Raina Fisher

Through the Looking Glass

Does the debate of naming military bases after traitors have a Side 2? Is there a flinty mien, or a simple fix? If we give them a new name, will that bridge the gap?

Can it cure the tumult? Or is a symbolic gesture just the thread to stitch a patch on?

Can the fog, which hangs like a thick wool blanket over a rock garden, erase one letter that time etched on a stone pillow, or will the ephemeral shroud dissipate when the wind blows a kiss?

Can one find a just cause to chip a timeless image of a turncoat in stone?

A statue to revere a deserter seems to make as much sense as it might to pin a medal of valor on a soldier who was dishonorably discharged.

All the while, amnesty may have been granted, it’s a moot point. In a field of wildflowers and roses, they pick the thorns and weeds to adorn a graveside bed. It must give one cause to pause and ponder as to why.

We give honor to those who fought on the losing side — not just of war, they were on the wrong side of history. And yet we still lend a hand to sanitize the annals of the past.

We do more to dilute the facts as we pour water on the dirty truth. It’s as if we tossed weight on the scales to tip the balance in favor of the Lost Cause idea.

These were the men who didn’t fight for the freedom of slaves. The Confederate Army is a symbol of treason to those who stand with the North side of the war. In their mind’s eye, the Confederate flag reflects a ray of racism.

But to others, nostalgia is their raison d’être. The United Daughters of the Confederacy denounce white supremacy and have called on those with racist views to “cease using Confederate symbols for their abhorrent and reprehensible purposes” (UDC, 2018).

What boggles the mind is that H.K. Edgerton is a Son of the Confederacy. The fact that he is an African-American activist and former president of the Asheville chapter of the NAACP throws a wrench in the white Southern male paradigm.

He has defended the Confederate flag as a First Amendment right. And he sees it as a mark of Southern heritage (Wikipedia, 2020).

Amid racial strain, we can take the contrarian view or assuage the pain. We can draw on moral conviction and, in the spirit of empathy, acknowledge the anxiety which such emblems have conjured up in our American brothers and sisters.

There is a right and a wrong way to go about making change, though, and we ought to keep that in mind.

For ISIS, too, tore down monuments. And the statues they blew up, felled to rubble. They shelled tombs. And wrecked works of art.

In a tank, they rolled up and down the city streets: in one hand, they waved a black flag, in the other a gun. They pillaged and left the lands they captured in ruin.

In the United States, we make a deal when we go to the ballot box. We trade a vote for a promise.

We focus the choice we make on the leader who will pass legislation which will best help our families, though there are lines that they should not cross.

For a start, they need to wind down the debate on cemeteries which bear the name of a Confederate soldier.

The graveyard, which houses those who lost their life in battle, is a meadow where the North and South can be found side by side. Grasping just how much blood was spilled so all could be free, ought to unite us (South, 2018).

The sad truth is that a faction, which lingers on the fringe of society, is afraid of those who don’t look like them, just as they fear those who don’t think as they do.

But we live on a plain which celebrates good over evil, and that ought to bring joy to us.

There are more of us who will go to great lengths for a stranger in need. We see the human spirit shine through the catastrophic moments.

What a boring world it would be if we were all the same. That’s like opting to look at life through a gray-scale lens, when we could choose to gaze out of one in vivid color.

And yet when it comes down to it, we shed the same red blood when we bleed. And when we cry out, our tears leave the same stain.

The color of our skin does not separate us when we give birth. Our hearts feel a type of elation, a glee which transcends race, religion, gender or creed. Ask the mother, father or grandparent who holds their newborn for the first time.

And when we bury a loved one, we grieve and find comfort in knowing we will see them again.

If you believe they’ll wait for you on the other side, or not, it is the sorrow and loss of the moment which binds us as one. We are of the same human race.

The fact of the matter is, God created man in his own image. He saw that all he had made was good (KJV). We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Just imagine what a wonderful world it would be if we were to take the time to laud our differences as unique and rare.

We have passions that ebb and flow: woeful dolor can go to the rage of ire, and one glance can cause us to burst into tears of laughter. And so, even works of art can make us feel a swath of emotion.

With that in mind, when we give tribute to a historical figure in the future, then we ought to be able to say he or she was a person who had honor, thus being worth the accolade we give them.

 

RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is rainafisher@hotmail.com.

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