An interesting word, “contempt.” It implies dishonor, and three more D words – disdain, disgrace, and one may even result in being despised. It’s a strong word; if you should find yourself in contempt of court you may find yourself in jail. But contempt is a step beyond the worst case, like despair trumps depression. Which is why it was so contemptible for an Alabama Congressman to use such semantics on a radio show recently.
Republican Rep. Gary Palmer told a radio host he thought it was too soon to be calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the SC memorial in front of the state house. He just kept clinging to his Southern tradition as he elaborated: “…people that have an agenda seeking to exploit a tragedy…to me, that’s beyond contempt.”
Now granted, I’ve taken my time trying to exploit this particular tragedy, one in which a white supremacist zealot sat in on bible study in a black church in Charleston, SC for an hour, and then executed nine people in cold blood. When I saw the picture of that deranged 21 year old, my first thought was, “He’s crazy as a loon.” And news junkie that I am, I followed right along with the debate. Should this be called an act of terrorism, or a hate crime? And I think you know which side of the fence my sentiments were falling right? Because to me it’s no worse to kill someone in a house of worship than in their own house – or in a Kosher market or a movie theatre – or in a college or an elementary school.
Why has no one asked the important question over Father’s Day weekend? Why did the shooter’s father buy him a handgun for his 21st birthday?! Most parents can tell when their kid is going off track, and from all accounts this particular young man was sending out all kinds of clues. But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the mentally ill will always be with us, but how crazy are we Americans for not doing something about gun violence in this country! We had a legislator in this state who was attacked by his psychotic son, with a knife, because guns had been taken out of the home. Can we not agree on background checks at the very least? https://mountainmornings.net/2014/01/26/political-willpower/
A debate about the Confederate flag only serves to pollute the waters. Yes, I agree the Rebel flag belongs in a museum. I was semi-shocked to find it flying on houses in rural parts of the South still, but that involves private property and if I want to fly a cardinal flag outside my house I have that right. Do we fly a Nazi flag outside the Holocaust museum? A blogger I admire, who happens to be African American and Jewish, posted a comment online that the erosion of voting rights in the South should be our priority, and not where or what is on a flagpole. And I get it, I really do.
When our President must use the N word to make his point, and shrugs his shoulders to show he has little political leverage or will left to fight the gun lobby, well I just wanted to cry. That was after listening to the families of the #Charlestonshooting forgive the killer. What should we forgive him for exactly? I’m getting out my rosary beads, and this will be my prayer:
“Forgive us Lord for letting this happen again and again and again”