
I donâ€™t think his billions will buy him a ticket out of the crowd he is associated with now. He can try, but this is one thing that his money canâ€™t buy.
And it doesnâ€™t really matter what side of the fence it comes from, so much of the trash we have heard from the horns that honk on both sides of the road doesnâ€™t benefit or do one thing for anybody.
It blights our lives, kills our dreams and fondest wishes, and further serves to destroy the underpinnings of our society. As if we donâ€™t already have enough trouble!
The kind of rhetoric that I have heard from Donald trump on the one hand and the black lives matter crowd, as I view it, only plays into the hands of our enemies overseas. We need not merely assume that Isis and Al Qaeda are out to destroy America for the sake of the creation of their worldwide caliphate, we know it is the truth. We need not merely assume that they donâ€™t watch our news outlets here at home, looking for a chance they will see us slip up, because we know that they do. And they only have to get it right one time. They know it; and donâ€™t think wrongly, for one minuteâ€™s time that they donâ€™t; the evidence speaks for itself.
What do the decent people have to do to pull this crate back together?
It starts with each of us; we can make things better in our own way. We start where we are, and we do what we can.
Japanese peace ACTIVIST and educator Josie Toda (1901-1958) once remarked that there is no economic, political, or social program that will solve the problems that have been highlighted by the tragic events in the news lately. Then what is the solution?
First of all, we must recognize one truth; good causes, or actions, bring good benefits, or effects. Bad causes bring bad effects. This universal law will not change, this simple fact will remain with us. The solution is for each of us to find happiness within our own lives and use this as a foundation to bring about positive change. It is up to each of us; it is a certainty that we canâ€™t depend on our enemies overseas to do it.
It need not be said, although it is no exaggeration, that they use the very discord that divides us to unite them in their campaign against us, as if they really need to! The very fact that we are not a united front is the one thing working against us, both overseas and here at home.
Let Donald Trump and the black lives matter group remember that it took all races, creeds, ethnicities, and classes to make this nation great. If we try, our best days could be yet ahead. The door should be open to those who want to come, so long as they follow the proper path to citizenship. They should pay taxes, learn to read and write English, find gainful employment, and obey the laws. If they donâ€™t, they should be subject to the same sanctions as the rest of us.
No more welfare. Give the addict rehab, the poor a broom, and make the prisoners work repairing the infrastructure. So they can earn their way and pay us back for their crimes.
Everyone has a place, but if we want our lives, and our nation to be great again, then the trashy rhetoric that we have heard lately has to go. All lives matter, we are in this together, or we have nothing.
However, I will leave it up to the reader to draw his own conclusions, only you, the reader, has the power to decide.
And as always, critiques are welcome.
The people of Charleston united in the face of a tragedy that defies belief, they set the right example for the rest of us.