|Atlanta Braves "closer" John Rocker exhibits and elicits intolerance.|
On October 17, 1974 John Loy Rocker was born in Statesboro Georgia. John Rocker is the product of an upbringing of Macon, Georgia, A location so remote and deeply imbedded in the "South" that it housed the infamous confederate prison camp at Andersonville where 13,000 Union soldiers died in a holocaust-like fashion at the hands of cold and unforgiving confederate "brothers." He was a 1993 graduate of the Presbyterian Day High School in Macon, which probably had about the same number of minorities as the 1943 German Reichstag. His upbringing in the rural south, steeped in "traditional values" and famous for its fervent defense of segregation and separation created his current frame of reference. It's not entirely a joke that "Where a person stands often depend on where they sit." John Loy Rocker was effectively isolated form the start from those different from himself. This left him unaccustomed to minorities, gays, and members of different religions. As I have said often, ignorance isn't "bliss." Ignorance is fear. The less we know about something, or someone, the more we raise the barriers, the more we become guarded, cautious and distrustful. The less we know how to handle those different from ourselves the more we react with hostility driven by fear, attempting to keep out lives simple and unchallenged by unknowns. And so it is with John Rocker. And so it is with you and me. Odd isn't it? We are so insecure that we feel the need to preference our Rocker remarks with the "First of all, I do not agree with anything John Rocker said." disclaimer. It should be enough that the values and tolerance we exhibit in our lives speak for themselves. We vilify John Rocker for his ham handed and luddite diatribe. We join with the mob that would have his life destroyed because of his intolerance of those other than himself. Think about it. In our reaction to his intolerance, we reveal our own. John Loy Rocker is the embodiment of all that we thought had been crushed by the Civil Rights Movement. Are we really angry at him? Or are we angry because our assumptions of nationwide tolerance and equality have been proven to be unreasonable? John Loy Rocker was born 6 years after Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. He was graduated from high school in 1993. He had the benefits of all that had preceded him, the history, the legislation, the teachings... yet this very recent high school graduate is painfully different from you and I. So we react. We do not "tolerate" we do not consider him "equal." He reinforces our superiority complex while shaking the foundations of what we thought we had achieved in the streets of Birmingham and the busses of Selma. It's a bitter pill to swallow, that realization that the rising tide of civil rights has NOT raised all vessels. Hot on the heels of a recent action by the South Carolina legislature to remove the "Stars and Bars" from the capitol dome. Just as we were putting our tools back in the box. Here's John Rocker... and he's telling us the job's not over, after all.