Our world is full of people with no sense of grace toward others.
As I understand it, city inspector, Melinda Power, goes into a powersports store in Jacksonville, FL and cites them for having military flags (Marines, Navy, Army, etc) on the roof, along with two US flags. This is, according to her, contrary to code. One of the store employees reported her encounter with a nearby customer, "She says, 'What did you do for this country?' He says, 'I took three bullets to the leg. I almost lost my life for this country. I'm retired. I'm a veteran.' She gets in his face this close and says, 'You did nothing for this country,'"
The Mayor quickly got in front of it and issued a statement that, "No.. no.. it's cool.The flags are fine." [I paraphrased] Kudos to the Mayor, by the way. My first thought was that, if there was such an ordinance, the citizens allowed it. The shame is on them. You have to watch out for what you allow. It will likely come back to bite you when the winds change.
But the encounter, of course, was caught on video and the Internet has lit up!
I looked at her Facebook page and I'm saddened. What she said was rude, mean and wrong.. but it's tame compared to what countless others have hurled back at her. We talk about Internet bullies. There you go! I can only assume that, if two wrongs make a right, then the hordes of the internet hurling vile things at you will make it wonderful. I'm particularly dismayed by the number of people suggesting that she go to hell. As a Christian, i might have some glimpse of what that means and it's an eternally severe penalty for this particular sin. Besides, I believe that the God I follow doesn't _want_ anyone to go to hell. Who am I to circumvent that? Death threats? For being nasty and rude? Is that any better than what she did?
Do I condone her actions? Absolutely not. I was in the military. And you don't have to have been in the service to recognize inappropriate behavior, particularly for a government employee or anyone working with the public. So what do you do?
She's no different than the abrasive cop who lets his sense of authority overshadow any notion of serving or protecting. She's no different than the car that cuts you off in traffic because where they're going is more important than where you're going. She's no different than the middle management state employees that I've worked with who insist on being called by their title. For all the noise we make about how it's bad to bully, we're inundated with it everywhere. Profoundly unhappy people who are so concerned with making it through their own miserable day that they lose any sense of regard for others. At best, they only care about their own. At worst, they don't even really value themselves. (Note that I'm not saying all cops or judges or gov't employees are like that. But there are some.)
She's a pussycat compared to the sadistic building inspectors out there.. and probably a lot of other civil positions. Melinda's crime is that she lacked professionalism. Professionalism doesn't mean being immovable or lacking empathy. Worse, she got on the wrong side of a sympathetic argument and she did it on camera.
Melinda posted a message online that she was sorry. She said she had family who served and she has the utmost respect for those who serve. Personally, I doubt it. What you are comes out when you're tested and her test was pretty minimal. Her attitude came out. But I wonder if it's the military she has a problem with? Or men in baseball caps? Or people in general. Though I have no reason to think so other than her treatment of a random guy in a store, I lean toward the latter.
So where do we go? Aside from the people who are screaming for her head, there are MANY who are screaming for her job. There's some logic to that. But whatever issues Melinda has, she will likely take with her and that solves nothing. It doesn't make the world a better place. And if she can get no other job, do you want to support her? Because she screwed up? I don't. If she keeps her job, does she learn from this? Hopefully re-evaluate her role in the world and in her community? Rescue small puppies and donate to needy children? That would be ideal. But there are no guarantees.
I don't really have a good answer. It seems that, if the Internet.. or more accurately, many people who are on the Internet.. had their way, there would likely be a video of the lynch mob dragging what's left of her screaming into the street and hanging her high. I wonder if they've ever been rude and hurtful toward anyone.. the elderly, African-Americans, fellow drivers, co-workers? We're going to need more trees. There's an irony in the idea that that man defended her right to be rude to him. Of course, having a right and being right are two different things.
Perhaps the best thing we can do is for ourselves. Maybe we need to take a look at how we respond and whether it's better or far worse than what we saw on that tape.
Get along out there. We all have to live together in some form or another. Until next time. Peace!