Maybe I'm exactly what's wrong with this country -- I don't care enough.

Or, some might say I don't care about the "right" things.

I don't really care about statues. On my own, walking by this or that monument to whomever, I mostly don't even pay attention. If someone stopped me and asked me if I thought a statue to Robert E. Lee ought to be removed from public property, I'd probably say "yes," just because I had to choose an answer.

But if it were up to me, I'd say just leave them alone.

The problem is that I see both sides. Lee was a skilled general, and had many admirable qualities I'm sure, but he fought to tear apart the United States. I wouldn't think we'd want a monument to that kind of guy in our country.

Then again, he's part of history. He was on the wrong side of history -- the side that wanted to keep black people enslaved -- on that I do have an opinion. But instead of removing the statue, use it as a teaching tool -- about our past, current events and looking toward our future.

Ah, but statues are just a distraction.

It's not about statues.

The latest racial unrest popping up here and there across the country -- obviously, most notably in Charlottesville, Va., a couple of weeks ago -- isn't really about statues.

That's like saying everyone goes to a wiener roast for the fire. Sure, it's part of the event -- and vital if you want sustenance -- but it's the people who are the attraction.

And it's the people in the Charlottesville incidents that matter.

There's absolutely no excuse for President Donald Trump not swiftly and directly condemning the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the violent actions and beliefs of their ilk -- including the death of one counter protestor.

There certainly should be no comparison between white supremacists, and their hateful agenda of racism, and the peaceful agenda of counter protestors.

But come on. Who was surprised here by the president's reaction?

Yet, that's what I do care about -- not statues, but the racism from white supremacists who've rallied around them.

"There's violence on both sides!" exclaim conservatives, or right-wing folks, or whatever label you want to give them.

I think that's true. Some groups who oppose the KKK and their pals do incite or bring violence to the table to counter white supremacy. That's just as wrong as the racists among us using violence for their cause.

But let's be clear: The racists are the original bad guys.

That shouldn't be hard for the president, of all people, to articulate. But since he didn't -- oh, until he got in hot water and read a different statement regarding Charlottesville -- it's obvious he doesn't believe that. It's the off-the-cuff remarks that show who a person is ... anyone can read from a teleprompter something written by someone else.

Speaking from the heart is pretty recognizable.

So no, I don't care about statues. But I do care about racism.

A nurse would care about a broken ankle on a patient who's just come into the emergency room, but not in comparison to addressing the problem of his heart if it's stopped.

What we need to care about are the important things -- the disease, not the peripheral issues. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be distracted by ridiculous memes on Facebook, for example, about statues, and instead have honest and respectful dialogue about what we're going to do about the racial divide in America.

That, I care about.

I find that most of my stances put me in the liberal category. Yet many put me in the conservative realm.

In these times of "you have to choose!", that makes me the odd woman out.

I watch CNN, MSNBC and Fox. I'm pro-life but also against the government intruding on decisions that should be between a patient and a doctor. I think the government spends too much but taxes some people too little.

Maybe I'm just plain fickle.

A friend on Facebook posted about ESPN removing an announcer by the name of Robert Lee from broadcasting during a recent game because they feared the coincidence of his name might offend some people.

If I'm a liberal, I'm not supposed to say this -- but that is utterly and completely ridiculous.

I withheld judgment until I verified the news, via a Google search or two and a video posted from Fox, because you can't believe a lot of what's on Facebook or online in general. But that one is actually true.


I'm repeatedly amazed -- and yet not surprised -- that Trump's supporters continue to back him no matter what he says or does. I watched the fans behind him as he spoke in Arizona on Tuesday night and wondered what they were thinking.

Then again, how could I ever guess what's on their minds? I've never known a politician yet for whom I'd attend a rally. I generally supported President Barack Obama, but if he held a rally here in Mattoon, I wouldn't go. There are plenty of things on which I disagreed with him, yet I see many people -- Obama/left-leaning folks and Trump/right-leaning supporters -- wholeheartedly and without question backing their candidate.

Maybe I ask too many questions.

Maybe I'm just grumpy in general.

Some of my friends seemed distressed that I wasn't excited about Monday's eclipse. Sure, I thought it was neat. It looked cool. And, I love nature, so I appreciate the wonder of it.

But travel a couple of hours to see it? Not me.

I don't feel grumpy. I just feel, well, sensible. Boring. Middle-of-the-road. I know that racists are more prevalent than we'd like to think, and I know the Civil War was fought not purely about slavery but also about states' rights, unless my lessons in school and/or my memory are faulty.

I know that in the South, the war isn't over yet.

I know that for folks who won an election, Trump and his supporters sure are sore winners -- the president constantly berating the media and talking as if he's still campaigning.

And I know that all that this means, most likely, is that I just don't fit anywhere among the extremes of today's politics, social outlooks and, yes, even magnificent natural displays like an eclipse.

Eh. I don't care.

Penny Weaver is the associate publisher and editor of the JG-TC. Her columns include her own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinion or editorial position of the JG-TC. Contact her at or 217-238-6863, and follow her on Twitter @PennyWeaver.


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