Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Carter Strange, Muslim Woman Suing, and The American Flag - What A Day In News

Carter Strange.  Does this name sound familiar to any of you?  Turn on the news, please.  I'm pretty sure this will be something shown everywhere tonight.  It happened eight days ago and, miraculously, this young man is already out of the hospital.  He is 18-years old and was trying to rush home before his curfew of midnight.  He had already spoken to his mother to tell her he was running a few minutes late but promised to hurry.  He jogged through the Five Points area of Columbia, SC when 8 (count 'em, 8) youths (I am having a very difficult time not calling them animals - I'm sorry) jumped him.  Actually, they attacked him savagely and beat him.  When he was found, he was rushed to the hospital where his mother could not recognize him as she stood next to the gurney on which he had been placed.  He has had to have reconstructive and brain surgery.  Remarkably, he was on the Today Show with Matt Lauer this morning.  The boys that attacked him have all been caught and they ranged in age from (get ready) 19 - 13.  The oldest was 19, there were 4 16-year olds, a thirteen year old, and two others not mentioned.  They have these boys on film, earlier in the evening, wandering the streets in a pack.  After Carter was beaten, the stories have emerged that they had previously, on the same evening, tried to attack four other people so they could rob them.  Their attorney has stated, as if this will surprise anyone, that these are actually good boys that just did a bad thing this night.  Yeah, these 'good boys' just happened to have a few past transgressions.  Forgive me if I'm not very understanding.  Thank God, this boy will be okay.  His only crime that night was trying to get home to beat curfew and, fortunately, this assault has led to an emergency motion by the City Council - there is now a curfew for anyone under the age of 17.  They must be in by 11:00 p.m. and not out before 6:00 a.m.  What I really want to know is.....

Where is Jesse Jackson?  Where is Al Sharpton?  Here are two men that scream, louder than any of us care to hear anymore, of the racial injustice in the world.  They find any TV camera available and bemoan the fact that the, "black man is being held down."  Both these mean use the title "Reverend" as well.  So, Revs Jackson and Sharpton, where are you when the white man was being held down by EIGHT black men?  I'm not...repeat, NOT...trying to cause any more racial tension, but I have to ask, "Are Civil Rights only for a select few?"  Why is it that no one comes to preach about the injustice done to this white man?  Let me guess, it's because we, as whites, have caused this action by the black man because whites have oppressed blacks for so long.  Is that the case?  I'm sorry, but as a black man pointed out years ago when I was living in Richmond, VA and he did NOT want to be called "African American," he said, "I can go back four generations and NONE of my relatives were born in Africa.  I served in the US Marines, proudly, fighting for my country - America.  I am an American."  I'm not so sure any o fus could put it any more eloquently than that.  So, dear Reverends, if you want to cry for justice and equality, you must make sure you understand the word - EQUAL-ity.  Until you stop bemoaning the woes of blacks, there will continue to be civil rights issues.  Yes, you read that correctly - I hold you both to blame for much of the problem.  You are the shield that they hide behind as an excuse for their actions.  Stop now.  Please.

I also wanted to point out the gross misinterpretation of the Bill of Rights plastered in the news today.  The first amendment provides for "Freedom of Religion."  That means, though I am not a Constitutional Scholar, that we have the right to practice any religion we choose.  The government may not dictate a specific 'national religion', nor may they deem any religion unacceptable.  It's the practicing of the religion and, though I cannot be positive, I'm fairly certain the Framers of the Constitution did not envision us dealing with as many diverse peoples as we have now.  Here's the issue: Hani Khan, a Muslim woman in San Francisco, worked for Abercrombie & Fitch in the stockroom.  She has been fired for refusing to remove her hijab, the Muslim headscarf, while on the job.  Before anyone thinks they automatically fired her without discussing the issue, she had been initially told she could wear it if it was in the company's colors.  Four months later, she was asked by a District Manager as well as a HR Manager to remove it while working.  She refused.  She was suspended, then subsequently fired, for refusing to do so.  Critics are calling this discrimination based on the company's "look policy," which (they say) means mostly white, young, athletic people.  "Growing up in this country where the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion, I felt let down," Khan, now a college student studying political science, said at a news conference.  "This case is about principles, the right to be able to express your religion freely and be able to work in this country."  There's the quote - now please read it again.  The Bill of Rights does provide for freedom of religion, however the company also has a dress code, I'm sure.  No one is challenging her right to practice her religion, however this is her job.  If we continue to interpret the Constitution and its Amendments to specifically fit a situation, well....anyone else see the slippery slope?  Quite frankly, in a "Right to Work" state, an employer can fire you for any reason they choose and you have no legal recourse.  Period.  I know because I was a victim of it.  When I sought legal help, the attorney told me, "You can fight this...and I will take your money...but you need to know going in that you're going to lose."  I was given no reason, there was no documentation of poor work performance.  There was a new manager that wanted to hire his own people and systematically did just that.  This woman happens to be a minority and wears this as part of her religion.  I get it.  You don't have to work there.  I realize that might be overly-simplified, however the dress code, most likely, does not allow for the hijab.  Hypothetically, if I wanted to claim my religion says I should show homage to God by wearing denim, do you think that case would even make it to trial?  Please, someone, anyone....tell me the difference.

Lastly today, I wanted to share one of the greatest injustices of all.  An American veteran - Fred Quigley of Macedonia, OH - served in both Korea and Vietnam.  he is 77 years old and served his country proudly - with valor and honor.  As expected, the Homeowner's Association is going to take Fred to court because he wants to fly the American flag, not from the side of his house, but on a pole in his front yard.  I realize that may sound to some as if he wants to put up a monstrosity.  You tell me - does this look annoying?

Mr Quigley, on behalf of all the sane, patriotic, appreciative Americans in this country, I'd like to say, "Thank you for doing what many others did not.  Thank you for prudly and valiantly serving our country so that we can take the aforementioned Constitution and Bill of Rights and hold them dear.  Thank you for defending them as you put your life on the line."  Let's face it folks...in 100 years, is this really going to matter?  Don't we have bigger things to worry about?  Maybe if we spent our energy on REAL issues, we'd be a better society.  Just a thought.  Fred, you're my hero.  Keep fighting the good fight.

Until next time.......

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