Friday, June 26, 2015

Heritage

You speak of Heritage, in some haze of deluded nostalgia.  What heroic ideals are you thinking about, as you cling so tightly to a battle flag of treasonous failures?  Is it the virtue of slavery and lynchings and beatings and bombings? Is it the empowerment of Jim Crowe and segregation and George Wallace in the school house door at the University of Alabama?  Is it the high morality shown at Klan rallies, cross burnings and the murders of Shcwerner, Goodman and Chaney?  Do you look back and miss the days when your church leaders demonized an entire race of people?

Or is this just some deranged group dream of a time when "we" were on top? When all the problems we face today didn't exist? As you looked through your rose tinted glasses at the world that never was, remember that it has taken a very long time to get to where we are today, and the south is still on the bottom. We are still poor, we are still unhealthy, we are still uneducated, we are still incapable of following the basic tenants of the constitution.

We still pass laws to limit the rights of the minorities, through voter controls, theocratic nuttery, treating women as if they are simply chattel.  We still celebrate the birthday of the general who lost the war. We still celebrate the birthday of the false president who gained us nothing. We have monuments to failed traitors and false idols.

Our heritage is a heritage of loss and missed opportunities. We pushed against every single progressive idea that has made this country better and stronger.  The South has been the largest drain on tax dollars since the end of the civil war. As our Nation tries so hard to drag us into modernity, we cling to an outdated lifestyle still filled with prejudice, privilege and partisan idiocy.

We should be proud of the members of our society who stood against injustice and inequality and systematic hatred... Instead we rally around a symbol of hatred that is opposed to everything they fought for.  Instead of glorifying George Wallace, we should have tributes to Vivian Malone. Instead of Bedford Forrest we should remember the 16th Street Baptist Church.  Instead of reenacting civil war battles, we should reenact the Selma march, the speeches of MLK jr. We should disown the traitors of our past as the vile propagators of the failed war they started.  We should disavow their creeds of hatred and racism.  We should educate our children instead of indoctrinating them.  We should feed our poor instead of demonizing them.  We should heal our sick instead of patronizing them.

Our heritage is shameful, and we have the power to make it something worth passing down.