People take symbols way too seriously. I saw proof of this last summer when I posted some sigils I found on Pintrest as a reference for my writer friends, and many people I personally knew completely freaked out, because they thought it meant I was practicing witchcraft. I was absolutely shocked at the extreme reaction people had to that posts. Obviously, they’ve never read a word of my writing. But on the plus side, they were on their best behavior around me for a good while after that, and all for a post that wasn’t even meant for them. Hey Cinderella, I didn’t say the shoe was yours, but if you choose to put it on and walk around, then the blisters are your own fault.
It concerns me that people are being equally emotional about a flag. You may just be hearing about this, but the Confederate Flag debate has actually been going on for over a decade, and people are extremely emotional about it. They take it personal, and when pictures of Dylann Roof surfaced with the confederate flag, the focus of this horrible incident shifted from nine lives lost to the rage that symbol created. Indeed, the headlines shifted to the flag a mere two days later, and a week later they're main news, while the people senselessly killed are relegated to the background.
It shouldn’t be this way. Why does a symbol matter more than people? Why are we focused more on something with a shifting interpretation over the facts that a hate crime occurred? I have two bits of news for you, folks:
1. Take down that flag, and you’ll see 100 times more Confederate flags flying in South Carolina; and
2. It’s going to happen again. Taking that flag down won’t stop it, because ideas come from the within, not without. These hate crimes have become part of the world we live in. We have radical terrorism to thank for that in my opinion, because 911 taught people that taking their malcontentment to the streets in big, bloody ways catches attention through headlines, which is exactly what people want when they commit these heinous crimes, domestically or internationally. The only difference taking that flag down will make is that the next time, everybody will say “don’t look at me, I didn’t have that symbol up to invoke this violence!”
Look at that picture. That flag is doing what it's always done. It didn't kill anyone, or tell anybody to kill anyone. All it does is flap in the wind, and these emotional reactions give it a tremendous power that it shouldn’t wield. It worries me that the focus shifted from real people and real lives to a piece of cloth. It’s like a person I once knew from Africa said about voodoo: it can’t hurt you if you don’t believe in it. If you don’t believe what the flag stands for, then you should be spiritually and mentally strong enough to wield the power to strip it’s meaning in your life, and look away. It has no power other than the power you give it, so stop giving it victory and claim that for your own.
Take the flag down if it makes you feel better. People are going to be who they are regardless of a symbol because ideas come from within. But if it changes your world for the better, then go for it. I guess you’ll have to find another symbol to blame next time. Clearly, the people don’t really matter if we care more about the meaning of things that can’t see, hear, or talk over the lives of those who live and breathe in the real world.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.