What they don’t tell you about speaking out (and having different views)

If you are privileged enough to go to college, then hopefully you are challenged, faced with hard decisions, and exposed to new ideas. College is meant to be a place of self-realization, exploration, and enlightenment. I spent five years as an undergrad and didn’t fully realize how much college changes you until my last year. I realized pretty quickly that I had abandoned my ultra-conservative roots and picked up a more liberal, left-winged way of thinking. From the Black Lives Matter movement to DAPL, I consistently had different opinions than my loved ones (specifically on Facebook).

I am a loud and proud individual. I am privileged as hell. I suffer from white guilt but choose not to be immobilized by it. I am a God fearing Christian. I am all of these things and more, yet I find myself constantly questioning my role, what society is suppose to be, and how to make a true difference. All of these things I have learned about on the job, in the classroom, on a Saturday night three drinks deep at a bar. There is so much knowledge I have gained, questioned, and created – however they don’t tell you everything.

They don’t tell you how to respond to harsh criticism to your ideals and beliefs by your friends. They don’t tell you how awkward it will be at family events whenever you’re the “flaming liberal” who has betrayed their conservative upbringing. They don’t tell you about the tears, rage, and fear you feel (all at once) when a family member you have loved, looked up to, and have worshiped all your life tells you they don’t know who you are anymore, that you have betrayed your heritage – essentially cutting ties. They don’t tell you the pain you will go through as you change into the person your trying to become.

They don’t tell you that sometimes you will wonder why you even bother to speak out about injustices, the hypocrisy, and the hatred. They don’t tell you that your family will slowly walk away whenever you don’t sit on the same side of the political spectrum. They don’t tell you have you sit, for hours, wondering if all you have done is even worth it. There is so much they don’t tell you – so here I sit, wondering if my activism, yearning for a socially just society, and hundreds of hours of self-education is even worth it. What am I really accomplishing? Is it even worth it?

I don’t know. I am terrified. My greatest fear is being lonely. They don’t tell you about all the shit that comes with picking the high road, the road less traveled, the road not in-line with your family. I am so young, yet I feel so old. I am so privileged, yet I feel like I have lost so much. No one told me that I would be where I am at right now. The only thing I have left to do is pray, read, meditate, and reflect. I don’t know what I am meant to do in this life – what I know now is that it gets real ugly, real painful, real. This is not the guilt confession of another white ally. This is not the bickering of a privileged male. This is true hurt, true confusion, true desperation. This is so much and more – the things that did tell me when I started this journey.

The flag that flies is (should be) the same for you and me

I can go ahead and tell you that this post will probably piss someone off or rub someone wrong, if so go read my other posts and find out I don’t care. This post is all about flags.

So people want to ban the Confederate flag because it is linked to racism, old ways, etc. Ok. We always want to progress as a society, not regress. But there is something that should be added to the arguments and it goes a little like this:

We want to remove a flag because it it linked to racism and the old South and anyone who flies it is racist. We want to ban it from Walmart, Apple stores, and state capitols. However, when someone burns an American flag, steps on it, desecrates it, we are told it is their freedom of speech and right as a citizen.

I call shenanigans

How on earth is that even fair? I am not preaching for the sake of heritage nor am I blasting progressives, I just want to show how unequal things are ALL over this current hot topic. I can understand removing it from government places, as all governments here in the US are of the 50 stars and 13 bars. However, this recent endeavor to ban it (the confederate flag) is making it very hypocritical as we step on rights of some and bend over backwards for others. I’ve always heard and been told if you don’t like the flag you live under then move. So if we are going to do something about flags, let’s be fair on all fronts.

Now on the subject of symbols, monuments, and other things in the news

We can change everything we want: military base names, street names, building names, take down monuments, remove all signs of our ugly past but two truths remain constant:

  1. our past will ALWAYS haunt us and will readily come up. Just look at Ole Miss and the great bounds we have accomplished yet we always have something, small or large, come up and bite us on the ass.
  2. you can remove anything you want, but until you change the people, nay the attitude, perspective, and equality, all the change in the world is a waste.

Now, I am lover of history. I am one for social and equal justice before the law. I call a terrorist a terrorist and my rights your rights. There are somethings that should change, and somethings that shouldn’t/won’t/can’t/etc. Distancing ourselves from our mistakes is important, but it also important to never forget where we have come from. Maybe we should change how children are educated. Maybe we should re-dedicate statues and once and for all decide the meaning of monuments. Maybe we should just all move to Canada and cause them problems. I don’t know nor will I ever know, but I know that during my lifetime, I will never see a perfect United States of America.