OPINION – Considering that we live in the Information Age, we spend an inordinate amount of time spinning our wheels over nonissues. Much of this wasted time is driven by what dominates any given news cycle.
Coverage of the recent murder of nine churchgoers at a Charleston, South Carolina, Bible study is providing some stark examples of this phenomenon.
What might have been useful insights are currently being discarded in favor of clumsy political grandstanding.
Judging by the hyperventilation this coverage is provoking on social media, it’s clear that an obscene amount of effort is being exerted – for nothing.
Allow me to explain.
The Charleston church shooting has resurrected the hopes of various opportunists who hope to capitalize on our outrage before it can fade. Pundits and politicians are eagerly pimping the same old tired, fear-ridden clichés of racism, gun violence and historical symbols they want to see banned.
So-called social justice warriors have historically played upon the emotion and shock that follows the loss of innocent life. The phrase “waving the bloody shirt” speaks to the time-honored practice of using impassioned rhetoric to inflame hatred or prejudice against a perceived enemy.
In this case, their perceived enemies are those of us who refuse to march in lockstep with certain politically correct dogma.
Anyone who disagrees with the idea that American society is seething with racism is likely to be accused of being a racist. Likewise, those who refuse to support mandatory victim disarmament are smeared as being in favor of indiscriminate killing.
Rounding out the current unholy trinity of forbidden thoughts is the demand that historical symbols of the failed Confederacy be banned from public view lest slavery somehow make a comeback.
Why should these subjects be regarded as nonissues?
Note how the ideologues most determined to end racism are actually perpetuating it in order to draw attention to themselves. Institutionalized racism has been replaced with race-baiting that claims to discern racial hatred in peaceful people who have offered no offense; intentional or otherwise.
As long as a person’s behavior is peaceable, it’s no one’s business what thoughts reside in their hearts. We have no enforceable obligation to think alike regarding our freedom of association.
The murderous actions of a mad man do not portend a threat being posed by scores of millions of gun owners who have never harmed a soul. To punish them by restricting their right to self-defense, without due process, is collectivist tyranny of the worst kind.
The record gun and ammunition sales of the past 7 years have been a direct response to the thought that someone might be foolish enough to force the issue. It’s doubtful that the individuals who made those purchases did so with any intention of obeying whoever is demanding that they be disarmed.
It’s not going to happen.
Those who seek to ban symbols that have different meanings to different groups are asserting the outrageous idea that our thoughts and ideas are subject to their approval. They seek psychological, rather than physical, control over others by imposing their ideals onto us.
Whenever the collective forces itself into the personal realm of the individual, it may rightly be called oppression.
What’s the best response to such unrepentant aggression? Ignore it.
Who really believes that one more gun law or banning a flag will change anyone’s heart?
Totalitarian groupies have little to offer that could actually make the world a better place. The fact that they seek to force others to do their bidding strips them of whatever legitimacy they might have had.
Thankfully, an example of pure leadership can be found in the inspiring behavior of family members of some of the victims killed in last week’s murderous rampage.
As Dylann Roof made his first court appearance last Friday afternoon, he was confronted by the families of the people he is accused of murdering. One after another, tearful family members offered their forgiveness to the silent young man on the video screen.
If anyone had a right to be irrational – to express genuine outrage – it would be these people who were crushed by the loss of their loved ones. Instead, they followed the precept of loving their enemy and praying for one who had spitefully harmed them.
That’s the kind of strength and power that vanquishes darkness and hatred by generating light and love.
These are the kind of people who move the world in a better direction. They are making a difference not by demanding capitulation to their viewpoint but by the undeniable power of their personal examples.
They will sway more hearts and minds than the opportunistic social justice warriors ever could. We could all learn something from them.
Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
- Rachel’s challenge: Start your own chain reaction of kindness; STGnews Videocast – Reflections on Columbine
- Into the Light Concert moves a packed house with forgiveness; STGnews Photo Gallery – Reflections from mother of daughter killed by drunk driver
- On the EDge: Colorado shooting: Have we become, comfortably numb?
- High school shooting in Colorado; local safety
- Perspectives: Why gun control advocates, lynch mobs lack moral authority
- Perspectives: Gun control, a solution looking for a problem
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