What The American Flag Really Stands For

What The American Flag Really Stands For

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Recently, in Valdosta, Georgia on the campus of Valdosta State University there has been protest over the American flag. Eric Sheppard, which is known as a terrorist or activist for the Black Panther party, has especially been in the news for this. Eric Sheppard who proudly stepped all over an American flag said, “The meaning for the stepping on the flag was that flag represents white supremacy and racism which is plaguing the entire earth. So when we step on that flag we are stepping on racism and white supremacy, we are stepping on those things."

Eric Sheppard is wanted by law enforcement due to the fact he brought a gun in his backpack on the college campus during these protests. He is on the run and has yet to be captured. This has lead to many people across the country participating in what is called the “Eric Sheppard Challenge" in which an individual records themselves stomping all over the American flag and then posting it on social media. The day of the protest Eric Sheppard was recorded saying, “I indeed am a terrorist. I am a terrorist towards lies. I am a terrorist towards white people."

I am not sorry to be the one that says this, but you, Mr. Sheppard are not a terrorist, nor are an activist for any kind of rights. You are just a coward. You stepping on that flag (or any other participants in the Eric Sheppard challenge), are not stepping on the American flag due to racism or white supremacy, you are stepping on that flag because of ignorance.

That flag you are stepping on symbolizes America, land of the free and home of the brave. We live in the greatest place in the world. We live in a place where you can freely form any opinions or say anything you want to say with hardly any consequences. If you despise our country so strongly that you feel the need to step on the very piece of fabric that gives you the freedom to do as you want, then leave. I am sure you would come rushing back after a short time spent in a place like North Korea or Cuba, where you have no rights.

Our American flag represents a lot more than any words can explain. Our American flag represents the life of so many soldiers, sailors, and other military personnel that so bravely left their homes and loved ones to fight for this country. They fought and gave their lives for people to be able to freely say what they want and step on the American flag if their ignorant heart so desired. Maybe it is hard to understand for you but ask a person that has had a loved one never come home, or ask the widow that has been handed a folded up flag at her husband's funeral. That flag that represents racism and white supremacy to you, is the last thing some family members have of their loved ones. That flag to them represents the sacrifices that have been made, the danger they have put themselves through, and yet if you asked any person who has served, they would not take it back for anything.

In the wise words of Lee Greenwood, “I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free and I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me."

Fly that flag high and thank a veteran for the ability to fly that flag.

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No Matter What, We Are All Human

Regardless of who we are or what we've done.
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"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If I am killed in a terrorist attack before or after this article posts, my words still stand.

You've read that right. I love terrorists.

I love them because I love people. I love the idea that no matter what they have done, there are still those little shreds of humanity left.

Love equals understanding, so if love is too strong, let us use the term "understand".

I understand them, those people who instill fear in others because they believe it is for the greater good. There are no "terrorists", but people who perform terroristic attacks.

We need to remember this because once we place that label of "terrorist", we remove that reality of "human". The only true terrorist is hatred. It attacks our brain, destroying our common sense, and deteriorates at our ability to love.

Maybe if we saw the heartbreak in their chest, the parents they lost, the child that was taken or the distress they felt as the result of another human being, we might lower our weapons long enough to see that they were fighting for the same reasons we were.

I don't watch the news, but I watch the way humans interact with one another. We scream and cuss over the opinions of others. I hate you's and go die's fall harder than the bombs we want to launch at those who wrong us.

We watch "civilized" men holler at each other about how the other is wrong, screaming so loud that they are unable to remember how to use the ears they were gifted with, with the hearing they were born with.

The human instinct to love and understand has evolved into the need to worry about only yourself.

Since we invaded Iraq in 2003, war has increased sevenfold worldwide. We fought this war, claiming we are "fighting for peace", but doesn't fighting for peace make just as much sense as constructing to destruct?

Hatred cannot fight hatred. So instead we need to lower our guns, diffuse our bombs and fight with the words that Ralph C. Smedley gave us.

"Understanding comes through communication, and through understanding, we find peace."

My mother always taught me that I am only human. I am Caucasian and a female. But these are not the things that define me. These are not the things that are meant to shape my life or my beliefs.

I believe there is not a single life that is worth more or less than another, even with the things they may or may not have done.

There are not bad people, just those who do bad things.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Will We Forget This Time

Some people are more concerned about maintaining gun culture than the lives of human beings.
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Will we forget this massacre this time? Will this one be forgotten and then will another one take its place soon after to then be forgotten again. After the Sandy Hook Massacre, I thought there could be nothing worse. Then there was the shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, and then the shooting at Vegas, and now the shooting in at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. All of these massacres as well, as others not mentioned, were equal in hatred, equal in evilness and they occurred with an assault weapon that was designed for military use.

Some people are more concerned about maintaining gun culture than the lives of human beings. There is a notion of freedom within this country that is profound and important. But with the wrong mindset, this notion can be misconstrued to be interpreted as a law that does not allow the regulation of guns. There are some who argue that the assault weapons are used for hunting or for gun collection purposes. These people seem to be more willing to uphold the statues of gun culture in order to maintain the supposed freedom and rights within the constitution while others die because of it.

However, one of the major purposes of the Constitution, more specifically, the Bill of Rights was to uphold freedom and the right to uphold statues of “hunting/gun culture” above the freedom of individuals to go to school and gather in a public vicinity without being shot to death is not truly freedom. And this consideration should not be exclusive to Suburbia but all other cities within the United States. To hold the freedom of gun/hunting culture above freedom is not freedom at all.

Although I support the right to bear arms, the AR-15 is an army assault weapon and it should have never been allowed to be obtained by non- army personnel with mental illness or not no matter if they like to hunt. Conservatives seem to be busy trying to conserve a principle that was written centuries ago to fit the needs or understanding of needs for those times. No one should conserve any century-old principle without scrutiny and proper consideration for how it should be molded to fit our current world

It was not the prevalent mass shootings alone that caused me to realize that there should be gun reform. It was when I learned about the gun violence that is very prevalent in inner cities and urban areas as well. The complexity of the kinds of mass murders that takes place in the inner cities requires more than just the gun reform but this should have also prompted as many people to lead protests and marches and media coverage. This also should not be forgotten

It is true that security measures should have been taken throughout the entire situation but now is not the time to place blame because the crimes have already been committed. More people have died because of a mass massacre and it will continue to happen if proper action is not taken. Some action has been taking place but it must be persistent and when the media forgets and moves on to the next topic, we cannot.

Cover Image Credit: LA Times

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