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From the Publisher's Desk – That's my toes you stepped on (Oct. 7, 2015 issue)

United States?
Can you name me one thing we are united on? A friend of mine had a post on Facebook that read “2015, the year America was offended by absolutely everything.” How appropriate.
We sure are a sensitive group of people. It’s hard not to offend someone in the day and time we live. Don’t let your rights infringe on my rights because I’m right and you’re not. It seems everyone has drawn a chalk square on the pavement, stepped into it and dared anyone to cross over it or a lawsuit will entail.
Prayer rights, gun rights, gay rights, Confederate flag rights, non-discrimination rights, gender rights and more. It is a fine line. As a diverse group of individuals, we all have varied views on varied subjects. Although the government tries to establish laws that make equality for all and protection for all, the laws often cross over the boundaries of one to meet the needs of others.
I am a very open minded person but my views may be just as different. Prayer may be out of public but it still happens silently in my heart. If we outlaw guns they will still be obtained by criminals. I don’t want to know what gays or straight people do in the bedroom. It’s your own home. I don’t like public displays of affection from straight or gay.
I also feel little respect is given to vows and marriage licenses anymore. The marriage and commitment can not be made through a piece of paper, it is made by the heart. The paper itself only ensures you share health benefits and possession upon divorce or death.
As for the Confederate flag, what a mess. Most displaying it have no conception of what it was like to fight for the Confederate army. It seems usually if you try to tell people not to do something it makes them want to do it out of protest.
Recently, fellow employee Damaris Higgins was in my office and saw an interesting sight out the window. There was a man peddling on his bicycle with a large Confederate flag, hanging from a pole, waving behind him. She said “Quick, grab your camera.” But there was no way I could catch up with him as he rode off in the opposite direction.
I made the comment that I was expecting the troops to come riding horses, not bicycles. She then replied “The south will ride again.” We both chuckled. What else can we do in the day we are living?
Any flag is just a piece of fabric. It is all in what it stands for, just like the marriage certificate is just a piece of paper. It is the meaning and the rights behind them that are important. I sometimes get so afraid of mistreating the American flag that I am afraid to handle it in public. My neighborhood puts out small U.S. flags around the street at various holidays. I was out with my handful, pushing the sticks into the ground for the Fourth. Since it took two hands to get the stick in, I was in a dilemma of what to do with the others in the meantime.
I was afraid someone would see me if I put them on the ground. I ended up sticking them between my legs and gripping tightly, while I waddled from spot to spot. Would I have been mistreating the flag if I put them on the ground? Who knows. I’m sure somewhere someone would be offended.
Although respect for the flag is important, I often wonder if most consider what they are saying in the Pledge of Allegiance. Are youth even taught what a pledge means? What are they pledging and to what? I don’t know, maybe it’s not used in schools since it states “one nation under God.”
I am saddened by the mistreatment of any human. God created us all and cares for us all. Our job is to love – maybe not their ways, but the person. Sometimes we like to rank sins in our mind according to the degree we find them disgusting or that don’t cross over into our own backyard of “milder sins.”
We are all so far from perfect but trying to strive for better, hopefully with faith. Let’s turn that magnifying glass on ourselves from time to time.
I think the upcoming Presidential election is going to be interesting for sure. They are at a time of having to tip toe around the issues and not offend any voters because they are all needed, regardless of the candidates’ true beliefs. I find it somewhat interesting that Donald Trump has enough money that he doesn’t have to worry about being bullied. He just speaks his mind, right or wrong, which brings up the touchy issues that other candidates are then forced to offer an opinion on.
The tides have turned. It seems that the first part of the recent candidate pool found the Republicans trashing Hillary Clinton. Now Trump is trashing the Republicans in his own party and they are on trial to the public with the need of a response. Meantime, Hillary is on her third reinvention of herself since announcing. And the Bushes, only in my yard, please.
I hope we get all of our issues worked out before Heaven. I’m not sure there are different areas for different beliefs. It will be fun to see who was right and who was wrong in their thinking. Remember, the key is love.
Oh well, I just hope it doesn’t get worse before it gets better. I may have offended many by now, so let’s just agree to disagree.