I Hear A Lot About Values

"LIES"
"LIES" (Photo credit: Toban Black)

I was born in the beloved Hills of Eastern Kentucky. I was raised by a family, and a community that instilled values in me that I have had to fight out, figure out, and sort out over the course of my life. To me, your values travel with you. I have tried, sometimes even successfully to live them out in my world with my families, my colleagues, my friends–my “universes” if you will.

I have never subscribed to the notion that my values were the right ones for all people, or even all the people with whom I closely associated. I have written about them. I have spoken to others about them, and shared them when I felt it was appropriate, but not always when I thought or believed it to be necessary. Prudence is a value, too. Tact is a value. Honor is a value. Living honorably, especially among those you consider important to your world is also a value. Kindness, gentleness, forthrightness…these are values. Courage, faithfulness, integrity, respect…these, too are values.

So, why is it that it seems so very apparent to me that these values are just simply not the values of the citizens of Tennessee? And, before you begin flaming (and being deleted from) this blog, I want you to hear what it is that I am saying, as I mean to say it. I do not want my words to be so clear they are understood–by anyone. I want my words to be so clear that they cannot possibly be misunderstood–by anyone.

Why is it these are values to be disregarded, denied, or simply discarded by citizens of Tennessee? I know there are those who believe that every person should have the opportunity to create their own success, their own fortunes by their own sweat and tears. I, quite frankly, agree with that. But it is NOT a value! Hard work IS a value, and you should be honored if you have it as one. I don’t know anyone in this entire State who does not hold this as a value, despite what I read daily. In fact, one of the most prominent places I hear about it is from our elected, and especially our State Legislators.

So…is it a commonly held value here, or not? It cannot be both. If you find my statement offensive, then please understand how offended I am when I hear from our elected that it is a value which simply does not exist here, or does not exist by some definable segment of our population:

Blacks
Latinos
Women
The Elderly

The Poor
The LGBT Community
Students
The Unemployed
The Underemployed
Democrats in general

Any person, elected (or who would be) that tells you this is a value not held by someone else is, quite frankly, telling you a lie to your face. Now, is honesty a value here? And, isn’t it our solemn obligation as citizens to confront dishonesty in word, as well as deed, by those elected to represent US?

You simply cannot have it both ways. No matter how daintily you compose the argument in our well-known “Southron Gentility“, a lie is not the truth. This State has a legendary history of standing up FOR truth, not hiding FROM truth.

It’s about time we started living up to our forebears, and immediately commit ourselves to confront those who believe that distorting or even discarding the truth is an acceptable

The Family Values 2001 Tour
Image via Wikipedia

It’s what we should do. If we cannot, or will not, then it is incumbent upon us to hold our tongues, period. The only other possible determination available to us is that we do NOT hold these values, and to pretend we do simply has run its course. If you cannot confront lies with truth, and you will not speak truth to power, then you have necessarily allied yourself to dishonor, untruth, and lies.  truth in this State, no matter where they are found. Because that is what citizens in a democracy do. It’s what honorable people do.

So, as my Father used to say:

Put up, or shut up!

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