Okay. The shooting in Arizona happens. The only channel we get at work is CNN, so it is an all day coverage event of a very real tragedy. A couple of days later, I am in my building, pushing my janitor cart and mop bucket through the garage.
One of the guys comments about the Arizona tragedy, and how the talk radio hosts are not to blame for the acts of one nut job. True, I say, but it's awfully nice of Sarah Palin to finally shut the Hell up.
Oh, no! He says, You're not one of those people, are you? No, I'm not. I'm just me, I say. Sarah Palin is not a commentator or a politician. She just talks and talks and talks, and I'm just tired of hearing her talk about momma grizzlies, don't get mad - reload, and her trip to Haiti while everyone is dying of cholera and she tweets or talks about how lucky we are to be Americans and how the Haitians are so happy. She just needs to shut up. America, or at least me, need to hear more intelligent conversation. That's all. The woman irritates me, because I know smarter women, and I'd like to hear them talk for a change.
Well, he says, you know she's not a Republican. Really, I say. Didn't she just run for Vice President as a Republican? Yeah, he says, but now she's a Tea Party candidate. Fine, I say. I have no argument with Republicans or Democrats or Tea Party people. It's okay to disagree, as long as it's civil. I tend to think we agree on most things, as Americans. I mean, we all live here and like it, right?
Yeah, we're all Americans, he says. We all believe in America. Yes, I say. We do.
Except for what's going on in Howell, he says. Did you hear about that? No, I say. What's that all about?
He then relates how they had an anti-bullying day. One of the teachers is gay, so students wore T-shirts with rainbows on them. One girl came in with the Confederate flag on her belt-buckle. The teacher told her that was unacceptable, and asked if she knew why. She said she just wore it instead of the t-shirt, and doesn't go for the gay-pride thing (or whatever). I guess another student spoke up and said something about how we have freedom of expression. The teacher asked the kid if he was against gays, and the kid said he was devout Catholic and believes homosexuality is a sin. The teacher kicked both of them out of class.
He says...so, now the kid's parents are suing the school board and the teacher. And, he says, there's all kinds of FAGGOTS (his words, not mine) from Ann Arbor demonstrating in front of the school board offices. But he says, the rainbow is a symbol of Fags. The Confederate flag is a symbol of where people are from, the south. So what's the big deal?
I'm looking at him like he's from Mars. The Confederate flag isn't associated with bullying in any way? He works with people from every ethnic background, including several African American coworkers in his garage. I'm thinking to myself, so the Confederate flag is just a southern thing? Like the whole reason the southern states ceded from the Union had nothing to do with slavery? And the Grand Dragon of the KKK used to live in Howell, and none of this is offensive?
And Bill O'Reilly isn't offensive? Or Rush? Or Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter? I think for a moment. And I say:
How about this...maybe it would be smarter to institute school uniforms? Like get rid of Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, purple t-shirts with rainbows, and Confederate flags all together and just stick to being good citizens in school and getting grades so you can go to college. Wouldn't that be great?
Then we'd all be the same. Nobody would know if you were rich or poor, or whatever our clothes say and all this kind of stuff wouldn't happen. (I am thinking the Communists did this a long time ago, and it didn't work either.)
Yeah, he says. We should all be the same. Uniforms are good! He is wearing a blue work shirt with his name embroidered on the pocket with the company logo.
I'm thinking....you're a BIGOT. I feel sorry for him. But I don't hate him. "My fellow Americans...." black and white film runs through my head...every presidential speech.....Fellow Americans. How can we change the dialogue? Will the media ever stop drumming up their updated brand of yellow journalism that makes us all so sick and tired of being angry over...what? And then, I stop my mind from thinking anything at all.
Time to get back to work. The trash cans are full and need to be emptied.