I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t engaged in news this weekend. I was working on a project at home and had the Harry Potter Weekend on Freeform going in the background. Yeah, I saw some news about Charlottesville a few times when I took a break to glance at Twitter. But I really didn’t know what was happening until yesterday morning when I finally turned on the news.
All of the feelings I have about Charlottesville feel so silly and insignificant. I’m outraged. But…so? What does it really matter how I feel? Who cares? And, besides. Isn’t EVERY decent person outraged?
The real question is…what am I doing about it?
What SHOULD I be doing about it?
After all, this happened in Virginia, 3000 miles from where I live. Does it really concern me?
Yeah, of course it concerns me. It concerns you. It concerns all of us.
You see, I grew up in California. Yes, I spent some time in Utah and a little while in Canada, but most of my life has been spent in the Golden State. The one place in the world where every form of Buddhism is practiced. Where school desegregation began in the 40s, long before Brown v. Board. Racism isn’t a problem in California…
There are pockets of it, sure. But a widespread issue? Surely not.
But over the past year and a half or so, it’s become obvious this isn’t the case. As much as I know people of all races have opportunities in this country, the fact is that not everyone has the same opportunities. And sometimes it is very much because of racism. Not always, but sometimes. And if it’s ever, it’s too often.
Racism is stupid. It’s completely illogical. And I do not understand anyone who participates in it to any degree. Sadly, I am personally acquainted with too many who do, and who rationalize and justify in all sorts of maddening ways. It doesn’t mean I don’t still love them, but it’s heartbreaking when people I care about say things like, “I’m not racist, but…” and actually believe themselves.
There aren’t many things in life that are absolute. But this is one that seems obvious.
On Saturday, there was a rally called “Unite the Right.” And maybe this is where the problem stemmed from. Because a lot of otherwise well-meaning and decent people might not be aware that it wasn’t about anything remotely connected to Conservative values or principles. I know there are many on the left who lump everyone on the right into one ideological camp, but it’s not so. Anyway, because these guys called themselves “The Right,” there might be some confusion and misinformation about who this was actually for.
It was for a bunch of so-called alt+righters, or Neo Nazis or whatever we are calling them these days. And, understandably, there were protests. Then there was violence. And people were injured and killed.
To me, it seems pretty clear that the blame for this entire incident is squarely on the hands of the NAZIS that were there. The NAZIS that committed these atrocities. The NAZIS who perpetuated hate and violence.
But in a moment that should have been pure condemnation, the president said,
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”
Okay, great. Yes, it’s true that hatred and bigotry and violence is always wrong and should always be condemned wherever it’s coming from.
And a lot of people jumped to join the chorus of “on many sides.” Not too many of those people, including the president, specifically called out the KKK or the Nazis for this specific violence.
After a year of condemning Obama for his refusal to use the term “radical Islamic terror,” he and all of these others won’t call out the KKK by name?
Yes, I am aware that this morning the president issued a new statement after the backlash from the weekend. But why did it take a backlash for him to get this right?
Why is anyone making this issue complicated?
On ANY side of it?
Hate is wrong. It is ALWAYS wrong. Yeah, even hating the haters is wrong.
Condemning them is a different matter. Disavowing what they do and what they stand for is not the same as hating them.
Hate is wrong. No matter who is doing it.
And it should always be called out. By name. We should never be afraid of that. This is not a political issue. It is a human one.