Friday, March 8, 2013

Saying Something

I was reading the news online when one particular article caught my eye. Possibly my brain's internal highlighter pen went off because my brother, Mikey Livid (of Scars and Stripes) was recently working with his friend Nik Flagstar to organize a protest opposing some rather nasty things a Fort Walton Beach, Florida man has been posting via a homemade billboard beside a rather pitiful looking "stars-n-bars" rebel flag he keeps flying day and night on a pole complete with enormous nails sticking pointy side out to ensure that no one tampers with it. In case you haven't caught on yet, my brother is a really cool guy who stands up for those who need standing up for as well as standing up to those who need that. Incidentally, I have another brother who is equally impressive, but I'll save him for another post.

So, anyway, back to the article, which was about the recent popularity of the rebel flag among a particular area's high school students. The kicker was that the particular area in question is in Canada. (Yeah, I know. I said, "what?" out loud, too.) The article seemed pretty straightforward, arguing that, yes, the flag is a symbol of racism. In the comments that followed, the standard arguments of free speech, historical meanings, southern pride (Really? In Canada?), made their due appearances. Now, I know I should just shut up and let these internet arguments die, as they do, on their own, but this one wasn't likely to fizzle, like most do, once someone gets called a Nazi. So, I let this slip...

"Here's the thing: whether or not the original intent of the flag designers was racist or no, the fact is that that flying this flag hurts people. It's clearly come to represent racism and implies that the person who flies that flag is in support of racism and the objectification of others.

I am a Buddhist. The swastika was a symbol of Buddhism long before the Nazis came along and made it ugly. But who cares? The fact remains that the swastika has come to represent something odious and hate-filled. Would it be within my rights to display the swastika on the front of my house and could it mean, to me, Buddhist love and non-violence toward others? Sure. But would I do something so clearly callous and cruel to all who know the swastika as a symbol of hate and horror? Never. Never never never.

Come on. Be reasonable. It's not nice to hurt others just to show off a symbol. It's that simple. Surely there are other symbols that are less hurtful that can be used to show whatever this symbol means to you. If I can find another suitable image (Instead of a swastika, for example, I have the Sanskrit for "the jewel of the lotus is within" above my door. Problem solved.) to represent my complex religious beliefs, you can find one that shows you're southern, a history buff, etc."

I don't know if it mattered one bit to anyone else, or if I just made some troll really happy to have something else to write a rant about. I just think sometimes it's good to deposit some evidence of the things you believe in out in the universe. Maybe it matters to someone else. Maybe it's just good to have these things out there to keep you honest to what you know is right.