Flash fads with little thought on behalf of the mass participators are polluting the intention and value behind larger actions and issues society is facing today.
Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I were driving through the Red Deer Bower Mall parking lot in early evening, looking for a place to park.
As we turned a corner and drove past a group of mid-to-late teens I could hear them yelling a series of generic and unimaginative insults, telling us where to go and how to get there because of the “Stars and Bars” Confederate battle flag mounted on the front bumper of the truck.
Now I could be wrong but I’m willing to bet had we driven past those same teens before the shootings that took place at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church on June 17 their reactions would have been quite different, as there probably wouldn’t have been any.
The shootings that day at the hands of shooter Dylann Roof are unconscionable and unforgivable. The tragedy also caused the pot to boil over on a decades old tug-of-war.
The Southern Cross was never one of the official three flags used by the Confederate states during the Civil War. It was the battle flag of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army unit.
Its popularity began to rise again as a political symbol around the time president Harry Truman supported actions to end lynching and desegregate the military around 1948. In that same time frame the Ku Klux Klan began using the flag more widely.
The flag is also part of the iconic General Lee car from the television show The Dukes of Hazzard, which at its heart is not looking to advance racism with the use of the flag on the car’s roof. And those who use that as the basis of their argument are over simplifying everything else the show had to offer.
I’m a fan of the show and my boyfriend even more so. That tribute is why the flag license plate is on the truck.
I take no issue with individuals standing up for their beliefs, even rudely so, as is sometimes needed.
But what I have a harder time taking seriously is those who blindly jump on the bandwagon with little thought or education behind their actions. Not only will cheap, ignorant, ill-formed arguments throw a damp blanket over what’s truly important but fighting fire with fire, especially when it’s in the hands of those who don’t know what they’re doing, will cause the world to burn.
And this type of sheep syndrome is different than experiencing personal growth and evolution in a person’s thoughts, opinions and belief system based on learning and new evidence.
There are so many other recent examples of the masses jumping on a social effort, turning the whole thing into just another flash fad.
This includes the Ice Bucket Challenge, which became very popular last year. Raising millions for ALS is admirable and inspiring, and even those who didn’t actually raise money by dumping freezing water over their heads should be commended for helping to raise public awareness, which is also important.
But as Ice Bucket Challenge videos flooded social media sites such as Facebook they highlighted so many of the unfavorable, negative aspects of an over-globalized society that on many occasions can’t do a good deed without passive aggressive online self-promotion.
When did simply being a good person become not enough. Some of the videos didn’t even mention ALS and another woman dumped rice over her head thinking it was the rice bucket challenge. She admitted on camera she’d never seen another posted video before. So she just threw herself into the trend without even knowing was it was about; foolishness and ignorance in the face of something meant to be wonderful.
After my boyfriend and I finished up our shopping and were leaving the parking lot we passed the same group of teens. Some were loitering on the road, just on the far end of a partially blind corner, which is not only disrespectful to drivers but also dangerous. And one was pushing over a road sign mounted on the sidewalk just outside the mall doors into oncoming traffic.
Definitely future concerned global citizens at their finest.
Amelia Naismith is the new reporter for the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.