Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Sins of The Father

No hand can make the clock strike for me the hours that are passed.
-Lord Byron

As the James Ford Seale trial gears up with jury selection, a local media outlet, The Jackson Free Press has been reporting pretty hard core on this Civil Rights era murder case. I am grateful that charges have been brought in this case and I agree that murder should never have a statute of limitations, but I have a problem with the soap box tactics of the JFP in polarizing this issue into "your either with us, or against us." Through this case, the JFP and specifically, Donna Ladd, have found another reason to indict everyone in this state, young and old, as long as they are white, as being culpable in the murders of black victims of racially based Civil Rights era killings. The JFP and Donna Ladd have found it appropriate to advocate for the white citizens of this state to apologize for lynchings, murders, and racially based hate from the past. If people wish to apologize for these types of actions, perhaps people who were there or committed the acts, I say go for it. If someone feels that much guilt that they need to confess, apologize or repair damage they feel responsible for, take the first step and do it. However, and this is a big however, I feel no responsibility for what happened to black victims of racially charged murders or violence during an era, time, period, and place that I did not exist. Make no mistake, I feel very sorry for the families who lost people to senseless violence, I feel sorry for the millions of black people who had to ride at the back of the bus or who could not even eat at a diner with white people. I feel sorry for the fact that a great leader like Dr. Martin Luther King was gunned down by a coward, as was Medgar Evers. Mississippi and the United States lost great minds when these two leaders were murdered. However, I was not responsibly for what happened in any of these cases. I owe no one, any kind of responsibility except for what I do in my life. My family was in this state before statehood and fought on the side of the Confederacy and I do no apologize for this, because I had no hand in those decisions. Very possibly, many of my ancestors in this state, were racists, ignorant, and advocated for Jim Crow laws. I do not apologize for this, because this was not my doing. Many people who might read this, might say, "well, he is just a goddamn racist." No I am not. I don't apologize for the past, because its not my life and if I make a disingenuous apology for those things, I might as well apologize for the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, apologize for Cortez's massacre of the Aztecs and apologize for any other travesty committed against another people. I work very hard in my life to make friends from all walks of life. I count myself very lucky to have black friends, white friends and a best friend from the former Yugoslavia. I apologize for my life and my transgressions, but I will never take blame for what others have wrought. The JFP and Donna Ladd have decided to indict everyone who happens to be white in this state for the crimes of the past. Get the killers, get the conspirators, but I will never allow myself to be lumped into their category. Euripides once said, "the gods visit the sins of the father upon the son." Well, this country was founded on the antithesis of the this Greek maxim. The founders of this country understood that passing the crimes and debts of the father to the son was against justice and righteousness. I agree. I am responsible for myself and no other and I take great pride in that and will not ever apologize for crimes or attitudes that are not my own. So to the JFP and Donna Ladd I am proud of your reporting and helping bring about justice in an old Civil Rights era crime, but never, ever, ever think that you can push me into the category of being a complacent white person who is guilty by association. I push back.

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