In honor of Winthrop University students who taped mouths shut Wednesday to protest discrimination -- a noble idea for a worthy cause -- I have decided to tape my mouth shut and write about what I shall not talk about today.
Fighting for those with little or no voice, and fighting discrimination on any front, is America.
Yet, some readers say I ought to keep my mouth shut because they disagree with me and others about Maurice's Barbecue. Why? Because I interviewed and wrote Wednesday about proud black people who don't care much for Maurice's taste for the Confederate flag, or his views on race.
Actually, a few of my co-workers decided taping my mouth shut was great idea. Sports Editor Gary McCann, who was stuck in a car with me to Denver and back to cover Winthrop basketball in March, and did the same last year to Spokane, Wash., said, "Wish I thought of it a month ago! Or last year!"
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• I am not going to say anything bad today about the Rebel flag. The words I would say couldn't be printed here, anyway.
• I shall not poke fun at the demise of Cupps coffee shop near Winthrop. A great idea, apparently done in by not enough customers. A shame for the hard-working owner without enough hours in the week to make it. I will not say the guy at Cupps deserves better than skin-flint professors, or anybody who complains about what Winthrop doesn't have. Because when Cupps came, all those who complain had their chance to help this guy make a living. I will not ask how many of those complainers go to Starbucks instead of Cupps.
• Nor shall I say a single word about the Rock Hill school board wrangling over a decision to scale back a new football scoreboard at District Three Stadium because of costs that could be more than the budgeted $300,000. If I were talking, I might yell that the current scoreboard still works, that maybe the board should not buy a new one at all. I will not say the board should consider not putting close to a million dollars worth of artificial turf at the stadium, either. Maybe a few teachers, or parents, will say it for me.
• Nobody will hear me say that Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols showed leadership by asking that the drought decisions to allow more use be temporarily stopped. Echols risks the wrath of other politicians, but he's putting the good of all of us above what is best for him politically. Guts, Echols showed, like he showed when he apologized to U.S. Rep. John Lewis for the beating he took in this city 40-plus years ago as a civil rights activist. But you won't hear it from me.
• You won't hear me complain that the Charlotte Bobcats didn't make the playoffs. Nobody would notice, anyway. Or even know what league or sport the Bobcats are in.
• I will not ask York County's politicians to set up a "Welcome Home" celebration for the soldiers of the Army National Guard 178th Combat Engineers in the next few weeks. All the soldiers did was go to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or both. And the politicians got to have verbal fistfights over important stuff such as garbage dumps.
• I will not say that Johnny "Boggie" King can teach us all a lesson in grace and courage. The legendary guitarist from Rock Hill got beaten up by an intruder and when I saw him last, he had nothing but smiles and an eye patch to cover his wounds.
• There will be no words against a dog park in Tega Cay or businesses that cater to dog clothes, dog weddings, or cleansing dog breath. I like clean dog breath, and hope all dog weddings are between male dogs and female dogs, as long as the attire is formal, but I shall not say so.
• In no way will I thank this great country for allowing free speech that allows people such as me to disagree with others. I will not sing "Hallelujah" for freedom of religion that guarantees all have rights to find the solace of their God. I will not thank the readers of this newspaper who exercise that right to free speech and expression, even if we do disagree on some things but agree whole-heartedly on freedom.
• I will not wonder aloud what the heck is going on in Rock Hill when a young man is shot in the street before dusk, as happened Tuesday. I won't ask why cooler heads can't prevail, why the option of walking away from confrontation wasn't an option that evening. No, I shall not ask aloud why anyone other than cops would carry a handgun around before the sun sets in Rock Hill, for any reason.
• I would love to praise the firefighters, most of them volunteers, who fought that mill fire in York last week. These guys left their dinners and families at 7:30 at night, grabbed their gear and found an inferno. Firefighters came from departments that weren't even asked. They kept area homes and property surrounding the mill from fire. But because I'm not talking ...
• And you can bet I won't say anything about getting my mouth taped shut at home: My wife, three daughters and mother-in-law might want to make it permanent.