Issue 27, July 5, 2015

I would like to apologize for last Sunday’s message; it was a poorly written 3rd attempt.

The first Message was a well thought out piece on the dangers of the news media who can twist stories to meet their own agendas.  Specifically, I was condemning Dylann Roof’s (purported) actions of killing 9 people attending Bible study in their church.  While at the same time, I presented a case that the Rebel flag, to me, merely meant that I identified myself as a southerner while growing up in the 1970’s.  It had nothing to do with hate.  If you are not from the south, this may make sense.  But, if you are, you know exactly what I’m writing about.

Fearing that this message was too much of a lightning rod, I chose to use a back-up Message I had written months earlier (in case I got ‘writer’s block’).  This article was about why I moved to Jacksonville and why I still think this is a great place to live.  It also happened to reference my admiration for the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Coincidentally, on Friday June 26th, the Florida Times-Union ran a front page story which included false evidence (my opinion) that Skynyrd’s use of the Rebel flag as a stage backdrop, is the foundation for most of the racial problems in America, for the last 40 years.  Hastily, I withdrew that message as well.  It’s a shame, as I thought both were good pieces.  So, with no time to compose, I spit out another message about how we should respect our holidays for their true meanings…Surprisingly, I actually got a compliment for it.

Folks, the media (and others) continually twists facts to justify their respective motives (as mentioned above by the FTU article), and they do it very well.  If you listen to only one side of any story long enough, you are likely to believe it.  However, it is up to each of us to responsibly ‘see’ through the smoke that is being presented.  We have to understand the logical meaning of each story, and not just blindly accept that which is being told to us.

For the record: I know of no one, anywhere, who condones the actions of a cur, at the church in Charleston.  This was a travesty, plain and simple; justice has to be served.  It is truly sad to know that this can still happen in 2015.

Nevertheless, I do not agree with the method of which some media has portrayed southerners, currently, or in the past.  Are they sincerely motivated by the desire to inform listeners/viewers/readers of current events?  Or, is it just about ratings and ad revenue?  Do I really have to ask?

The Rebel flag is part of our history, and should be used and remembered, not unlike in the annual re-enactments at Olustee Battlefield State Park.  Because, for our nation to progress in the future, we cannot forget the past.

But, it has now been over 150 years since Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.  I do believe that its retirement is needed for us to move forward.

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