A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I am sure someone, a politician, a civic leader, a talking head on the news will be quoted as saying, “This is not who we are as a nation.” That would be a lie, designed to deflect the responsibility of who we are as a nation.
It is who we are as a nation. We, as a nation, have a long and despicable history of murder, genocide, racial intimidation, and the promotion of hate as a political vehicle to gain power and wealth.
We do it here at home and we do it abroad. We celebrate it. We, as a nation, admire violence no less so than the Spartans of ancient Greece. We glorify violence in our culture. We are bored by anything less than the thrill of a kill.
It is who we are as a nation because we, as a nation, haven’t made any affirmative commitment to change who we are. If you think, “Well, I didn’t do this – I am not responsible,” then think again. If you accept it as a part of our nation’s daily life and do nothing to change it, how can you claim that you’re not responsible? None the less, We, as a nation, will collectively say, “I did not do this.”
Who would proudly raise the confederate flag over the SC capital? Who would see that flag flying there, at a concert, a sporting or political event and only see it as a quaint relic of the past or that it honors tens of thousands of people who suffered and died in the Civil War – albeit for the preservation of human slavery and lining the pockets of the profiteers of human misery? Who accepts that as just “the way we are?”
This nation does.
copyright 2015 Doug Shields
Dylann Roof has been charged with the killings.