I feel compelled to insert my two cents on some topics gnawing at my conscience. I try not to discuss the politics of certain subjects because I seem to dig holes that are impossible to climb. And everyone is passionate about the underlying issues involved, almost to the point of radicalism. I’ve lost a few friends because they were so dead-set on an issue and were so vehement on pushing their opinions to make others see their point of view. For me to “unfriend” someone because I don’t share their opinion is shameful. I deem it as me not being respectful to the individual. True, we’re not going to agree on every subject that comes up. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends. Over the recent events like the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, the church shootings in North Carolina, marriage equality across the board, and immigrant relations (thanks to Donald Trump), I’ve learned to tread lightly and pick my battles wisely. And sometimes that means adhering to the words: “discretion is the better part of valor.”
So, in a nutshell, here are my two cents on the topics everyone is talking about:
First, the removal of the Confederate flag. It should be noted that I was not born in the South, so my opinion will be skewered and biased. I acknowledge that. I’ve lived in Georgia for over fifteen years. I’ve seen that flag on cars, in some homegrown stores. Even the aunt of my wife had one in the guest room. I know the symbolism behind it. But I can’t ignore the history behind the creation of the flag: a symbol behind the secession from the United States. It was the reason behind the Civil War: the right of every man to be free. It’s not what the Southerners believed.
Decades later, we’re still fighting for equal rights of every man. Though we’re not using weapons so much as we’re using hateful words and man-made rules. I feel this is a travesty. But it has nothing to do with a flag. If people want to wave a flag for whatever they feel is right, by all means do so. Just don’t tell me that it represents an ideal that is contradictory to what I know.
Next, marriage equality. This is another touchy subject that transcends religion as well as politics. I read the Bible and it clearly states that homosexuality goes against what God designed humans to be. At the same time, this doesn’t mean that those who follow God and deem themselves Christians should hate the person who engages in such acts. That’s hatred, which is also against God’s teachings. Also, I have friends who are homosexual, including my ex-girlfriend. I may not agree with their lifestyle, but I respect them as individuals. Now, there are some who are boisterous about their homosexuality and I have an issue with flaunting it in front of me. But I cannot judge them. To paraphrase, “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” And the last time I checked, we’re all human, meaning that we are imperfect. We have flaws and faults to own up to. So what makes homosexuals any different?
Lastly, immigration. Donald Trump made some inflammatory remarks about Latinos in his push for his Presidential nomination. I don’t necessarily disagree with some of his remarks, but I do disagree with how he came across. Being in the public eye means you have to be careful with your words and how you say it. He was generalizing the Hispanic population. But there are some who are working to do things the right way and we’re not giving them a chance. I think it’s in our nature to lump people up and say, “You’re this, you’re that, and you’re wrong.” And that is basically what Trump did. I don’t think he’s going to have a change of heart on the matter. Again, though, we cannot judge others by who they are and where they come from.
In the grand scheme of things, it boils down to the basic rights of all human beings. I wonder if men like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King time-traveled to our time and saw what we see, what would they think? How would they respond to the current issues we face? My opinion is that they would be dissatisfied and distressed that we are still fighting for equality years later, that people hold prejudices within and outside their races. I think they would call it a travesty and view it as a big black eye. Those who think inequality is dead are turning a blind eye to what’s happening right in front of them. Yes, with the Supreme Court ruling that gave homosexuals marriage rights and the local courts decision to have the Confederate flag removed, we’ve made strides. But we still have a long way to go.