Help me understand

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Dear Editor,

Please help me understand why pictures and references to cotton or picking cotton are offensive. Cotton has been around forever (dates back to medieval times). No one can take the credit for that lovely creation, but God. Nor is it a symbol of oppression. How and by whom cotton has been cultivated over the centuries has no bearing on its value. It is just a plant, like trees for lumber, peanuts for peanut butter, pasture for hay, and gardens for vegetables.

It is ALL for us! How we utilize God’s bounty is His charge for mankind; and like mankind, God’s bounty requires cultivation. How that takes place has nothing to do with race, subsequently, a tool for casting blame.

“Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” ~ John F. Kennedy

I agree that slavery is cruel. God did not create his children to be dominated or abused by another human being. Nor did God create his children to hate, harm or blame others. Adversity, doubt and sin go hand in hand with the existence of mankind and how we handle them reveals our character.

Mankind will repeatedly make mistakes. The forefathers, who patronized the institution of slavery and endorsed indentured immigration, or drove Native Americans from their land in the name of progress (and greed) overstepped the bounds of decency. My thinking is this: mankind, in general, is a bully; acting without thought, giving little back, and running through life selfishly amok. All the while, our Heavenly Father is providing plenty of rope; for hanging ourselves or for lifting up. It is all about decisions…we can stagnate and wallow or look up and find healing.

One thing is for sure, no one can rectify the faults of the forefathers. However, an effort to communicate, understand, forgive and avoid repetition is a good prospect for moving on. For instance, historical objects represent ideals and freedom of speech, good or bad. Is that not what the Constitution allows all Americans? How will future generations realize how far America has progressed if history is swept under the rug? Is that what we want to teach? Destroy what does not please you? A past and respected leader once quoted (in part):

“In closing…a televised event is not the place for unhappy and overpaid athletes to communicate a grievance. Why don’t they just refuse to participate and stop using Old Glory as a device to complain? She is a precious symbol of bravery and freedom for all Americans because of those who have paid the price. Our strength comes from faith, fortitude, unity and the realization that we are NOT entitled. Nothing is free. Why a nation would tolerate such disloyalty among those whose success depends on its very citizens is beyond me. I will not yield allegiance to sub-citizens who will not respect America, Old Glory, and the brave Americans who have sacrificed so much. We should turn off the TV and go outside and enjoy God’s beautiful world. Let’s lead our family and community to stand up to those who mock Old Glory and our founding fathers who risked everything for the freedoms we enjoy today. We are a nation free of tyranny. We are a nation for anyone who is willing to sincerely (and legally) search for and labor to achieve his happy place, meager or grand.”

Jeri Harris



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