Charleston and Our Need for a Change of Heart
The Huffington Post
by Richard C. Harwood
July 2, 2015
State Senator Paul Thurmond, the youngest son of former U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, once the standard-bearer of the Old South, recently stood on the floor of the South Carolina Senate and delivered a speech calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the State Capitol.
He, like others in South Carolina, had a change of heart. He, like others, said it was crystallized by the horrific killings at Emanuel AME Church, in which the lives of nine people were taken, including his state Senate colleague Clementa Pinckney.
In other words, he and others had their personal walls of protection punctured, walls that often serve to keep at bay the cries and experiences of others. Only when these walls are breached can one's heart be touched in new ways. Only when these walls come down can we truly see and hear one another.
There is something distinctly human about a change of heart. It cannot be legislated. Nor dictated. And it never can be coerced. It comes only from within us; authored directly by each of us. And yet it is often prompted by something outside of us. Something we see or experience anew. Something we come to understand differently. Something that stirs a latent feeling within us.