Spivey: Old Dogs and Children

Well, here we are again. I wrote a piece earlier today (2/8/19) in which I mentioned a certain meetin’ that I attended earlier this week, and made a vague reference to “some of the things that were said.” Now I’m sittin’ here and Tom T. Hall’s on the old digital turntable… “… Ain’t but three things in this world that’s worth a solitary dime, but old dogs, and children, and watermelon wine…” And then the line that brought to mind one specific thing that I said durin’ the course of that meetin’: “… God bless little children while they’re still too young to hate…” A very simple, yet incredibly profound statement; one I’ve often pondered. So now, we’re gonna talk about what I think, about my opinion; nothin’ to be backed up by historical facts or documents, no dates and places, just what I think. We’ve been here before, some of us, and y’all know that sometimes when I write about what I think, I can tend to get a little fired-up. I’ll try and avoid that today.

“Hate.” Defined as “intense or passionate dislike.” Now, I’m as human as the next person, and I’ve felt hate more than a couple of times, and while I can’t speak for anybody other than myself, “intense or passionate dislike” doesn’t even come close enough to nuke what I felt; I feel the definition is lacking, although I don’t have the vocabulary to articulate what hate felt like to me with any degree of accuracy. Truthfully, I think there is a distinct possibility that there is not a single man, woman, or child on this planet that does have the vocabulary; because hate, like love, is simply indescribable; it’s visceral. And I think if people are honest with themselves, they would have to admit to that. That being said, there are two different kinds of hate; that which is instinct and that which is learned.

Instinctual hatred, like greed, is a part of human nature, I suspect; perhaps it is a natural defense mechanism. A good example of instinctual hatred is that which comes from being horribly wronged; the burning desire to exact revenge, the driving need to destroy, the aching urge, even, to kill. That is instinct; base and animalistic; and all we can do about it is to try and keep it under control, digest it, and do our best to get past it as civilized human beings, “civilized” being defined as “at an advanced stage of social and cultural development” or “polite and well-mannered.” With the state of things in this nation what they are, by either of those definitions, generally speaking, the term “civilized human being” is a bit of an oxymoron when applied to Americans; which brings us to the other of the two kinds of hatred, that which is learned.

Hatred that is learned is the worst kind of hatred because it affects not one or two people, but because it is usually directed towards groups of people. What are some good examples of learned hatred? The very things I want to talk about: Racism and bigotry. Hatred directed towards people because of the color of their skin or because they are of a different ethnic group; even because they don’t share the same opinions. The beliefs that the color of someone’s skin, their ethnicity, or their opinion somehow makes them of lesser value as a human being. Do you hear how utterly ridiculous that concept sounds?! That is because the kind of hatred that is learned is hatred born of ignorance; ignorance of the effects of climatic conditions can have on the paths of evolution (yes, I am a Theistic Evolutionist), ignorance of how environmental conditions can affect those same paths, ignorance of how the physical demands of survival, depending upon environmental and climatic conditions, can also affect the direction that evolution takes, and most of all, ignorance of the fact that none of that determines the worth of any human being or group of human beings. If you need proof that racism is learned hatred, take a look at an old dog or a child; they do not hate; they do not consider themselves “better than” or “superior to” anyone. As long as we continue to allow our children to be taught, or, as in some cases, teach our children, to hate for such ludicrous reasons, racism and bigotry will prevail over brotherhood. We are Americans, looked up to by the entire planet as possibly the greatest civilization in the history of mankind, and we are destroying ourselves with our own ignorance and stupidity. And believe me, there is a certain amount of stupidity involved, because ignorance embraced after education ceases to be ignorance; it transforms into unadulterated stupidity.

It must also be understood by all peoples that neither racism nor bigotry is the domain of any one race or ethnic group; racists and bigots come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Nor is racism and bigotry dictated by someone’s heritage; I am a direct descendant of not only American Revolutionary soldiers, but of American Confederate soldiers as well, yet here I am, trying to bridge the abyss of racism, bigotry, and injustice that is ripping our country apart. I am proud to be descended from such men, just as I am proud of my ancient Celtic heritage, but that pride does not make me a racist; it makes me a man; no more, no less, and no better than any other. I would be no less proud were I descended from the Maasai of East Africa or the Dakota of the Northern Plains of the American Midwest. A man, or woman, should be proud of their heritage, no matter what that heritage is, but certainly not to the point of feeling in some intangible way superior to others. We may never be able to totally eradicate such beliefs and behavior, but if we properly, and more importantly, morally educate our children instead of passing on a legacy of hate and mistrust, we stand a chance of leaving them with a better future than that which awaits them now.

In closing, I would like to quote a favorite passage of scripture of mine, one I frequently turn to for guidance. From the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes, King James Version of the Holy Bible, verses one through eight; “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Take heed; wisdom is the product of understanding, not of experience. May God bless you, each and every one, and may we all live to walk in glory of His divine enlightenment.

8 February 2019

K. Lance Spivey
Board of Directors
Heirs to the Confederacy
Deo Vindice… [x]

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