Friday, May 20, 2011

Honoring dishonorable deeds for regression and the rapture.

It was announced this week in the local paper that a group of people from Sons of Confederate Veterans want Kentucky to approve a specialty license plate bearing the image of the Confederate flag. The effort is stalled and there may be law suits on both sides.

The plates would raise money for the Tennessee based organization. Their goal is to promote pride in Confederate history. This specialty plate is available already in nine southern states and 15,000 people have already put them on their cars.  As to the heritage of the Confederacy I wonder if they know what it is.  From history it was enslavement of humans brought over to America from their ancestral homes to work for free.  There's also the fact that they sold those same people like you'd sell a thing and this included the children of their slaves.  The rapes, beatings, murders, are also shameful.  Wanting to honor these horrors seems insane.
My experience with the Confederacy is from listening to my maternal grandmother speak about it. She was born in 1882 the oldest of fourteen children. Her father and mother remembered the war. As far as I know our family did not fight for the south. Our family on both sides were from a northern Kentucky county and ancestors moved there before Kentucky was a state.

I was born in 1951 so when things were lighting up in the '60's I would sit with my grandmother and watch the news seeing cities burning with race riots and police trying to deter peaceful demonstrations with water hoses and dogs. Grandmother would say, "I don't understand what those people want. They have the vote and they have public schools, why do they want ours?"

The county I grew up in was in southern Indiana within an hour's distance from Louisville. There were no blacks or Hispanic people living in the county. People bragged how there once was a sign posted at each road into the county about not staying over night if you weren't white. I never saw these signs but I have no doubt they existed.

When I was older gong to school in town my sister had a part time job after school and I walked to the town library to wait the few hours until she got off work and picked me up. The library was a Carnage Library and I would find a chair at a table behind the shelves and explore. I read encyclopedias. I read Ian Fleming novels. I read history. I read newspapers from Chicago and New York. I read Life and Time magazines. Opening those books and newspapers opened the world to me.

My attitude about people who were of a different religion or different color or home country was that really we were the same, human. I talked to my grandmother about this. I did not talk to my teachers or other kids at school. The Civil War and the then current fight for civil rights were covered in my classes as history. There was no overt sympathy for the south or the Confederacy. We learned to recite the Gettysburg Address.

I remember telling my grandmother that it seemed to me there couldn't be real peace among Americans of different kinds until we all had brown skin. She was shocked and wanted to know where I got such strange opinions. I told her the problem was I learned to read so I discovered how to think.

Now here we are one hundred fifty years since the Civil War and people who are hanging on to their white history want us to regress to make their flag an emblem on American license plates. If they want to put the Confederate flag on their cars they can paint them, use a bumper sticker or put a flag plate on the front. But a state issued license plate like that should not be sold.

This all started with license plates allowing you to personalize your plate with a quote or name and paying extra for it. I won't buy special plates because I'm too cheap. I'll buy whichever color plate that's issued that year and if anyone wants to raise money for their cause or have their name and cute quote on the plate hold a bake sale!

How would these guys like to see a state endorsed plate that celebrates Islam? I mean, the In God We Trust plate doesn't say a Christian god! How would these guys like a plate that celebrates the Underground Rail Road?
We do not need anymore things to divide us.
Also, some very rich old fellow in California is saying the Rapture is tomorrow about supper time. I'll be spending it with a good friend. He says we should try to end it with a bang!