If You Don’t Like it, Leave!

Just read this devastating rejoinder in the comments section of a NYT article discussing racial problems in America. Really? Did you just think that up all by yourself this morning while reading the newspaper? No, I bet you’ve been parroting that half-assed excuse for not dealing with something all your life. I’ve certainly been hearing variations of it since I was a teenager in the ‘60s (“America, love it or leave it!”). It’s the all-purpose, get-out-of-rational-thought-jail card that numb nuts have been playing all century.
Thing is, nobody but sociopaths actually lives their life that way. My wife says the front door is sticking? Hey, if you don’t like it, leave! Then she says our 8 year old is disobedient and doing poorly in school. Don’t like that, either? Leave! Oh wait, then I’m stuck with the kid. I’d better leave first. Better yet, we’ll put the kid in a foster home.
Got a beef with how we do things here in Land-of-the-Free? Don’t want to hear about it. Just shut up. Better yet, shut up and leave! Hey, every dictator worth his epaulettes and armored limo knows that the easiest way to get rid of problems is to get rid of the people who mention them! Why solve a problem when you can just ignore it?
Actually, I may be too harsh (who me??). There are times when it’s ok to keep your mouth shut—when something is none of your business. But when somebody does something or says something that affects you and those you care for, well then it IS your business. And if you care for your country, then something that affects it (or reflects poorly on it) IS your business. The prejudices you hold about people in the darkness of your mind are between you and whatever passes for your conscience. But how we collectively treat people and deal with the myriad problems that we face are my and everybody’s responsibility. I will not be denied the opportunity to make my country better.
If you don’t like it, FIX IT!  

Erasing History

So pulling down the statues of Confederate leaders is “erasing history,” meaning we want to hide the truth about the past, let it be lost and forgotten in the mists of time, cover it up and bury it in the litter box. Well, that would be bad, right? Same thing as Stalin airbrushing his latest enemies out of official pictures in textbooks and news archives (some of those pics got pretty empty over the years). We can’t pretend stuff didn’t happen. We need to remember all the dumbass things we did so we don’t do them again (didn’t somebody say something like that?).
And of course, teaching stuff in school and writing about it in books doesn’t count, because who the heck pays attention in school or reads books? Maybe a short YouTube video… But what we really need are STATUES! Yeah, every government building should have a bronze, bigger-than-life-sized fertilizer truck with Tim McVeigh stepping out of the cab so we remember not to blow people up (and government employees remember to keep an eye peeled). Schools should all have statues at their entrance of Dylan and Eric with their trench coats and weapons ready to rock and roll—or another child-murderer of their choice (oh so many to pick from)—so we know not to kill kids.
Really? No, not really. Confederate sympathizers and apologizers, as well as actual sane people, know very well that we don’t put up statues of despicable things we need to remember, we put up statues of people and events we LIKE and respect and celebrate. And of course they DO love and celebrate the leaders of the Confederacy, cuz they told that darn Federal gummint where they could go stick their anti-slave talk. Nobody was gonna slave-shame THEM. And THAT’S the problem, a lot more than the statues themselves. Too many people still today don’t really have a problem with what happened in the slave-holding states back then and what is happening to the descendants of those slaves here today.
And for those of you who are limbering up your typing fingers to reply that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about states’ rights, read the various Confederate States’ declarations of secession. The “rights” they wanted to preserve were the right to buy and sell people, make them work for nothing and beat them bloody if they didn’t. Guess your statues didn’t teach you right after all. Pull ‘em down.