1. You cannot imagine how long it takes to prepare a post on WordPress when the internet connection is going out repeatedly, requiring a trip down a flight of stairs, re-booting the modem, scanning for a channel back up the stairs in my office, and furiously searching, reading and linking until Verizon kicks out again after three to ten minutes.
Since none of my 40 phone calls to the Verizon tech who promised that the three-months’ long problem was fixed and that he would sprint like a bunny back to our home to trouble shoot if the malady returned had received the courtesy of a response, I snapped, and got into my car to visit a Verizon wireless store about five minutes away that I didn’t know existed. For some reason the world, though sun-lit, was bathed in a weird light, and my neighbors were lying on the ground wearing what looked like 3-D glasses, but never mind: I had someone to yell at.
There were two young men about the age of my son manning the store, and I told one of them, through gritted teeth, the whole infuriating saga of how much Verizon DSL sucks and what useless customer service his employer provides, rendering both my business and my communications chaotic and unbearable. I didn’t expect anything, really. I just wanted to give hell to someone face to face.
To my shock and amazement, the young man actually did something. He got on the phone—I told him that I took sadistic pleasure in watching Verizon personnel go through the infuriating phone tree, get put on hold, get disconnected, end up in the wrong department, for all of this happened to him as I watched and listened—but he finally reached a supervisor, and told him that the story he had just heard from the gentleman in his office made him ashamed to work for Verizon, and he wanted to know how my problems could be addressed immediately. Yes, he knew that I had a tech visit already scheduled, “but since the same tech has been out there three times, each time assuring him that the problem was successfully addressed, why would he trust us to fix the problem now?”
“If I were him, I would have dumped Verizon and found another provider.”
After about 45 minutes, here was what he accomplished. He got them to agree to send a different and higher level tech this time. He set in motion the process of getting me fee rebates for the three months of intermittent service. And he gave me his card, with instructions to call him immediately if the problem wasn’t fixed. “If I have to, I’ll come to your house and personally see that you have functioning internet service from a new provider,” he said. “one way or the other, I will fix this problem.”
Now THAT’S customer service.
The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose. They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They’re all part of the same family. It’s called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag and live according to the same law. They’re bound together by common purpose, mutual trust and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other.
The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people.
When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate. The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.
As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas — and we will always win — let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.
But as my Trump-deranged Facebook friends say, we know he doesn’t believe any of this. We know in his heart that he’s a racist Nazi. Besides, they don’t want to heal those divisions. They want to exploit them, and why would they want to be undivided from deplorable citizens they hate anyway?
Boy, what a stupid speech.
3. A former Facebook friend and decades-long real friend from and currently living in Texas, who decided to exile me from the glow of her favor sent me this out of the blue, indicating that she had been following the posts here on the The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck:
Early 60s. Midland schools were resisting, in every way possible, desegregation. We had two high schools. Midland High and George Washington Carver. I was in San Jacinto junior high and my mom was a teacher at Midland HS, my dad was the assistant superintendent of the school district. John Birch society was at its height and controlled the school board. When it was obvious that desegregation was going to be mandated, the school board knew how to make their feelings known and how to make the students from Carver as humiliated as possible.
They built a new high school. Named it Robert E Lee HS. The school fight song was “Dixie” and the school mascot was the “Rebel” a cartoon confederate soldier waving a confederate flag. They put a confederate flag on everything that they could. Our letter jackets, our sports uniforms. And yes, a statue of Lee in front of our new HS. And then they closed Carver and the black students were forced to submit to attending school in an environment that reminded them every minute that they were in school or playing sports that they were inferior.
That’s what “Southern Culture” means. It has absolutely nothing to do with pride in the history of the south. Texas had very little to do with the actual war between the states, the confederate flag at my school was the first confederate flag I ever saw in Midland. There are no Lee or Davis statues or schools in Texas that were not put in place in the 60s to protest granting civil rights to black Americans. It’s shameful. They can’t change the name of my high school soon enough for me.
This isn’t an invitation to argue. Just want to add to your understanding of what exactly the people who protest the removal of statues or flags or school names are not supporting a treasured historical tradition, on the contrary. The issue is anger over the granting of civil rights to black Americans. They don’t give a hoot about Robert E Lee.
Well all righty then! That settles it!
This is increasingly the kind of post I am seeing in social media, usually from people a lot less intelligent and informed as my erstwhile friend in Texas. This is the way it is, and I don’t want any arguments, because my mind’s made up, I’m right, and shut up.
It is not a fair, ethical, or responsible form of discourse.
As far as the story goes, I don’t doubt it. However, a single example of the John Birchers using Confederate symbols to further their racist agenda does not demonstrate that nobody regarded Robert E. Lee as a worthy historical figure for honors and memorials like prominent military leaders have been honored across all all countries, times, and societies. Funny, my junior high and high school history teachers in Boston suburb Arlington Mass. seemed to “give a hoot” about General Lee. We were taught about how he epitomized the dilemma faced by those who saw their states as their first loyalty, and how even those who were ambivalent about slavery ended up fighting to preserve it. We were taught about how much the opposing combatants respected each other as human beings—you know, unlike in the current civil war—and how statues of Lee and other Confederate figures reflected that ethical attitude.
If nobody gave a hoot about honoring one of the greatest generals and leaders of the Civil War—we’re talking about skill, not causes now—I wonder why there are statues honoring complete failures like twice-fired Union army commander General George B. McClellan, including one a few miles from me in Washington, D.C.? You will recall that he ran against Lincoln on a platform of ending the war and allowing the South to secede, thus continuing slavery for at least a few more decades.
Well, never mind. My friend must be right that racism and Jim Crow are the only reasons anyone erected memorials to Confederate war heroes. After all, she says so.