Symbols

Sizzle. Pop. Melt. Soon there is nothing but a puddle of mush laying on the cool tile floor, and it’s me. How do people function in this heat? I think of the prisoners of war in Vietnam or the Philippines, laying in jungle shacks with little water or food (though who could eat in this kind of horrid heat). I would have simply died.

I had a discussion the other day about protesters using the flag as a symbol. I did not realize that a negative action with the flag is viewed by many in the military as disrespecting our military itself – because service members that die are buried under the flag. It is personal to them. It is an affront to them. This person viewed it as disrespecting America, and thereby disrespecting the men and women who fight to keep America free.

It was a valid point. Never had I considered it in that narrow context, after all, the flag belongs to all of us, not just the military. I viewed the protesting as fighting for a better America and justice or equality of treatment. Just like the women who fought – literally fought (they were jailed, beaten and some gave their lives) to gain the right for women to vote. A right you and I now take for granted. 

The list of issues in which we as a country have had to fight for equality is long. Here’s a silly one I remember: when I was in high school, girls could not apply for jobs at McDonalds fast food restaurants – the only fast food restaurant in my town. Boys only. No kidding. Sounds ridiculous now doesn’t it?

I do believe that when our actions cause other people pain, we can and should find another way to make our statements, a respectful way. But, and this is a big but, sometimes our words are not heard. It takes action. The Civil War took over 600,000 lives to abolish slavery, and still prejudice and racism did not simply vanish at the end of that awful, bloody conflict. As a country, we are still fighting for equal treatment for people of color, for Gays and Lesbians, for women to receive equal pay for equal work.

I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that listening is good. That keeping an open mind is good. That looking at topics from all points of view is good. That being respectful is best of all. I wish there were no reasons for protest in the first place, but until that day comes, let’s keep talking. We can do better.DSC_0769

About Barbara K Tyner

A graduate of UCCS with a degree in English Lit., Barbara writes Children's Literature as well as mainstream fiction. Her popular children's series, The Badger Books, is co-authored with Barbara's daughter, Laura. Her first novel, "Wait Here, Wait There" deals with grief and Alzheimer's. Her second novel, Rhyaden, a middle grade fantasy released Nov. 2018. Gardening, exploring National Parks, Kayaking, hiking, and snow-shoeing top her list of favorite hobbies.
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