To our foes-I am offended

Since I presume we have some Yankees, scalawags, "activists" and other assorted busybodies who read this site (searching for some nefarious right-wing conspiracy, no doubt), I have a message for them. Everyone else feel free to pass it on to any of "those people" you happen to encounter.

Hardly a day goes by that I do not hear some derogatory reference to the Battle Flag and other symbols of Southern heritage. Almost invariably, the whining and crying begins with the phrase "I am offended!" Well, I am offended, too.

When you call my ancestors "racists", "oppressors", "vicious slaveholders" and the like, yes, I am offended. When you call me and my Southern brothers and sisters names like "cracker," "redneck" and the like, yes, I am offended. When you demonize our history, symbols, and culture, all in the name of "tolerance", and demand that we all accept your distortions of our history as the price of getting along, yes, I am offended. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Honestly, I don’t know why you can’t practice the tolerance you preach. All I know is that you don’t. I really don’t know if you’re someone who feels guilty over the silver spoon that he was born with in his mouth, or a ne’er-do-well looking for an excuse for low achievement; a young person who has just discovered that no one is going to just hand you success, or someone carrying an old grudge from 40 years ago around your neck like a big, stinking albatross. Maybe you’re just out to make money. It really doesn’t matter. One thing I do know is that given your lack of respect for others, you must not have too much respect for yourself. That’s a sad waste of God-given human potential, and when I see that, yes, I am offended.

That’s bad enough, but that’s not the worst of it. When you use the misfortune of others to make yourself feel just a little larger or more important, or to gain sympathy for yourself, or to line your pockets, well, that’s just plain contemptible. I knew people in the civil rights movement 40 years ago who experienced more real adversity every day than most of you have in your entire lives, and most of them exhibited a dignity and a spirit of tolerance that I frankly don’t see in you. You want to ride on their backs in your little quest for glory? When I see you doing that, yes, I am offended, and if you’re using the suffering of the least among us today, or the slaves of years ago, to build up your self-esteem or wealth, that’s using others for your own selfish ends, it’s wrong, and yes, I am offended.

When you spend your energy on lashing out at symbols, instead of addressing very real problems, excuse me if I think you’re less than totally sincere. It’s going to take some real work to free a good part of the African-American community from the crime, poverty, illegitimacy, and ignorance that are its chief stumbling blocks on the road to success. It’s a big enough job just to fix up all the decaying schools. So, when I see you protesting a flag, while more perfectly good kids have their future tossed in the wastebasket, that leads me to believe you really don’t care, and yes, I am offended.

What bothers me most, though, is that for all your talk about breaking down barriers, you’re building them. That’s right, building them. You slash left and right at things that others cherish, and you think that has no consequences? Do you think the people you oppose have no human feelings, that your intolerance of them won’t cause resentment? Here’s your wake-up call, they do, and it does, and every heart you create that resentment in is one more brick added to the wall, and one more drop of poison added to the well from which we must all drink. You’re as blind to that as the morons back in the sixties who waved a flag in someone’s face while yelling racial slurs, and come to think of it, your own behavior is not too different from theirs. I was offended by them, and now I am offended by you. We all have to live together after all, and when you, or anyone else, makes that just a little harder, I am offended!


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