I went to church Sunday morning, as has been my habit for most of my life. The churches in our county were full and there was prayer offered all over town to blanket the horror of last Wednesday in Charleston. But for many of us, the safety in our own sanctuaries called forth the need to examine the roots of the Charleston tragedy more closely. Because the shootings in Charleston made us all hit the wall. It's enough. Long past enough. For white people, black people, all of us.
Before Charleston, we would go to church and feel peace and sanctuary there...a safe place, a place of shelter. What were you thinking this Sunday morning? We nice people don't have that kind of hatred in our community? It couldn't happen here? We all get along fine? Have you counted the number of confederate battle flags you see on vehicles during your drive to the grocery store?
What do they mean? Do you remember the last racist joke you heard but did not object to? What does your middle-schooler say it you ask him about the terms he hears (or maybe uses) to describe his Hispanic classmates? Exactly how much ingrained racism have you and I tolerated, or worse, not even noticed for what it is? What have we been thinking?
Sunday morning I thought about and prayed for the nine in Charleston who died, but I also prayed for the young shooter now facing the death penalty, who's life experience had allowed such venom to fester and boil over. Didn't anyone...a parent, a teacher, a neighbor...take enough interest in him or invest the time to explain that we are all God's children and that race as defined in the old Jim Crow South is a fictional construct?
What if we as a community - seniors like me, working folks, church people, civic clubs, students, all of us together and separately - vowed to face up to the open sore of racism that afflicts our country? What if we vowed to stop and talk to our neighbor, our friend, our niece, the bagboy, whenever a racial slur is used and explain the hurt within that slur?
What if every school in Pickens worked to become a "prejudice free zone," just as they have worked to proclaim that they are drug-free? What if our (Lions, Rotary, Optimist) club invited an inner-city club to Jasper for a Saturday of tomato sandwiches and discussions about race? What if each of us vowed to do our part to heal this mess. What then?Jane Waller
As Mr. Kippenhan (recent letter writer) walks up to your front door to be invited in, he steps in all the messy dog piles. Once inside, he smears his smelly cargo all over your carpet and fine upholstery, then stands there like a mischievous child waiting for your reaction and expecting to be approved and complimented. Just as the dog turns what was once good food into something unpleasant, Mr. Kippenhan turns issues that are important to others into sordid waste...
See the rest of these and other Letters to the Editor in this week's print or online editions.
Editor's Note: All old comments will be deleted after new letters are posted on Wednesday.