Take the case of an unpopular lame-duck school board member who attempts a parting shot at infamy by daring to impugn the Confederate symbolism of a local Eastern Kentucky high school, then add a Minnesota-raised journalist with a penchant for sometimes creating stories of particular interest to those on the left and politically correct side of polity, and her need to create some byline buzz to kick-start a fledgling career that has so far landed her in the backwaters of Kentucky Appalachia, and what do you have? Nothing, actually. But there are those among us, the media at the forefront, who benefit from the creation of apparent somethings from actual nothings. Samira Jafari isn't going to win a Pulitzer with the typical news stories that arise in her district, though, and media liberals higher up the chain need stories that can be framed to suit their agendas, so this non-story was shot across the AP wires about a board member suggesting Allen Central abandon its "evil" mascot (a soldier) and flag. The story conveniently ignored that the reaction to this suggestion was the sound of chirping crickets. In all probability, there are innumerable suggestions made by the singular school board members across the country that die similar unsupported deaths with nary a glance by the media, but for some reason they aren't "news." As non-stories parading as news usually do, this one garnered little real reaction, but it provided the opportunity to create even more of the apparent somethings from actual nothings which are craved by a few; predictable editorials appeared in the Louisville and Lexington papers, comparing the ignorant hillbillies and their mascots and flags to Nazis, the editorials only slightly disguising their hateful disgust with a veneer of pseudo-intellectual hubris. At this point, enter Louisville civil rights gadfly Louis Coleman - who seemingly will show up to protest just about anything anywhere it will get him some media face time (yet never seems to have any real number of followers to justify his "leadership") - to "educate" the poor ignorant Floyd Countians as to their "bigotry" and the fact that in the "real world" Confederate symbols have been eradicated. Of course, Coleman is wrong - thankfully symbols of honor like the Confederate battle flag are far from eliminated - and Coleman knows that if it were he and others of his ilk like Morris Dees, who have shamefully transformed "civil rights" into a multimillion dollar business, would lose a lucrative fund-raising bogeyman. Now we are witness to an exercise of just how far the liberal elite can create apparent something from actual nothing, but don't be fooled good people of Floyd County - it's the media (and darlings the media favors like Coleman) simply talking back and forth to themselves, in ever increasing rounds of crescendo, in the hopes that they can create some kind of whirlwind that pressures you into acceding to their political correctness. Don't fall for it. There is a story here, though, and it is - indeed - a story about hatred, bigotry, and a lack of education. It is a story about hatred of Southerners, a story about bigotry towards Eastern Kentuckians, and story about a lack of education by the politically correct concerning Americans with Confederate heritage. The insidiousness of this bigotry is that it seeks to disguise itself within the folds of self-righteous finger pointing at others. Those who now so vehemently vilify Southerners and Eastern Kentuckians rationalize their hatred by pretending to oppose bigotry in others, but that makes no less real, and makes them no less culpable for being bigots themselves. The real story here is the need for them to realize others are guilty of "hatred" simply because they don't wish to be unjustly sacrificed on an altar of the politically correct agenda, and it is not "hatred" simply preferring to practice the honoring of ones' own cultural heritage rather than the dictates of the cosmopolitan media. Hopefully someday we'll see those practicing this real bigotry realize the admirable goals of diversity and tolerance that they pretend to worship are merely a lie until they stop using them as a cover to attack groups like Southerners, Eastern Kentuckians, Christians, et al. Until then, just do what you've had to do many times before, and tell the flat-landers to mind their own business. Eventually they'll take the hint and find someone else to bother.
Don Shelton, of Nicholasville, is self-employed and is a writer and editor for "The Lost Cause," the journal of the Kentucky Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans. Shelton has served as a division commander for the Kentucky SVC, and is currently chief of staff for the national organization. His parents moved from Eastern Kentucky to Central Kentucky shortly before he was born, but he still knows where "home" is and just how much unsolicited outside demands are "appreciated" in the mountains.