I did the best I could this week with exercise and diet. I worked out; made my session; stuck to what I’ve found for breakfast and lunch. No progress. But I don’t feel too bad because I’ve had my mind on other things.
The events of this week have left me confused, with a lot of different, sometimes contradictory, thoughts running through my head. The older I get, the weirder my mind becomes.
Perhaps it’s that I’ve lost the certainty and idealism of youth. The young have the luxury of believing something fully and completely – never questioning or finding any fault with their position. I find I can’t do that any more. Oh, I still have my opinions and I still take sides. Anyone who knows me knows I have liberal leanings. I wouldn’t call myself “far left”, but I’m definitely not conservative. I support social programs and believe in helping the needy. I’m as fed up with the upper 1% of our populace as anyone. I believe everyone has the right to get married and be happy, no question.
So, why have I lost the aforementioned certainty and idealism? I think maybe it is because as the years go by certainty in a position is affected by personal experiences. The more time that passes, the more of those experiences I’ve had, and the more I see that there is very little in this world that is not open to question.
This realization was brought to the forefront because this week was filled with news about Confederate memorials. The controversy over taking down Confederate memorials and monuments has been brewing for a while. I have no connection to the Confederacy personally, so I have been observing this from a distance. Of course, nothing is simple. This issue has been complicated by the participation of various groups supporting the idea of “white supremacy.” Some call them “neo-nazis” or “the alt-right.”
There are non-extremists weighing in. Some people are upset about the removal of Confederate memorials. They feel that the “other side” is trying to rewrite or obliterate history. Others feel all Confederate memorials glorify slavery and those who supported it, and have no place on government or public properties. I have problems with people on both sides, which makes me very politically incorrect.
In this debate the politically correct position is to want to remove all Confederate monuments on government or public land, and if I have to take a position, that would be it. The reason I am politically incorrect is, 1. I maintain that I have a lot more important things to worry about than statues; 2. The reason I feel they should be removed has nothing to do with the emotional trauma people claim to feel when they look at these statues generations later. I feel they should be taken out of government and public places (especially government areas) because I feel only things honoring the current government belong in a current government building. The Confederacy no longer exists and memorials to it should not be in houses of the existing government. 3. Despite my ultimate position on this question, I have a real problem with how people on both sides have been describing, referring to, and otherwise referencing people who may not agree with them completely.
The problem is the argument has become personal. I’ve heard those who want to keep the monuments describe those who want them gone as bullies. I’ve heard those who want to scrap the monuments describe those who want to keep them as nazis (regardless of whether they appear to be in an alt-right group). Instead of discussing the real reasons for each position, they resort to name calling. Some of this may be human nature, but some is because SCROTUS has made name calling acceptable. Another reason this debate has become personal is that reactions to the statues in question are personal. Understandable, but this is where reason and self-control should prevail. They aren’t.
There is another problem – the way each group describes those of us who simply do not think this debate is that important. Heather Heyer died in Charlottesville, and that is horrible, but not the point of this post (and not really because a statue was being removed, although that is how the demonstration began). My point is, the last thing she shared on social media has taken on a life of its own. It was a quote (I don’t know who said it originally), “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” Well, that is NOT TRUE. I am paying attention. I simply refuse to become overly emotional about an issue that is not the most important problem in my life. People on both sides are trying to make those of us with more balanced views feel guilty because we aren’t wringing our hands ready to battle those with whom we disagree.
Well, if the left and the right want to continue fighting over these monuments they will have to do it without me.
Until next week….