Saturday, May 18, 2024

For every season, turn ...


The old folk tune written by Pete Seeger mimics the Bible* and thus acknowledges the reality gained through millennia of man’s experience on planet Earth. Here is the gist of that song:
“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep”

It doesn’t matter what genre of music one likes, words from any song, poem or book can be a powerful force, stirring the soul to new aspirations and possibly even changing the world.
Do Black lives matter? Of course they do. All lives do. Are Muslims to blame for worldwide terrorism? Undoubtedly, but domestic terrorism enacted by White radicals has been in America for more than a century.
Is love the most powerful force in the world? Most of the world’s religions say yes and amen to that.
So what is the story about these Confederate statues?
I would place them in museums, but never on public property where taxpayers must pay to keep the pigeon poop off of them and where they still offend millions of our fellow citizens of every color, including most Whites.
Is “culture” a loaded word to mean racism? Are these statues part of the Southern heritage and American history overall?
Some of them are and some of them are not. There is no doubt some of these statues were placed in the early 1900s to remind Blacks of their place in the pecking order while others were placed immediately after the Civil War to actually commemorate the Southern war dead and the leaders of that ignoble pursuit.
I say ignoble not because the men were not honestly pursuing what they thought was the right of states to govern themselves, but because the idea of allowing slavery to be a local issue would have caused legal and commercial chaos and crushed the entire point of a “union.” The idea of slavery itself turns the stomach of any person with a heart (soul) and brain, the very core of what is is to be human.
So now back to the song above. The season where “White Supremacy” dominates the political landscape as it did in the 1920s has long since passed in the national psyche of most Americans.
Our democracy is ruled by the beneficent majority over the vanquished minority, but it doesn’t give the victors license to utterly destroy those we disagree with.
Love means forgiveness, not destruction of ideas foreign to our own thinking even if those ideas are repugnant.
Education about the actual causes of the Civil War can only change a few racist minds. There are those who will continue to embrace hate in the same fashion most of us breathe air or take sustenance.
Arresting everyone can only change a few racist habits, certainly less than it will create more martyrs for the “White” cause.
I can only say placement in a museum and due respect, but in private, will defuse most of the public outcry about public Confederate statues on public land being maintained by public dollars.
Let the Daughters of the Confederacy and all the White hate groups gather together and collect money and place these statues wherever they want, but not on my courthouse lawn or in front of my city hall.
If the Confederacy had won the war, would these hate mongers have allowed statues of U.S. Grant in their public places? Would schools still be segregated? Restrooms?
Would the Black race still be in chains?
Finally - the state of Washington was obviously named after George, but even George eventually freed his slaves .... a time to heal.
Gary Bégin’s opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinion of NCW Media ownership or staff.
*The lyrics were taken from the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8).


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