Jun 242015
 

Why is the Confederate Flag a big deal right now?

Why wasn’t it such a big deal a couple of weeks ago?

Let me share a couple of thoughts…..

The Confederate Flag is a symbol of a time in the United States that was very bleak, very dark and very sad.   Brother was fighting brother, thousands of men died and ideas, ideals and beliefs were questioned.  

  • Many people were fighting for their “economic way of life.”  
  • Many people were fighting to keep their country together.  
  • Many people were fighting to keep the slavery system in place and the black people as slaves doing the manual labor running their plantations.

While some people can argue that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of the heritage of the South, I think they are missing a couple of key points:

  • The South lost.  I’ve heard people compare the waving of the Confederate flag to people from Texas wearing cowboy boots even if they don’t ride a horse.   Excuse me?   Supporting a movement that cost thousands of lives and had as one of its goals to keep thousands of people in slavery and you’re comparing it to people from Dallas who like to ride a motorcycle and wear cowboy boots?
  • There are many people in the United States whose direct ancestors were harmed and/or killed by the efforts of the Confederacy.   In addition, there are many more who suffered for years because of the slavery that the Confederacy fought to keep.

So why now?  Obviously there is a big and contentious history behind the Confederate Flag and it means different things to different people.    Not everyone sees the flag the same way, this is a given.

But, the blatant racist events that happened in Charleston, the killer spending an hour in a prayer meeting before turning a gun on the prayer group members, the message that he sent about wanting to start a race war, that was like tearing out the  stitches on a wound that had “almost” healed.   It still hurt and wasn’t totally healed but it was better.

And then Bam!

Someone took a staple remover or a needle-nosed pliers and yanked out the staples.

The wound breaks open.

Blood comes out.

It hurts.   It hurts a lot.   Enough that you need to go visit the ER.

That’s why the Confederate Flag is an issue now.   It is an old pain that has come back to hurt us.

It’s an old wound that has been reopened.

And if we are going to make progress in healing the wounds of racism in this country, this wound needs to go away and be confined to museums and history books.

That’s why the Confederate flag is an issue right now.

Tom

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/24/politics/alabama-governor-confederate-flags/

Jun 172015
 

Here’s some of what I’ve seen and read about the issue since I wrote about it yesterday:

There is a petition on MoveOn.org to ask the United States government to intervene and stop the deportation of the Haitians from the DR.   You can sign the petition at Moveon.org.

I did.

The deadline was supposed to be today to begin the deportations.   This article in the Guardian explains quite well the logistics and the fact that of a potential 200,000 to 250,000 people of Haitian descent, only 10,000 have been able to file the newly required paperwork and only 300 have actually gotten the permits.    So, even if the process and the requirements weren’t racist and discriminatory, there is no way that the bureacracy of the DR could issue the paperwork in time.

This article is actually in Creole – and so I can’t say I understand it all.   But from what a friend of mine (30 year resident of Haiti) told me, it basically says:

  • President Martelly is saying that Haiti will welcome the deported Haitian immigrants with dignity.
  • We are working on a way to welcome them into Haiti.

I was also told that the government of the DR has put a 45 day moratorium on deportations in order to attempt to accomplish two things:

  • Give the government of the DR time to process a few more of the files that were completed.   Anyone want to venture a guess as to how many of the 10,000 will be processed and, in a world where documentation is in many cases non existent, meet the requirements?
  • Give the Haitian government time to prepare a “welcome plan” at the UN Military base near the northern border.    I dare venture that a government with the resources like the US has would be hard pressed to implement a plan and have resources in place in 45 days, let alone a government with limited resources.

There are a lot of moving parts to this, but it truly has the makings of a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.   Please keep spreading the word, asking for help and praying for those involved.

Thanks,

TJV

Nov 292014
 

It’s been three days since I read this article by Lecrae – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-juice/6327837/lecrae-ferguson.

Who is Lecrae?   Here’s what Wikipedia says about him……  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecrae.

That article has gotten me thinking.    Thinking a lot.   Thinking about some tough questions.   Questions that Lecrae has no answers to.

Questions that I have no answer to.lecrae-billboard-650

But a question that I am asking myself a lot is this…….

Does the whole Ferguson mess illustrate and expose that we have another a different kind of vulnerable that we need to pay more attention to?

Are the vulnerable not only the women and children in 3rd world countries but also the children who aren’t white but live in first world countries and are faced with a system that at best has biases against them and at worst is downright discriminatory?

Should we, as the privileged in places like the United States, do more and be more focused on the vulnerable in our country as well.

While they might not be at risk of dying from malnutrition, they are at risk of dying.

And as such, should we be doing more to stand up and fight on their behalf?

I’d love to hear your thoughts,

TJV