Letter: The banner of ‘traditional American values’ is riddled with problems

Posted 7/1/20

I read with both admiration and dismay about the new group calling themselves, “Bristol County Concerned Citizens.” I admire their passion and desire to honor first-responders with a …

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Letter: The banner of ‘traditional American values’ is riddled with problems

Posted

I read with both admiration and dismay about the new group calling themselves, “Bristol County Concerned Citizens.” I admire their passion and desire to honor first-responders with a march and effort to raise a symbolic flag celebrating the protective work of police, firemen and firewomen, and all the members of the military armed forces. First-responders deserve to be honored because of the work they do.

To my dismay and great disappointment, it is that these well-meaning citizens are doing this in reaction and contrast to the recent effort, movement and march of those believing in the Black Lives Matter issue. I am a strong supporter of the BLM movement, and I too support the first-responders, as I do the rights of those to demonstrate this.  The “Concerned Citizens,” however, fail miserably to comprehend the whole point of BLM and its goals.

I am not qualified to speak for BLM, but I can raise my own voice of concern in pointing out what I believe to be the VAST difference between the two groups and what is, in my mind, really going on.

Black Lives Matter, as I understand it, serves to say STOP the brutalizing of people of color, stop the centuries of inequity, enslavement in its many forms, from kidnapping, torture, incarceration and murder, to economic oppression which exists to this very day.  There is no comparison between the intent of BLM and “Concerned Citizens,” as these two efforts are so widely apart from one another.

The banner of traditional American values claimed by the “Concerned Citizens” is riddled with problems.  Traditional values have been about White power, pure and simple. So-called Traditional American Values have been about sexism and the mistreatment and inequities of women.

Traditional values have been about racism and homophobia, where people of color have been pushed down, crushed, and in many cases, destroyed. Traditional values have kept our brothers and sisters of different lifestyles locked away in closets, hidden and attacked.

It is high time to change such values, to honor and value those who have been oppressed and disenfranchised. It is high time to alter these values by adopting new values that honor all people and serve to right the wrongs of the past. Black Lives Matter is critical because it points to the distortion of human rights, such rights extended only to the majority — traditionally, the White world.

Among the leaders of these Bristol County Concerned Citizens, I count some as my friends. We have often worked very hard together toward the quality of life here in so many ways. I strongly disagree with their position and mission statement.

We can agree to disagree, but I appeal to them now to come to their senses, and see how we must not seek past tradition, but a new innovation and drastic change of values. The sanctity of life is really about honoring all people, including those who have lacked privileges and at times have made difficult personal choices.

It is time to re-appraise our values and adopt new ones where all people are supported and respected.

Stephan Brigidi
Bristol

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