A community question: Where do we stand?
Where Do We Stand?
Charleston, SC. Charlottesville, Virginia. Clinton, SC? Yes, it could happen here.
I wanted to stop my article with just the mention of those three communities and the profound statement that such a tragedy could happen in our own community, but the lives that have been lost deserve far more than poetic justice. Where do we stand as individuals when it comes to racism, sexism, classism, and the many other -isms that create chasms in our community? Are we bold enough to be honest with ourselves and our neighbors about our passions and our fears?
What do we deem to be right and just? What do we consider to be fair and equal? We have the right to free speech, but how often do we have constructive dialogue with one another? Do we converse with one another to learn and share or to make sure our perspective is communicated? Are we more comfortable messaging via megaphones, microphones, and social media so that our monologues may manipulate the masses?
Until we answer these questions and many others that will be asked, we stand on shaky ground. America, in its infancy, either refused to answer such questions, or boldly proclaimed that the truth behind the self evidence was that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were not intended for everyone in the newly created nation. Where does Clinton stand in 2017? Does Clinton still have an 1860 mentality? Or maybe it has a 1960 mentality? Was there a big difference between 1860 and 1960? I am just asking to get you to think.
What would be the reaction if someone made the suggestion to remove the Confederate monument in the square? Would this community resort to violence, or would we be able to discuss the suggestion as a community? If manufacturers boycotted the community because of the statue and refused to bring jobs to the community, would that force the community to have a civil conversation? I am just reflecting on the fact that economic boycotts “helped” to end Jim Crow in the South and apartheid in South Africa.
Maybe racism and everyone’s way of making history his story is too much for the community to tackle. Are the various economic disparities in the community fair targets? What about affordable quality housing? What about wages that compete with Greenville, Spartanburg, and Greenwood Counties? From my work as a pastor, I have seen these issues cross racial and gender lines. It is time for us as a community to take a stand on many critical issues that will impact lives for generations to come. Hopefully, we can stand together, instead of falling part because of senseless violence.
(Rev. Steven L. Evans is a pastor and lives in Clinton.)