Charleston, Faith, a Flag, and Equality
So similar but so far apart!
America may finally be getting the message that all men are created equal. The past 12 days have been laced with emotions too many to count following the Charleston, SC massacre on June 17.
Just when we think that hate has reached its limit, we hear the blood curdling words of the shooter as recounted by witnesses. After the murders, and the release of the killer’s manifesto, many immediately thought of he confederate flag that South Carolina has so proudly waved for over 50 years.
Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “All-in” probed various guests about the flag. He challenged former South Carolina governor and Congressman Mark Sanford on the subject. Sanford argued that to at least some Southerners, “it’s a symbol of heritage” and state’s rights and the sacrifices of their ancestors. Hayes shot back that there was clearly a connection between the symbolism of that flag and the horrible, racist actions of the Charleston killer.
As the discussion continued at multiple levels, in multiple venues, nerves were struck and explanations were proffered. But ultimately, even staunch supporters found themselves back-peddling, going from defending the flag to reconsidering the racist undertones it presented. The message, from both sides of the political aisle became loud and clear: The flags must come down.
Flags can be anything from a piece of fabric with graphics that represent a given message (as in military engagement or a country’s signature) to a piece of paper on a particular text used to “flag” a quote or other section of print. It is a sign post that beseeches one to take note of something.
A flag is a piece of fabric (most often rectangular or quadrilateral) with a distinctive design that is used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or as decoration. The first flags were used to assist military co-ordination on battlefields, and flags have since evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signaling and identification, especially in environments where communication is similarly challenging, such as the maritime environment where semaphore is used.
National flags are potent patriotic symbols with varied wide-ranging interpretations, often including strong military associations due to their original and ongoing military uses. Flags are also used in messaging, advertising, or for other decorative purposes.
Regardless of how a flag is created, the power that they levee in our soul and on the consciousness of those who pledge their allegiance to them is great. The poignant impact of the confederate flag merits a sane discussion into the impact on our society.
A flag is more than a graphic on a piece of fabric or a piece of paper. The mere image that is represented on a flag encapsulates a message or an ideology. At the sheer site of any given flag, an individual’s consciousness can become woven into the very essence of the fabric; almost as if they are one. A flag can evoke thoughts from across the emotional spectrum. Citizens of countries not only pledge allegiance to their flags but they become archetypes of a message. Many a sincere person embodies the very substance of their chosen flag’s creed.
In its original form, our United States pledge read, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1923, the words were edited to read, “the Flag of the United States of America.” At this time it read,: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
And in 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the time, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Today it reads, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
People pledge allegiance to what they hold to be symbolic of their inner conviction, whether for good or for evil. That fact was exposed and driven home on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 a date that will direct our future life experiences similarly to that of 9-11.
Who can set a date, a time, or a place, much less the means by which the transformation of a soul takes place? Did anyone except the killer wake up on the morning of Wednesday, June 17 expecting to lay their head on the pillow that night with their life hanging in the balance? No one was prepared to face life without their loved ones. No one was prepared for reporters and television cameras to bombard the city. No one planned to mourn the loss of one of South Carolina’s most honored legislators.
Yet in the midst of their darkest hour, the unbridled capacity of love was unleashed and made its way into the hell that has held so many captive for generations. Whether it was indeed political or emotional, law precedes spirit and the end result will be a transformation so lasting that no one will be able to turn back the hands of time to revisit the calamity that that a sole graphic on a piece of fabric played in the transformation of America.
We have yet to see the fruit that those “beautiful nine” will bear by living their lives unto God, by walking the talk and proving that love overcomes hate and good overcomes evil, but we have experienced a taste of it.
These individuals embrace a different flag, that of Jehovah Nissi (the Lord is our banner) and they pledge allegiance to it with a dedication that transcends any other of the lesser flags. In a single moment in time, the world stopped and the heavenlies honored their commitment to the tenets of their faith. The whole essence of the universe made a conscious decision to esteem the best in mankind, rather than the worst. And America was changed.
In the reverence of the moment, at this time in the history of this country, we have been moved to examine our self-righteous and pious proclamations of faith. Religion, politics, and every other system that attempts at making life better can bow the knee to the Spirit of love that has been shown in the midst of unbelievable heartache.
Should we continue to seek the true meaning of life and the sacred power of our worth, we may just experience the greatest transformation our country has ever seen.