Toppled

I watch the daily news and am rocked by what has become a public exposition of bad behavior. People I’ve long recognized have had their business, civic, and personal lives subjected to dark charges, speculations, and criticisms – much of it admittedly deserved. Some have been widely admonished, while others have been elevated to the highest office in the land.

It is mystifying, to say the least!

Toppled

A touch remembered, than exposed
Bits of behavior, dark vengeance supposed.
Images constructed on public words and deeds,
Toppled by memories of a person’s buried needs.

Understanding actions, what was at the core
Revised reminiscences of what went on before.
What they were, and what was built
Now under judgement, damning hidden guilt.

Should we join with the crowd and cast stones
Punish hero’s foibles that were previously unknown.
Separate actions from what went on before
Or simply tar & feather to even out the score.

Who controls the scarlet letters, awarded for a life
Sanctimonious judgements applied with a crooked knife.
Vengeance is an answer that some say is best serve cold
Consider forgiveness as an option that most consider gold.

-Clarence Holm

Criticize

Photo by Robert Woodward
Robert E. Lee’s statue was removed from its pedestal May 19, 2017.

Monuments of history
Set on pillars high
Glorifying accomplishments
Others vilify

Scar covered history
Festering just below.
Traces of bigotry
Paraded now for show.

Lessons from history
Remembrances justified.
Sacred pomp and ceremony
Mixed with self-righteous pride.

                                                     -Clarence Holm

Holiday Greetings (Or Not)

“I’m Better Than You!”

If I receive one more message stating, “Rather than send out greeting cards (or presents) I’ve made a donation to a charity in your name.” I might just go out and buy a “Make America Great Again” hat!

This week I’ve received written letters, emails, and Facebook announcements from a number of businesses and/or private persons containing that announcement – and I wonder what could be their thought process?

Send or don’t send cards or presents if you like- it’s a personal decision, but don’t use it as a form of advertisement of some greater moral behavior. You apparently don’t like the practice, but please stop trying to have it both ways by sending public notices of not sending public notices.

If you find yourself sending out cards or presents for any other reason than that you enjoy making people feel good, you might want to check your motives. If you’re worried about a charity or a particular cause, send them a gift, but do it because you want to, not because you want people to notice your “selfless” act of charity.

I happen to enjoy sending out an annual Christmas greeting! What I don’t need is some “holier than thou” telling me that they don’t do cards or gifts anymore and I shouldn’t too.

To me the ultimate irony of that act is when some of the charities receive these cash donations; they end up using them to send out extra holiday cards — soliciting more money…

Happy Holidays
Clarence Holm

 

“Ormsby – We mind our business!”

Why Does It Matter?

“When I see the Confederate flag, I see the attempt to raise an empire in slavery. It really, really is that simple. I don’t understand how anybody with any sort of education on the Civil War can see anything else.“

-Ta-Nehisi Coates

confederate flag

I was returning from shopping yesterday when I noticed two flags displayed in a neighbor’s front yard. Looking closer I saw it was the U.S. Flag and the Confederate Battle Flag, presented at equal height and rank.

It shocked me!

I had mistakenly thought that Confederate flags had all been consigned to dusty history displays or to Bo and Daisy Duke Toy Collections. I did not expect to see one flying high in a small town in Minnesota.

I immediately thought, “What jerk would do that!” Aside from the breach of decorum of the flags flying at equal height, the symbolism of raising that old banner, in obvious pride, sickened me. Long after I got home the thought that someone in my town considered it proper to display that flag, gnawed at me.

I couldn’t help but think that so many people had died fighting against everything that flag stood for. As a family historian, I knew that two of my Great-Great-Uncles had died in a Memphis Hospital of dysentery after being pushed to the absolute limits of their endurance. One of them had only arrived from Germany five months before he joined up to fight for his new countries beliefs. In fact, he did not live long enough to learn English or become a citizen. When he died, the military listed his possessions as one pair of pants, a shirt, and a blanket. They buried him in a Memphis Union Cemetery and notified my Great-Great-Grandmother that her brother had given his all to his new country.

Then I thought of many of the people I knew, who were minorities that had told me how they resent the flags popularity. How they thought it allowed people to hide their racist hatreds behind a cover of false Southern Pride.

My wife asked me later, why I just couldn’t seem to let it go? Why did a small piece of cloth mean so much to me? Perhaps it had to do with the rancor that is occurring during this year’s election. The total lack of civility being displayed by some many politicians, the willingness to label races and religions as dangerous, not worthy of American Citizenship or worse, questioning the quality of those minorities who were citizens and the division of people by sexual preference or belittling of someone’s definition of love.

I guess I have come to equate that flag as the rallying cry of bigoted small minded individuals and can no longer stand to see it fly.

-Clarence Holm