Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Power of Symbol

Confederate flag, Charleston, South Carolina

The tragic events in Charleston, South Carolina, have re-focused the country on the power and divisiveness of the Confederate Battle flag, a symbol of hate by some and Southern pride by others.  Calls to take down this flag and move it to a museum are becoming louder and louder, and hopefully it will actually happen soon.  Thanks to the power of media and the internet, more voices are being heard.

symbols, logo

We encounter symbols and logos, both commercial and political, on our commute to work, on bumper stickers and on TV.  Some symbols are innocuous as sports teams, more in your face like a political rant, or a decal for where someone has visited, like Wyoming.  Obviously, today the symbol of the Confederate flag has evolved to a cultural “tipping-point” of negativity, eliciting visions of racial hatred and memories of past segregation.

As Bob Dylan once sang…”The Times They are a Changin.” History is never static and carved in stone, and new generations often perceive the events of the past with a different lens. Today’s electorate is rapidly becoming less white, less rural and better educated.

I am hopeful for good and honorable people to come together and continue to create a more fair and just society. Often the steps are slow, but progress is happening! We must take a principled stand and be heard even after the buzz of the 24 hour news cycle turns to new stories and events.

Challenges still exist! The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate groups around the country and lists over 784 active “hate” groups. One group alone has over 300,000 members! These groups are everywhere, with 57 in California, 50 in Florida, 44 in New York and 36 in Texas.  

***CLICK ON THE LINK to read Bob Dylan’s prophetic lyrics and hear the song. It has new meaning for me today!


Picture credit: Jason Miczek, Reuters.

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