Monday, August 24, 2015

We Bought a Farm: The Confederate Flag

JB just finished working 8 out of 10 days. And these are long shifts too -- up to 12 hours. At one point, he only had 11 hours off between shifts. I have heard it said by many an ER doc that "the thing ER docs love the most about their job is the schedule. And the thing ER docs love least about their job is the schedule."

I am really starting to see how true that is. Oh how wonderful it is when he has off four days in the middle of the week. And how nice it is that he can take a week vacation, with much advanced warning, whenever he wants. But oh how exhausting a long run is! And the holidays and Sundays can get a bit old. 

But I digress ...

Last night we loaded up the kids and drove over to one of the three restaurants in our town. (From what I can tell there are two family diners and one pizza place in our new town. But maybe I don't have complete information yet and will discover another place nestled somewhere amongst the 800 residents of the town. So stay tuned.)

"Dairy Dreams" has really great home-cooked food and last night, I was quite effected by their hush puppies. (Currently, honestly, the best ones I have ever eaten, and that is saying something as this there girl really loves hush puppies and has tried her fair share of them.) 

During dinner, I did a lot of people watching (while, of course, sitting next to a nearly two-year-old who doesn't allow for much day dreaming while at a restaurant or while anywhere for that matter.) The restaurant was packed, and I had a really neat opportunity to observe many of the people who are now my neighbors. While I do not feel out of place, I do feel like it is obvious we are not from here and that we do not talk or look like the people we are dining with. Maybe they don't think we stand out as much as I feel we do, but I can't help but wonder if I will ever feel like a true southerner. Or if I want to.

While I love Tennessee and love our new home, I am proud of who I am. While I don't really have a very strong cultural identity, I do pride myself on the huge kaleidoscope of things that I am. I am a Dutch girl who talks like she is from the midwest because my parents grew up in Chicago but who herself grew up in South Florida and has lived in various places and wants all of them to be a part of who she is and wants her kids to take a part of Turkey, Germany, and Portugal with them forever.

But I digress again ...

Afterwards, we realized there was a car show and concert going on outside. We spent a little time walking around and looking at some of the vehicles. We actually saw a car from 1925! Incredible. All the vehicles were really cool, and I was pretty impressed by all the people who willingly let our brood climb up onto the seats and even honk the horns.

For those of you looking at this picture and catching a glimpse of that red flag hanging off the side of the vehicle, I will quickly add a few sentences to the end of this post since, as you can probably tell from the title, that the flag was actually what I was intending to get at when I started this post.

If there was ONE thing I could change about our new home, I would snap my fingers and no one would be flying that flag anymore. I see it everywhere, and each time, it hurts my feelings. I won't get into a big debate about it because frankly, I really don't care what anyone else thinks when it comes to this topic. 

(How's that for saying it like it is?)

I completely respect the fact that this is America and we have freedoms here that I do not want taken away. For that reason, I obviously do not want people to take away people's rights to fly a flag of their choosing. But I would like to use the words of NFL football player Benjamin Watson, an incredibly outspoken and articulate African American Christian NFL football player that I have great respect for to complete my thoughts on this topic. He can say it way better than I can so I'll leave it at this:

"It's hard to explain how I feel when I see the rebel flag. The emotional bucket overflows with anger, trepidation, sorrow, a perverted pride and apathy. As hard as I try not to make assumptions about whoever is flying the flag or driving around with it mounted on their truck, my mind can not hold back the painful images of the past generations.... and the current one."
"When I moved to South Carolina in 1996, albeit from the southern state of Virginia, I was somewhat taken aback by the frequency of which I saw the flag. It was on vehicles, displayed on homes, and worn on t-shirts. Like grits and sweet tea, the flag was just part of the culture, an enduring symbol of all things southern. This never changed how I felt about it, but it did teach me to give individuals a certain amount of grace and realize that not everyone who embraced the flag embraced prejudice and supremacy alike."
"Displaying the confederate flag is not inherently wrong. This is not NECESSARILY an issue on which we can take a moral stance. It is not a simple right or wrong dilemma. I understand that for some, the confederate battle flag does not evoke sentiments of racism or supremacy; it is simply a tribute to their heritage, ancestors, and homeland."
If we remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol for any reason other than a change in the hearts of South Carolinians, we may as well leave it be. This is not the time for political statements and worrying about national perception. But if we ... finally listen to the cries and concerns of those we say we care about, soften our hearts, and choose to lay our liberties aside to assuage the pain of our brothers, the only suitable option would be a unanimous decision to remove the flag from the public grounds at the Palmetto State Capitol. The past and it's people, as acclaimed or afflicted as they may be, should always be remembered. But it is difficult to completely "move forward" if painful, divisive icons continue to stand unchallenged."*

Well said Benjamin Watson. You said exactly what was on my heart and way better than I could have ever said it. 

*To read the entire post: click here. 

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