I’m turning the other cheek

Photo courtesy: Dave Marner/Gasconade County Republican/From the Columbia Daily Tribune Rondal Studdard of Leslie, right, and other residents of Gasconade and Franklin counties halt the progress of two chartered buses supporting an NAACP march from Ferguson to Jefferson City by blocking Highway 50 in Rosebud on Wednesday. Studdard said he was angry because his elderly mother lives in Ferguson and was afraid to leave her home.

Listening to the yakkety-yak about the Missouri and New York grand jury cases got me to thinking about how I would react if the shoe were on the other foot.  Not the cases themselves, but the reactions of my fellow Americans to those who used their Wagner Power Painters to blanket label all protesters as thugs and/or supporting criminals.  I was wondering how long it would take for me to come across something that would test my judgement, and boy did I not have to wait long.

This whole police shooting in Missouri has brought out the worst in some people.  There is a group of people marching from St. Louis to the state capital to protest the grand jury proceedings in the case of Michael Brown.  It’s bad enough that Ferguson erupted into such chaos thanks to the ignorance of a few.  It upset me to see fellow Americans calling everyone thugs and other crap because a few people wanted to riot, loot, and burn things down.

Anyway, the people have been marching since last Saturday.  By their accounts, most Missourians were quite hospitable towards them and even providing food and beverages to the marchers.  Then, they hit the small town of Rosebud.  There’s always either a “then” or “but” when these things are discussed.

In Rosebud, a town of about 409 according to the 2010 census, the marchers were met with about 200 people, or half the town’s population.  As a welcome gift, an empty 40z beer bottle was left in the road along with a display of watermelon and fried chicken.  Along with the welcome basket, the marchers were greeted with shouts of obscenities, a kid holding a sign reading “go home”, and the prerequisite Confederate Battle Flag.  In addition, one of the buses following the group had a window shot out.

Now, I know enough about history to understand and respect those who view the CBF in its historical context from the Civil War.  What I don’t understand, is how the historians allow such as symbol to be co-opted for hate.  I don’t fear that flag, nor do I fear people flying it.  I enjoy discussing the history of the flag with those who honor the history of the flag.  I won’t cower to those who try to use it as intimidation though.

Anyway, if this is the Post-Racial America that Chief Justice John Roberts think we have achieved, why does places like Rosebud still exist?  Using the logic displayed by some in reference to Ferguson and the protests, do I get to broad brush all of rural, White America now as racists because of the actions of a few?

While it is very tempting to do so, I know better.  Therefore, I will turn the other cheek.  I know far too many good people from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to know that these ignorant a$$holes don’t represent America or Americans.  I’ll call them for what they are, but I will not soil my views or opinions of everyone else lacking in melanin because of the stupidity of these people.  We’ve come too far as a society for that now.  Whether we like it or not, we’re stuck with each other for the long haul.  We may as well get used to being around each other.

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