April 7th, 2010

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Another Reason to Avoid Air Travel

Once upon a time, in my childhood, there was one reason not to fly: cost.   Airline travel was expensive.   But if you could afford it (we took a trip by air to the east coast when I was eleven and one to Colorado to see my cousin graduate from the Air Force Academy when I was eighteen), it was fun and pleasant.  Just considering the actual trip itself, what the airline was responsible for, it was definitely a plus.   Seats were wide enough for real people, with actual leg-room (even a leg rest you could raise and lower) so you could get in and out of the seats without crawling across  laps.   Tray tables had enough room for trays (and enough room for today's laptops, for that matter.)  Snacks and meals were free to coach passengers, as were pillows and blankets.  Checked baggage and carry-on baggage were both carried free, up to a set limit.   

And back then, of course, before the first round of terrorists hijacking airliners, you could count on making your flight as long as you were at the airport before the plane left.   
No security lines.  No semi-disrobing.  You could lock your checked luggage (and thus, could ship valuables in it and needed less carry-on) and you could carry whatever grooming tools you needed in the overnight bag you took on the plane.  You could also bring your own food, if you wanted, though actual cooked meals eaten off real plates with real utensils were sufficient for most of us.  (Sneering at "airline food" came later.)

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woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Bad Judgment in Virginia

So the Republican governor of Virginia decides to declare "Confederate History Month" and talk about states fighting for their independence, their freedom....without mentioning slavery, the root of the so-called glory.

History lesson:   the South did not fight for "freedom".   The white men of the South fought for the right to enslave others.  And thank God Almighty, they lost.   Over a  hundred years ago.  

The Confederate flag never stood for freedom and justice for all.  It never stood for respect for all men regardless of race, color, creed, or origin.  It stood for slavery.  It stood for bigotry.  It stood and stands for racism, for rape, for lynching  black men, for burning crosses on lawns, for burning churches, for cowards that put sheets over their heads because they know--they know perfectly well--that they need to hide their faces when they do their evil deeds.

There were indeed brave men who fought for the Confederacy.   Gallant men.   Men who believed in what they fought for.  But in honoring their courage--which I do not doubt--we must also face their shame.  They not only lost a war, they should have lost that war, because they were fighting for the wrong things.  They fought against freedom.  They fought against justice.   They fought against "All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,"   the very reasons which had brought this nation to birth in the Revolution.   They fought for a lie, the lie that one race is more human--more endowed by God with these rights--than another. 

It is utterly impossible to mention, let alone celebrate, "Confederate history" without putting the issues of racism, slavery, bigotry front and center.  

I am glad that Virginia's governor admitted he'd made a blunder.   But I am sorry that anyone in authority in this nation--at any level--could make such a blunder in the first place.