Like many of you, I sat and watched what happened in Charlottesville this weekend in disbelief. Though Charlottesville lies only 3 hours north of me, the footage I watched looked more like something that would happen in another country or in another time. I’ve been to Charlottesville and it’s lovely. Yet still, they came.
White nationalists believe that our sweet land of liberty should be built by and for white people. (Excuse me while I go and puke.) This Charlottesville rally was a demented coming out party for an alarming racist movement in this country, attracting similar vile groups like the Neo-Nazis, the white supremacists, and the Ku Klux Klan. These rallies are being utilized as a tool to increase the visibility of these groups and recruit others like them – and they do it under the protection of free speech. Let that sink in. Just what the world needs – more people breeding hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and violence.
God Bless America – for we truly need it.
Our society is being sucked backward in time. Name-calling and disparaging any group or person who doesn’t share our color of skin, who practice a different religion, political leaning or culture is sadly all but accepted, and even encouraged by some groups. There’s a disturbing backlash in this country against respect, tolerance, and political correctness. Using guns to shoot people or cars to plow into those fighting for what should be a basic human right is happening with alarming frequency. I studied things like this in school. I saw them in a book. There were pictures And now I’m watching them unfold right in front of me. I thought we were past this. We should be past this.
This is the second summer that an American city has imploded with a savage-like hatred and violence. We can’t deny that it’s happening. So we ask ourselves, is this who we are? When we look in the mirror, what is staring back at us? Do we see complacency or do we see anger? Are we willing to take a long hard look and see the ugliness that’s there? Or do we turn a blind eye and say, “Thank goodness I don’t live in Charlottesville. This doesn’t impact me.” Yet, it does. It’s coming for all of us.
Heather Heyer’s last Facebook post said,
‘If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.’
Heather was outraged and she paid for it with her life. It’s way past time for all of us to start paying attention. Heather’s senseless and violent death should be a deafening battle cry to give justice and equality the voices they deserve. Each one of us has a moral responsibility to denounce this malevolence that is rapidly creeping out from whatever rock they’ve been hiding under. If we don’t, we are giving hatred a louder arena than ours. We are giving prejudice a microphone and letting it speak for us. And, guess what? It will just keep right on spewing. We might as well have booked the venue.
When racial intolerance threatens us to the core of who we are we have to lock arms and hold hands with our neighbors of all races, religions, and ethnicities and say, “ENOUGH.”
We should have all hollered ‘enough’ a long, long time ago.
One would think that slavery, the Civil War, and Civil Rights would have taught us everything we need to know about equality and acceptance. Unfortunately, some people missed school that day, or their homes were breeding grounds of hatred and division – the gift that unfortunately keeps on giving. It doesn’t matter how it happened, what matters is that hatred is here. It sadly always has been. But, what scares me most is that this ugliness is getting more and more comfortable. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon until each one of us makes it known that this is not how we feel…that we aren’t accepting it any longer… and that we love our neighbor as ourselves.
We will never all agree on everything. There will always be division. Differences are good. But we don’t want to live in a country where our differences turn into violent and deadly conflicts. And there should never be any question as to whether racism is right or wrong. Can someone, anyone explain to me why the color of someone’s skin matters? It doesn’t The answer is black and white. There aren’t any shades of gray with bigotry. There just aren’t.
I’m a white, blonde-haired blue-eyed middle-aged, middle-class girl. I won’t pretend that I understand what it’s like to have that much hatred and vitriol directed at me because of how I look or what I believe. For those who have been subjected to that their entire lives my words likely sound hollow. They say to write what you know. I don’t know this. I can’t change who I am. But, I can say that I am embarrassed that I haven’t done better, haven’t said more, that I haven’t paid closer attention. I am better than that. I know that now. WE are better than that. Let me hear you say it.
This is not us. Never has been, never will be. I’m outraged, Heather. I’m paying attention.