I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again.
I’m so proud of my native Charleston, SC.
The forgiveness and — as President Obama so aptly put it — “grace” the city and her people have shown since the Emanuel A.M.E tragedy has been nothing short of remarkable. I am privileged to call myself a Charlestonian.
It will be months before Dylann Roof has another court date and next year before he goes to trial.
That being said, I am reminded — sparked from a conversation with my wife, Karen — of a quotation from perhaps the most successful college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden:
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
With the bright lights of the national media illuminating ‘The Holy City’, Charleston has been an example that has shined even brighter.
But…the cameras will be turned off. The reporters will go home.
And..all that will be left is the summer heat and humidity.
What happens now?
For Charleston to not degenerate into another Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore..the conversations about race, gun violence and the Confederate flag must continue with respect on both sides. There will be pockets of intolerance to be sure. But the continued “grace” the city shows — for Mother Emanuel, the city and her people — must win out.
That’s what I believe the ‘nine’ would want. That’s what their families showed when a bond court video link allowed them to address the man who killed their relatives.
Charleston has many times been bestowed with an honorary distinction as “America’s Most Polite City”. I believe one cannot be polite unless they truly want to be. It is something that resides deep within the person..and cannot stay buried for long.
I believe my beloved home town will rise to the occasion..and show the “grace” that has guided it through war, Reconstruction and natural disasters.
And I’m not just being polite by saying that.